Police chief rejects Orwellian Britain


THE deputy chief constable of Hampshire Ian Readhead said yesterday that Britain could become a surveillance society with cameras on every street corner.

As a matter of fact, he was commenting on something that has already happened, not a situation that is about to happen.

Readhead told the BBC’s Politics Show yesterday that CCTV was being used in small towns and villages where crime rates were low.

He said: ‘I’m really concerned about what happens to the product of these cameras, and what comes next.

‘If it’s in our villages, are we really moving towards an Orwellian situation where cameras are at every street corner?

‘And I really don’t think that’s the kind of country that I want to live in.’

However, capitalist Britain already has a number of world-beating vital statistics in this field to its credit.

There are up to 4.2 million CCTV cameras in Britain, and the UK already has the world’s biggest DNA database, with 3.6 million DNA samples on file.

Almost everyone in the UK has a mobile phone so that their whereabouts can be calculated to within 100 metres of accuracy.

Satellite navigation devices, and oyster cards also double as tracking devices, and there are ID cards to come.

However shaken this ‘democratic’ police chief is about what is happening in relatively law-abiding villages, the issue is why is the ruling class turning the UK into one big prison and what must be done about it?

Capitalist Britain used to be famous for its individual bourgeois freedom, and its principle of innocent until proven guilty. However, over the last 10 years it has become infamous for giving its police the right to shoot to kill terrorist suspects and other suspects, and also immunity from prosecution for those who do so.

Two recent cases prove this.

First, there was the case of Harry Stanley, the middle-aged resident of Hackney who was shot dead by police officers because they thought that the chairleg he was carrying in a plastic bag was a shotgun. The police killers were not charged with any criminal offence, on the grounds that since they thought they were in danger they had the right to open fire.

The second case was when armed police put seven bullets into the head of the Brazilian electrician, Jean Charles de Menezes, because they thought he was a terrorist suspect.

In this case the trigger-men were not only not charged but are now back on duty with their police boss promoted.

These practices go hand in hand with draconian legislation that has made it illegal for even a single person to demonstrate outside parliament without police permission, and legal for a police officer to arrest a person if they suspect that he is considering carrying out a crime.

The same legislation makes it legal for the government to suspend every act of parliament and rule through decree if they consider that there is a state of emergency. The government does not have to obtain the consent of the House of Commons for 40 days after implementing the provision of the Act.

The reason for this transformation of life in Britain is that the world capitalist crisis has turned Britain from an advanced country into a backward state with a backward economy.

It no longer has an industrial base and its bosses and politicians make no secret of the fact that Britain cannot afford final salary pensions, early retirement, a free at the point of need NHS, free state education and the Welfare State.

Removing any hope in the future for the middle class and the working class means that capitalist Britain has to move from being a bourgeois democracy to becoming a police state dictatorship with a massive all-powerful, all-seeing state apparatus constantly on the watch for revolutionary developments.

The only way to deal with this situation, where a massive police state apparatus is being imposed over and onto society, is through the organisation of a socialist revolution that smashes the capitalist state and breaks it up into smithereens to bring in a socialist society.