In David Cameron’s Orwellian Britain they now snoop on seaside postcards
By Richard Cottrell
Contributing writer for End the Lie
In the future anyone sending the traditional vacation greeting ‘wish you were here’ to family and friends through the UK’s Royal Mail will do so in the knowledge that faceless clerks working for the intelligence services will try to decipher exactly what ‘having a lovely time’ really means.
A lovely time making bombs perhaps? Is ‘the sea is a bit cold for the time of the year’ some kind of code to transmit concealed instructions to a cell of fiendish plotters?
God forbid that anyone should send love and kisses from anywhere east of Sussex and sign off ‘Mohammed.’ That will be quite sufficient to earn a 4 a.m. wake up call from Scotland Yard’s finest.
Nor is it just about plain old postcards by any means. A new bill crawling through parliament conveys the power to read inscriptions written on the outside of envelopes.
There used to be a very famous message popular with service personnel posted around the empire, who were inclined to inscribe BURMA on the back of coming home letters addressed to wives and girl friends. Decoded, it read: Be Undressed and Ready My Angel.
Lord knows what the censors might make of that in these days of synthetic paranoia manufactured by the denizens of law and order and the security-obsessed guards of the state.
Of course the whole thing is perfect nonsense. Who sends postcards in the age of the Internet, the iPhone, Blackberries and so forth? Intimacies are more likely exchanged electronically these days.
Unfortunately the snoops are listening in there too, so whichever means you employ to communicate, old fashioned steam mail or otherwise, all-knowing, all-seeing Big Brother is on your back.
In David Cameron’s Britain you are doomed to be cornered any route you take.
The extension of the security dragnet to picture postcards and the scrutinizing of scribbles on envelopes in search of some secret hint to blow things up, depicts a state which has broken loose on its hinges.
It has become the true Orwellian condition in which every citizen is a suspect, unless you happen to be a fully paid member of the one percent, a policeman, or a member of the Teflon secret services, HMG.
Let’s not forget, demands for Google user information increasing by a whopping by 25% last year. There is not the faintest reason to maintain this constant state of scrutiny over the private citizen, except to turn every individual into an object of perpetual suspicion.
The word ‘object’ – inferring a human being – conveys considerable weight there.
David Cameron’s administration treats the entire nation as though it were composed of idiots.
So the new powers forced on the Royal Mail will not actually be deployed, just ‘held in reserve’, the response to which is: why the hell bother anyway?
Of course mass sedatives supplied in the form of the recent jubilee jamboree go a long way to distracting the populace from the ever-tightening, strangling grip of the emerging British national security state.
In another garbled version of this story, which spineless parliamentarians swallowed unchallenged, the truly Orwellian sounding ‘Ministry of Justice’ instead of the Post Office already had the powers to read private mail, so the objective was simply to ‘extend’ existing powers.
Did anyone in the UK know that? Were they aware that any mail could be inspected so that all the detritus of private lives could be inspected at will?
I must say that my quarrel is less with sleepwalking Members of Parliament – or even an absent minded prime minister who recently forgot his young daughter after a restoring break from the pressures of high office at a country – than the docile masses who so willingly beckon their own enslavement.
As it is a government that came to power pledged to roll back ever expanding surveillance and intrusion has instead switched the destruction of civil liberties to overdrive.
Airports are madhouses, doctors carrying vital organ transplants are tossed off planes because the containers are the wrong shape or size, tourists are picked up for snapping popular attractions, nosey individuals are encouraged (and even paid) to snoop on their neighbors, spy cameras are fixed to rubbish bins and other street paraphernalia to maintain around the clock surveillance of every citizen, regardless of age.
British policemen on the beat look like Robocops. You wouldn’t dare ask one of these snarling armor-plated Bobbies for destructions, lest he should think you were on a mission to explode some infernal suicide device.
Yet there is a bitterly ironic aspect to the gloomy scenario, namely that the British government – and David Cameron personally – is ensnared in the massive rogue phone hacking scandal connected with the activities of the ravenous Murdoch empire in the United Kingdom.
I intend to return to this theme at a later date, but for the moment these are the quite astonishing edited highlights.
It transpires that for years a raunchy red top Sunday tabloid called the News of the World, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s flagship News International, indulged in serial ‘e-fracking’ of voice mails made by scores of politicians and public celebrities.
These quite shamelessly illegal indulgences extended to the veterans of Britain’s useless foreign wars, survivors of the July 2005 bombing of the London Transport network – and in one especially morbid episode, tapping the mobile phone of a murdered schoolgirl to discover if by some miracle she might still be alive.
Of course all this serial e-fracking was conducted in pursuit of sensational and salacious stories to boost circulation and advertising revenues of the newspaper known to generations of Britons as the Screws of the World.
What did the custodians of law and order do when confronted with the incontrovertible facts? Practically nothing.
Scotland Yard officers turned out to be culprits feeding juice tidbits to newspaper reporters including the News of the World hackers.
Bad enough, but even worse, the Yard did all it could to smother Murdochgate in its infancy, quite obviously responding to orders from a higher level. This of course was not remotely connected with the highly controversial bid by News International for those remaining shares of the highly lucrative BSkyB satellite broadcasting channel which they did not already own.
In a perfectly delicious turning of the tables, senior figures in Cameron’s government – and Cameron personally – were recorded in e-mail exchanges expressing warm sentiments to Murdoch executives, even as the row over the hacking scandal touched fever pitch.
All of this is part and parcel of the sick incestuous merry-go-round pursued by British political leaders, irrespective of theoretical ideological bent, to win the priceless electoral endorsement of Murdoch’s media empire.
The story stretches back to Margaret Thatcher who regarded ‘Dear Rupert’ as an ex-officio member of her cabinet.
Blair was even more obsequious, forever jetting around News International’s Nuremburg rallies of craven executives, preaching from tablets approved by the Dear Publisher in Chief.
We are introduced to Cameron’s rather glaring deficiencies of critical judgment, even one might say, his disregard of his fiduciary responsibilities as prime minister.
Not the least of these was his decision to hire (against sound industry advice) a former News of the World editor who was demonstrably on the bridge during the hacking affair, first as the Tory Party’s lavishly rewarded Director of Communications and subsequently his own personal media controller in Downing Street.
Cameron’s follies in the Murdochgate business are seemingly endless as he blunders from one indefensible stand to the next. A Liberal coalition minister responsible for policing monopolies was taken off the BSkyB case because he had the temerity to stand by the ethical standards approved by the very parliament of which the prime minister is a member.
The minister’s replacement, one of Cameron’s Old Etonian chums, promptly and predictably went native.
The PM is now embroiled in a blazing public row with the high court judge that he personally selected to inquire into media ethics in the wake of Murdochgate. The problem is that the official inquiry under way did not puff up the usual smokescreens, but instead went for the jugular of abysmal disregard for even basic ethics and standards which has corroded the UK media, including the BBC.
Even though the Sky bid is history, along with the now shuttered News of the World, Cameron clings to Murdoch like a survivor of the Titanic rowing towards the stricken ship. Thus, Cameron accuses Lord Leveson of using his intrusive and objectionable inquiry to gag the media and stifle the free press.
This is such a reckless and stupid charge in the wake of the phone tapping scandal, one can only be amazed at the prime minister’s bizarre sense of logic, and for that matter, those who surround him who are supposedly there to tender informed advice.
Wherever one looks, one sees the prime minister’s footprints. It does not help at all that two intimates of his super-rich set roosting in his plush Oxfordshire constituency have been charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice in the hacking affair.
The fragrant flame-haired Rebekah Brooks, News International Chief Executive and another former editor of the Screws of the World, is in the dock alongside her husband Charlie, a well known figure on the British racing turf.
The case comes up for trial in the autumn, which rather guarantees that Cameron will find himself uncomfortably exposed as the Tory faithful gather for their annual gathering. The omens are not good.
Aside from Murdochgate, the recent local election results were deplorable for the Tories, there is open squabbling among the coalition crew and much touting of Borison Johnson the rowdy populist Mayor of London as leader in waiting.
For certain Murdochgate means dark skies over the annual Tory get-together.
The last occasion such a stench arose from the bowels of the Tory party was in the 1960s during the notorious Profumo affair which featured furious sexual romping connecting the defense minister, an alleged Russian spy and a gaggle of young hookers who became household names.
The setting was a palatial mansion on the banks of the River Thames. By all accounts the upper crust – including a spattering of royals – was out in force for the regular frolics organized by a society osteopath who subsequently died in police custody.
The Tory government was holed below the waterline. The PM, Old Etonian, ex-Guardsman Harold Macmillan was judged as not fully in charge of the ship or the crew and unceremoniously pushed out of office. The socialists, long believed to be dormant if not politically dead, broke 13 years of Tory rule shortly afterwards.
Macmillan was the last Old Etonian to roost in Downing Street. Well, until now that is. In the circumstances Mr. Cameron would do well to remember the age old dictum that déjà vu is invariably the ruling theme of all political cultures.
In any event as MPs prepare to set off for their long holiday recess, their seaside postcards should make for interesting reading in certain quarters.
UPDATE: Camelot Gone Haywire
Clanger Cameron strikes again. In his latest pronouncement in pursuit of some populist favor, he says there are too many Old School Tie competitors in the ranks of the British Olympic team. Talk about inverted snobbery, how about the excess of Old Etonians and Harrovians and such like who cram his fast-sinking government at all levels?
This insulting level of talking down to the Brits doesn’t wash, yet once again probably the worst prime minister since WW2 (and arguably WW1) demonstrates his consummate inability to communicate or form rational judgments.
To add to the main story above, he also has a problem with fibs. The story is going the rounds that the Metropolitan Police lent one of their finest chargers to Rebekah Brooks and her husband Charlie, a nag by the name of Raiza.
When Cameron was asked if he ever rode the animal he four times denied it, before confessing that in fact he had.
The fib is not so trivial as it seems. Rebekah and Charlie Brooks have been charged by the Yard with perjury, while it has also become clear that the force tried to squash the phone hacking scandal and conceal the fact that some of its officers had been selling salacious snippets to the media.
Politically speaking, the Raiza affair demonstrates Cameron being taken for a ride once again. Its the same story every time he is under pressure.
Its now odds-on whether the Tories will swap leaders before the next general election.
UPDATE 2: David Cameron has taken a battering on the blogs today with both ConservativeHome and LabourList revealing damaging new statistics about the PM’s waning popularity. Polling undertaken by Lord Ashcroft has found that a staggering 43% of ConservativeHome readers see Cameron as a vote-loser, with a paltry 36% backing his electoral prowess. ConservativeHome gunning for Dave is ominous in the long-term. He has been warned…
LabourList is pushing a Commons report that shows membership of the Conservative Party has dropped by almost a third since Cameron became leader. The slump is pretty damning even considering that membership is usually cyclical, rising before a new leader is chosen and falling afterwards – hence why Labour’s membership numbers seem relatively flattering.
Credit www.order-order.com, a pro-Tory web site. Times are are really hard for Clanger Cameron. He’s toast unless something truly remarkable happens to turn his fortunes around.
Richard Cottrell is a writer, journalist and former European MP (Conservative). His new book Gladio: NATO’s Dagger At The Heart Of Europe is now available from Progressive Press. You may order it using the link below (or by clicking here – Gladio, NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe: The Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis):
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Edited by Madison Ruppert