In today's Observer, columnist Henry Porter lays out the dismal facts of Britain's rush to authoritarianism and the failure of the big brother, surveillance state to make a civil land:
To put these figures in perspective, we spend more on law and order than any other OECD country including the United States, France, Germany and Spain. It is fair to say that Britain is in the grip of law and order obsession, yet we seem incapable of putting police officers on the beat to patrol our streets, investigate crimes and keep order with an eye to proportionate and sensible use of their powers. By that, I do not mean three officers on mountain bikes pursuing a colleague on his racer through crime-ridden Hackney to issue him with a £30 fine because he had avoided dangerous roadworks by briefly using the pavement. I don't mean texting the victim of a burglary, as happened to a friend of mine, to see if she had anything more to report.
Despite crime figures going down, we continue to spend more and lock up proportionately more people than any other free country. The most recent figures for London show falls of 14 per cent in both knife and gun crime and a 7 per cent reduction in violent crime generally. Since 1997, the official figures for the country claim a drop in the crime rate of 35 per cent. Academics suggest this figure is hugely inflated, but the downward trend is undeniable and could be claimed by Labour as a victory for its policies were it not for its sinister need to keep us in a state of permanent fear about crime.
The estimable Cherie Booth put her finger on the problem and inadvertently (perhaps) provided a grand analysis of her husband's cynical use of crime to push his authoritarian programme. On the release of a very good report from the Howard League for Penal Reform attacking the government's policy of building Titan prisons, which will hold 2,500 brutalised souls, she used the word 'punitive' a lot and referred to 'the hysterical rhetoric of politicians attempting to ride the tiger of public opinion'. Or what is perceived as public opinion, she added.
White cops from Aiken, SC improperly stopped a car driven by a black woman (they claimed the stop was motivated by temporary tags, but driving with current temporary tags is not grounds for a stop), then improperly questioned her passenger, who voluntarily gave them his ID, then induced a drug dog to “alert” on the […]
In 1996, in the midst of the Clinton administration’s attack on the Internet and cryptography, Grateful Dead lyricist and EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow sat down in Davos, Switzerland, where he’d been addressing world leaders on the subject of the Internet and human rights, and wrote one of net-culture’s formative documents: The Declaration of Independence […]
Geek Fuel is a subscription delivery service that caters to those of us that love comics, gaming, and general geek culture. Every month, Geek Fuel will assemble a box of goodies with a value of $50 or over. The specific items are a mystery, but you’ll always get an exclusive t-shirt not found anywhere else, a full […]
If you like to DIY and you like helicopters, you’re going to really love the Flexbot Hexacopter Kit. This copter blows traditional models out of the water: it includes everything you need to actually build your own hexacopter, and then pilot it like a pro, too.The construction is complicated enough to give you a challenge, […]
This week’s top deals from the Boing Boing Store range from lobster to wine to desk organization. 1. Get Maine Lobster (50% Off)With these discounted packages from Get Maine Lobster, you can experience the sweet, fresh flavor of world-renowned Maine lobster right at your own dinner table. There are four options to choose from, each at […]