Philip Pullman on the collapse of personal liberty in the UK


31 Responses to “Philip Pullman on the collapse of personal liberty in the UK”

  1. johnnyappleseed says:

    England Prevails.

  2. RainyRat says:

    I think Hanlon’s razor could apply here: “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”
    Having said that, I’ve grabbed a copy of the article, as it seems to be missing from Google’s cache again. Is there such a thing as being BoingBoinged?

  3. TheMadLibrarian says:

    Now the Google cache has apparently been rendered gone. Curiouser and curiouser; one wonders why this article was so incendiary it seems to have been expunged.

  4. TheMadLibrarian says:

    Now the cache is back. Maybe it was simply overwhelmed as the original is gone.

  5. AltHausDweller says:

    Why are so many links to this article vanished?
    I am not paranoid, but…

  6. Devilstower says:

    I sent a request to the Time Online customer support hours ago, but have seen nothing in reply.

    Thanks, Rainyrat, for digging out the cache page.

  7. sisterp says:

    I couldn’t get the Times page or the Google cache either, but is this the text? :

  8. arnold78 says:

    I guess George Mason was right when he said, “To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

  9. Anonymous says:

    I’m another guy who mailed to them. Around 15:00 UTC today got a reply from their customer service saying:

    Dear Times Online User, Thank you for your email and for bringing this error to our attention. Our technical team are currently working to rectify this matter as soon as possible. We do apologise for any inconvenience caused and thank you for your patience. [signature and employee name snipped]

  10. TroofSeeker says:

    This is one tough issue. Isn’t it the first priority of government to watch over the safety of its citizens? Yet nobody wants the government to “watch over” them literally. Shades of 1984! But maybe it’s inevitable in modern society. It might streamline the justice system to have video of everything that goes on in the city, and would probably deter a lot of crime, but it sure feels like our privacy is being invaded. Maybe we’re just gonna have to get used to it. Eek.

  11. imipak says:

    My theory is that the reason the general public (in the most arm-waving of generalisations) don’t really give a flying one about such matters is that none of it really impinges on their lives in a noticeable way. Very few Brits feel that they’re living in a police state; their daily lives go on in much the same way they always have done. (Hark… the sound of shunting trains, ringing and rumbling, softened almost into melody by the distance…)

  12. top_geezer says:

    I don’t suppose today’s Timesonline home page: ‘Brown pins his hopes of recovery on Obama’ with a photo of the happy couple might of shunted Pullman’s piece?

  13. RainyRat says:

    Yup, that’s the one.

  14. rwmj says:

    I’m left more confused than anything else. Not sure that turgid, confusing prose is going to help the cause.

  15. BingoTheChimp says:

    Can anyone recommend a good, objective primer on the specific issues referenced here? I wants to edumacate myself.


  16. Anonymous says:

    My complaint to this line of thinking is that it would take like five people to monitor just one person so closely, fifteen for day and night. Suppose I write some inflammatory things on this message board and that tips off the CIA computer. They would have to waste hundreds of man-hours just to figure out that I’m a dead-end. I apologize to the guy who reads my email for being so irrelevant, by the way.

  17. platypism says:

    When non-fiction reads like dystopian sci-fi, I think that gets the point across. Eep.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely right on. Orwell got it right, he just got the dates wrong.

    Neal Asher

  19. reginald says:

    what are you looking at?

  20. ddodd says:

    Is it too strange that I’m getting a 404 message when I look for the article on the Times site right now?

  21. Anonymous says:

    Poster #29. The article is still not online. You should email them again. It seems to me that The Times were persuaded to remove this article by higher powers.

  22. RainyRat says:

    #14 – Same here, although it was fine when I skimmed it at work a couple of hours ago.

  23. jaia says:

    Quite reasonably, people don’t expect privacy outside or in public spaces. And it’s hard to say that cameras interfere with solitude, when the essence of solitude is not interacting with other people. Now, if you’re being monitored at home or in, say, a restroom, it’s a different story.

  24. Severius says:

    Still 404′d.

  25. nicol says:

    It struck me this morning, what if this is some kind of knee jerk subconscious reaction from politicians whose lives – more than ever – are permanently under the 24-hour media spotlight and microscope of ever more informed public criticism.

    As the privacy of those high in public office is reduced to almost nothing, perhaps on some level their attitude is – well if we have to live like this, so must you. If it is acceptable for us (and our families) then so must it be for you. Or rather, ha! See how you like it.

    Just a thought, certainly not a justification!

  26. mdh says:

    I think it’s brilliant.

  27. Blue says:

    Nicol, I don’t think it’s a reaction to media scrutiny so much as what I’d call ‘evolutionary opportunism’.

    Technological developments have created a new body for the politicians to inhabit – longer, more intrusive tentacles; more of them; greater congnitive functionality (pattern-matching databases and the like).

    The authoritays are growing into that body, flexing their new muscles, exploring their new capabilities, stretching into and exploring the extent of their reach.

    Morality, ethics, a sense of what is right and good to do and what is good not to do (in a ‘liberal democracy’ or, y’know, just as human beings doing unto others) are supposed to be the restraining factors, but since when do the sort of people who gravotate toward power, shift and bend to whatever policy is necessary for them to get into power (or repay those who keep them in power) hold to anything, much less principles or an ethical compass?

    “We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things [and that to] not want to be watched [means you] must have something shameful to hide,” is spot on.

  28. John Hudgens says:

    Really odd and curious that *this* article disappeared…

Leave a Reply