On Christmas Day, police in the U.K. rounded up tourists taking photos of the royal family at Sandringham church
and confiscated their cameras. At The Independent
, Dominic Lawson's dismay subsides to confusion: Britain's police are "descending into obvious madness,"
he writes. " ...Their explanation of their behaviour is usually much harder to understand than the errors they seek to mitigate."
In his view, the many similar absurdities (also recently arrested was a man who took photographs of a chip shop
) are united by a simple and apolitical motive. Lawson puts it thus:
If the innocent citizen reacts with the outrage of the genuinely guiltless, the officers involved may well take a special pleasure in humiliating him - and it is this which makes most people meekly accept official behaviour, even if they might strongly suspect it is the police who are behaving illegally.
Brits have a term for these sort of officials: jobsworths
. The police know
that they're harming what they ostensibly protect, but haven't been ordered to give a damn. And the result of that
is far worse: "none of us can feel safe: exactly the inverse of what our masters' policies are supposedly designed to achieve."
Illustration: Pip R. Lagenta
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