Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Touch of Deja Vu

Visiting the United Kingdom nowadays, I get the strange feeling that I’ve been in this sort of environment before.
I can’t say it’s a sense of reliving a former pleasurable experience – rather more a sense of unease and insecurity.
And it was not until the other day that I recognised where I had felt the same way in the past.
Many years ago, for my sins, I spent a good deal of time in the Eastern Bloc countries. In most of these, life was pretty good for a visitor from the west, especially if he had a spare pair of jeans to flog on the streets of Moscow.
But there was one notable exception.
The People’s Paradise of East Germany presided over by Mr. Honegger.
There, every citizen spied upon his fellows, uniformed Stasis were on every corner and a slew of pettifogging rules and regulations ensured that almost every citizen became a quasi criminal.
Reading the current crop of offences committed by the beleaguered citizens of Britain reminded me of that former communist state.
In the UK, I fear that at any moment some CCTV camera will catch me breaking some cockamanie by-law that will end up in court.
Failure to swipe one’s Oyster card correctly, even though the correct fare is offered, is a case for the courts. Standing in a First Class rail carriage is equally heinous, even though the company, who have gladly accepted the exorbitant fare, have failed to provide adequate seating.
Tourists better adopt the same procedure that applied behind the Iron Curtain and keep their cameras securely packed away. They might be accused of being terrorists and, if the government have their way, be incarcerated for six weeks whilst the authorities find out that they aren’t.
The nation is now overwhelmed with little Hitlers, all eager to impose their pseudo authority, indicated by a dayglo jacket and a clipboard, on a strangely quiescent public.
And, what a surprise! A government hotline set-up to enable neighbour to spy upon neighbour to report tax cheating has been abused.
It’s a pity George Orwell’s not around to write a sequel to 1984.
But I suppose there is little better to be expected from a government that rate traffic wardens above soldiers when it comes to rewarding them.
After all, the enemy rarely spit upon soldiers.


Post a Comment

<< Home