Thursday, December 04, 2008
Never mind the TV show.
There is not, never has been and never will be anything relevant or important about sitting on your couch talking bollocks with your mates about the strangers sitting on a different couch, also talking bollocks, that you can see on your telly.
Never was the idiot box a more appropriate phrase than in relation to that nonsense.
But of course, like all entertainments permitted to us poor plebs, it serves as a distraction from the fact that in Britain more than anywhere else worldwide, the government really is watching you.
That's the real Big Brother in action. But thankfully it has for once been stymied in its tracks by the most unlikely of opposition - the European Court of Human Rights.
So immunised to the constant sight of human rights abuses are we today that the plight of people in horror states like Tibet or Zimbabwe just seems to become almost the way things seem destined to be in some parts of the world.
The abuse of people's individual basic rights is so widespread, so ubiquitous that we end up desensitised even to the erosion of our own rights as they disappear before our eyes.
Even with the images of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib before their eyes, American citizens still allowed both 'Patriot' Acts to be enacted with barely a word of protest.
And in the UK, the New Labour regime has presided over a wholesale eradication of basic human rights, with its most extensive public surveillance system in the world monitoring citizens whose DNA it takes without permission and stores forever without justification.
So the news today that the European Court of Human Rights has ruled this practice to be illegal should be celebrated by ALL EU citizens, whether British or not, whether resident in Britain or not.
It's not and never has been an issue of 'those with nothing to hide have nothing to fear.'
We've all lost count by now of how many times public records and sensitive information like bank, medical, military or political affiliation records have been lost, stolen or leaked into the public domain or sold to criminals.
There is a simple principle at stake here. The state apparatus has no right to take and store the DNA of its citizens, especially of those never convicted of a criminal offence. And if the European court rules that it is illegal in England, then it is illegal throughout the EU.
That's one in the eye for Big Brother.