or PC brigade for short. Two stories illustrate how the British public is increasingly being controlled and monitored. First comes an article in today's Daily Telegraph by Graeme Archer on the subject of the proposed ban on smoking in cars, incorporated in which is the news that Oxford City Council are installing CCTV cameras in all Hackney Carriages (black cabs) and private hire vehicles (the City Council statement can be read here) ; the second relates to this article on the BBC website on the subject of Cameron's attempt at an Australian accent.
It is an unfortunate fact that every time a further encroachment on our privacy and/or liberty is announced, invariably it features words to the effect that it is being done for our safety and/or to enhance the environment in which we live. With all the encroachment on our lives, especially loss of privacy, it is becoming increasingly obvious that there will be no aspect of private life that has not been determined by those in public life.
It would appear that Oxford City Council is in breach of the guidelines issued by the Information Commissioners Office and thus, in my view, constitutes a gross invasion of privacy. The obvious answer is to make use of the ability to have a local referendum on the question, however something strange happened when the Localism Bill became the Localism Act. Under the Localism Bill local referendums could be requested where the requisite number of signatures had been received, even though it contained the 'get-out' clause whereby local authorities could ignore the result of any referendum. Although I have posted on this aspect before, a resume of this particular aspect of the Localism Bill can be found here. The Localism Act can be found here and the only reference I can see about referendums is that involving a Council Tax increase - although I may have blinked and missed any other reference. It is also noted that the Plain English Guide to the Localism Act also fails to mention the promised local initiative of referendums. It is also noted that Zac Goldsmith has a Private Members Bill 'en passage' through the House of Commons, one that removes the ability of a local authority to ignore the result of any referendum - although, unfortunately, it is also noted that it contains the caveat "subject to exceptions set out in regulations made by the Secretary of State by statutory instrument"; but hey, we can't have the powers of central government constrained, can we? It will indeed be interesting to see how far Godsmith's PMB gets - before the Lord High Executioner, sitting on his throne in No10, kills it stone dead.
Turning to the second article, that dealing with Cameron's attempt at an Australian accept, the remarks in the BBC article made by Sean Ruttledge are worthy of comment. Ruttledge is quoted as saying: "Imitating certain accents gives the perception that someone is simply being racist.......Chinese comes off badly - as does Indian, Nigerian, or West African.". Now I'm a tad lost here as I am unable to differentiate between mimicking the accent of an Australian and that of a West African - especially where racism is concerned. It would seem that if 'racism' is seen as a crime against West Africans, then the same must apply to Australians - yet it is not. It seems that Jim Davidson talking about his friend 'Chalky' is not acceptable, yet Cameron - in normal comedic role - mimicking the inhabitants of our historical convict colony, is.
stupidity enforced behavioural procedure, whilst reinforcing my argument for a change in our system of democracy, can best be summed up in two quotations - the first relating to we bloggers and the second to the mentality of how our politicians view us and why they believe that only they are right.
"Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them."
"And how do you know that you're mad? "To begin with," said the Cat, "a dog's not mad. You grant that?" I suppose so, said Alice. "Well then," the Cat went on, "you see a dog growls when it's angry, and wags it's tale when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad."
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass