perlmonger: (1984)
We heard about this on the news; is it just me who thinks that it’s the thin edge of a very thick wedge indeed? We’ve already had this in the campaign to get people to shop benefit “cheats” and it all helps nicely in propagating an atmosphere of distrust and fear. Does it benefit anyone at all but the government? And who will be the first person snitched out of malice, for being in possession of a dusky complexion, or just for a laugh? E M Forster applies, I think.

The news was followed by possibly the most egregious piece of blatant fearmongering I’ve yet heard from the post-Hutton BBC: File on Four on Iran and export controls. In the entire programme there wasn’t a single attempt to justify their prejudgements: Iran is uniquely evil; US export controls are necessary and correct if possibly a mite liberal; UK and EU controls are entirely inadequate, and as for the Polish courts releasing someone the US wanted (and want) extradited who had broken no EU or Polish law, words nearly failed them.

There was a magnificent example of tabloid “investigative” journalism when we had an extended description of Hampstead property prices leading to a description of a trader who, it was carefully pointed out, had done nothing illegal. His sin was to be of Iranian extraction, to be rich and to have sold on dual use tech to Tehran; his guilt confirmed by his refusal to speak to the odious shit wielding a hatchet at his front door.

Lest I be misunderstood, I hold little truck with the current Iranian regime. They are, however, no worse than many (most?) other governments and their current singling out as the focus of the axis of Teh Eval is mostly a matter of Realpolitik. It was pointed out that they are using whatever means are necessary to buy parts to keep their F-14s flying: it was not pointed out how on Earth else they could keep their air force operational when they’re under blockade.

Still, as long as we’re all kept in a state of fear, eh?
perlmonger: (1984)
The Commons are voting on ID card bill, as amended by the Lords, today. Like most (all?) measures of their ilk, they’re neither designed nor destined to achieve what their spinners spin; they’ll do bugger all to prevent ID theft (indeed, they’ll do exactly the opposite). The only help they offer in “war on terror” is to further ramp up the climate of fear that the government wants us to live in, to allow easier and closer monitoring of the people they fear most: their citizens.

Here’s qwghlm with some historical context:
Which brings me to the current continual talk of “threats” to our way of life and (depending on the loony extremeness of whoever you’re talking to) the “clash of civilisations” and “our way of life is under threat” - it’s bunkum. The acts of a few fundamentalists and flag-burners seems quite tame compared to the prospect of London and Manchester being razed to the ground at the whim of the Soviet president - even the prospect of thousands of deaths is a lot more preferable than that of millions. Perhaps this is the one thing that bugged me about The Power of Nightmares - the modern “nightmare” posed by international terrorism is nowhere near as terrifying compared to what was feared in the past.

Perhaps this why there’s all this chatter of late about a nuclear Iran - never mind that they’re years off producing a nuclear test, let alone a functioning and robust battle-worthy weapon, let alone one that can be integrated and reliably flown on a ballistic missile, although the breathy rumours about war and scary-looking glossy graphic would want you to believe otherwise, it seems. Maybe we’ve begun to realise that even the bloodiest conventional terrorist attacks are no good at stoking permanent fear.

Oh, and go read [livejournal.com profile] pecunium‘s recent post on the same subject. Substitute UK for US and New Labour for Republicans, and it carries over here just fine.

Welcome to the days you’ve made. You’re welcome. Welcome.

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