Cory Doctorow points us to this new poster campaign by the London’s Metropolitan Police Service:
The text from that poster reads: “A bomb won’t go off here because weeks before a shopper reported someone studying the CCTV cameras.” And there are others, including one that has a picture of a trashcan outside of a home, and reads: “These chemicals won’t be used in a bomb because a neighbor reported the dumped containers.” Yes, folks, unless you report people that look up in public spaces and snoop in your neighbors garbage, the TERRORISTS WILL WIN. Cory goes to town:
It’s hard to imagine a worse, more socially corrosive campaign. Telling people to rummage in one another’s trash and report on anything they don’t understand is a recipe for flooding the police with bad reports from ignorant people who end up bringing down anti-terror cops on their neighbors who keep tropical fish, paint in oils, are amateur chemists, or who just do something outside of the narrow experience of the least adventurous person on their street. Essentially, this redefines “suspicious” as anything outside of the direct experience of the most frightened, ignorant and foolish people in any neighborhood.
And I don’t think that’s exaggerating the baseline that this campaign is working to create. Which brings us to the heart of it:
The British authorities are bent on driving fear into the hearts of Britons: fear of terrorists, immigrants, pedophiles, children, knives… And once people are afraid enough, they’ll write government a blank check to expand its authority without sense or limit.
This is one of the central reasons I think Labour deserves to lose the government. But that is for another time. Finally, Cory identifies one of the (many) things that makes this so disappointing:
What an embarrassment from the country whose level-headed response to the Blitz was “Keep Calm and Carry On” — how has that sensible motto been replaced with “When in trouble or in doubt/Run in circles scream and shout”?
Not only has the sun set, but we’re moving well into the night.