Or, The State We’re In.
Our current condition throws up some examples of how power crazed bureacurats are falsely charging themselves with the power to stamp on individuals who rightly stand up against bureaucracy and public service failings and challenge unaccountable and unsanctioned decision making. Two cases make the papers today that should be spread far and wide. But as always there is little or no ‘follow through’ by the journalists to connect the dots and display the bigger picture for people, so we have to rely on the blogosphere to do that.
Firstly we have the case of blogger Jacqui Thompson, author of ‘Camarthenshire Planning Problems and More’. She tells the story of how she was arrested for allegedly breaching the peace this week for filming part of a Camarthenshire County Council meeting from the public gallery to bring events to a wider audience.
Ms Thompson then goes on in a follow up blog post to describe her treatment after being arrested and presents readers with an evident example of the law being abused by Camarthenshire Councillors and the police to suit the ends of the establishment. A polite refusal to acquiesce to an unreasonable demand – namely to stop filming when filming is not banned by the Council’s own standing orders – is not a breach of the peace.
A legal action for false arrest seems justified as to deny this woman her liberty for wishing to highlight failings in the supposedly democratic process is an abuse under the law. There was no need for the Council to suspend proceedings and no grounds to instructing her to leave the public gallery. The police were not only heavy handed, they were resorting to stereotype number one, that the establishment is in need of protection and the ordinary taxpaying member of the public is the aggressor.
Secondly we have the case of blogger Daniel Sencier, author of ‘Prostate Cancer – My Journey!’ and a former cancer patient at the Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle. He tells the story of how North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust are bullying him using threats of legal action for daring to speak out about the experience of newly diagnosed Prostate Cancer patients at his local hospital in Carlisle.
The Trust is giving the impression of having more power than it actually possesses, as once you read the content of their solicitor’s letter to Mr Sencier you can see how little they can do to prevent a protest they believed Mr Sencier was planning. But the abuse becomes evident when you see the Trust’s threat against Mr Sencier if his blog contains what they consider to be:
…unsubstantiated criticism of the care you received at the Trust the Trust will have no hesitation in considering taking legal action against you
Criticism is subjective and if Mr Sencier considers the care he received was substandard then he has the right to say so. It is his opinion and there should not be any need for his opinion to be substantiated by anything. At any rate, as if to underline the blowhard position the Trust is only saying they won’t hesitate to consider taking legal action. They know they will almost certainly have no grounds for doing so, but that doesn’t stop them trying to intimidate a dissatisfied member of the public into silence.
This is the reality of Britain in the 21st Century. We supposedly boast the mother of all Parliaments and the finest model for legal systems that has been much duplicated around the world. But what we see here is not only examples of the corruption of our democracy but the extent of the assault on our liberty and individual rights by the State in service of its own interests against ours.
For how much longer will the public stay silent on matters such as these and shy away from taking back from the establishment the power that is ours by right? It cannot continue. We need to make a stand.
(Cross posted at Orphans of Liberty and Independent Political Bloggers – links on the right).