Glasgow Police’s conception of public safety is plain old fashioned tyranny
Imagine the kind of dystopian police state you would have to inhabit for it to be normal for the authorities to routinely warn citizens to be careful about what they think or say, on pain of criminal prosecution and potential incarceration.
Well, you don’t have to imagine, because Police Scotland and the Greater Glasgow Police are busy constructing their own tribute to North Korea right here in the UK.
The tweet shown above was posted on twitter by the Greater Glasgow Police – unironically – this afternoon, along with the menacing hashtag #thinkbeforeyoupost.
Apparently before offering up our thoughts to the internet, whether they be on politics, cooking or sport, we are to ask ourselves whether what we are posting is True, Hurtful, Illegal, Necessary or Kind. The clear implication is that if our speech fails the THINK test, some snarling Scottish police officer will turn up on our doorstep to drag us away, much as the London Metropolitan Police did with Matthew Doyle last weekend.
This is something of a scope increase for the police, to put it mildly. Where once they largely confined themselves to preventing and solving crime, apparently having since eliminated all actual crime in our society (…) and finding themselves at a loose end, they are now eager to swoop in and punish speech which passes Britains’ already draconian hate speech laws but which happens to be arbitrarily perceived by others as hurtful, unnecessary or unkind.
Let’s call a spade a spade: this is tyranny. When an enforcement arm of the state can post jocular messages on social media warning citizens to be on their best, blandest and most inoffensive behaviour on pain of arrest, we do not live in a free society any more. And it is time that more of us acknowledged this, so that we can get on with the task of rolling it back and re-establishing our corroded right to freedom of expression.
Alex Massie thunders:
Whatever next? The monitoring of conversations in public houses? Why not? Twitter and Facebook, after all, are merely digital, virtual, gathering places. As the wags on social media have put it today, Thur’s been a Tweet and Detective Chief Inspector Taggart is on the case.
Beneath the necessary and hopefully hurtful mockery, however, lurks an important point. One that relates to something more than police stupidity and over-reach and instead asks an important question about the value placed on speech in contemporary Britain. The answer to that, as this and a score of other dismal examples demonstrate, cannot cheer any liberal-minded citizen. Such is the temper of the times, however, in which we live. Nothing good will come of any of this but you’d need to be a heroic optimist to think it will get any better any time soon.
What a country; what a time to be alive.
All very good points. If social media is fair game for the thought police, why not the local pub, too? What restraint should there be, besides time and resources, on blanket surveillance of everyone all the time in the pre-emptive battle against speech crime?
When will people finally start waking up to the sheer illiberality and the authoritarian nature of contemporary society?
When will people finally realise that weaponised offence-taking and the Cult of Identity Politics do not create a Utopian paradise of peace and harmony, that in behaving this way we are only driving bad ideas underground to fester and grow while punishing those who dare to think differently?
When will people get that having the state act as an overbearing, always-watching surrogate parent figure, monitoring our behaviour and punishing those who do no more than hurt our feelings, is creating a weak-minded and unresilient population who are unable to handle slights and setbacks without running to an external authority figure for redress?
In a healthy society, the author of that tweet by Greater Glasgow Police would have broken the law by using their position to threaten the right of the people to freedom of expression – a liberty which would be guaranteed in a written constitution enshrining our fundamental rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But we do not live in a healthy society, the police are free to do as they please without censure and there is no written constitution guaranteeing our liberties. Instead, we have a “make it up as you go along” constitution and form of government with a strong tendency to attempt to solve the immediate problem in front of it by taking power away from the people to act in their own interests and vesting those same powers in the state.
We are approaching the point where some kind of rebellion against this censorious, bullying, tyrannical behaviour by the police must be mounted – perhaps some kind of co-ordinated mass action whereby everyone tweets something “offensive”, gets a partner to report them to the police and vice-versa, the idea being to gum up the workings of the police and criminal justice system until the whole rotten edifice collapses in upon itself.
Semi-Partisan Politics is in very rebellious mood right now.
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As someone who has recently been found not guilty of offences under section 127 of the telecommunications act, sending offensive, distressing messages on social media and someone who was and is innocent of these charges. I am really annoyed that the police and procurator fiscal proceeded with a case against me with virtually NO EVIDENCE. The police tried to force me to admit to what they were accusing me of and when I wouldn’t I was taken to the police station, spoken to, detained, questioned, charged and arrested. My case dragged on for 13 months and I appeared in court 7 times. My daughter was my witness and was there to give evidence of the police’s hostility and uninterested attitude to what I had to say.I even offered my laptop and mobile phone for them to check but they refused. It was at my trial last month when I actually found out exactly what the “evidence” was against me. The offensive messages did not show whether or which social media account they came from, who sent them, nor was there a date or time showing when they’d allegedly been sent.The only “evidence” they had was that the police and my accuser had seen the messages on my accuser’s laptop, there was no picture evidence, screenshots NOTHING. It also came out that the police had conducted a Google search on my accuser’s laptop within his home and that the messages that were submitted by the police to the procurator fiscal and then to the court were in fact copied and pasted from an email on my accuser’s laptop, the police politely and civilly asked my accuser for his laptop so that their computer experts could check it and he refused because he was doing something on it. The whole case against me was nonexistent and going by what was said in court the “evidence” was fabricated. FYI my accuser,his family and the police are very “friendly” I will never trust or help the police in anyway ever again.
Hi Charlotte, would like to know more, particularly have you received or are you seeking compensation? Has your case been publicized? I explain my concerns here:
The modern day society we live in has a lot to answer for in regard to the appropriation of power(s). Essentially, they have got so low in terms of respect no good sensible person would carry out their tasks so they have resorted to handing out uniforms to thugs. Anyway, check out HAWKWIND : LIVING ON A KNIFE EDGE and listen to the lyrics.
Never a truer word has been said….
Having been stopped recently by a ‘community safety Glasgow’ “officer”, I refused to recognise them as a legal entity. A jumped up traffic warden essentially. As I walked away I noticed him ‘clock’ the cigarette I was smoking at the time. After following me up the road and harassing me by stopping a few feet in front, waiting for me to pass and repeating this 5 or 6 times I got to where I was walking to, the shops, at which I deposited the butt in a bin. Three days later it became apparent what I had acknowledged with his shady behaviour.
I had been sent a FINE for 80 QUID !
I didn’t commit any littering or any other offence other than refuse to speak to the individual.
As a comeback to this, HE INVENTED the whole thing !!!
They even invented a different flat number, mis-spelled name and incorrect date of birth !!!
The accompanying paperwork stated that even that their details were incorrect it would still be applicable in LAW !?!?!?!?!?
Contacting MSP’s and MP’s resulted in calls back but lets face it, when you are up against organised criminals like these there is not much you can do. I paid it to get rid of them out my life.
In the process of my complaint I asked them to provide EVIDENCE of this supposed ‘act’, which they could not provide.
Basically, corroboration allows these criminals to ‘invent’ alleged ‘crimes’ and they’ll back each other up, if they don’t like your face or demonstrate a level of intelligence beyond their comprehension, they’ll set about making life hell for you.
This land is not a land I want to be part of for much longer and I’m working on methods of getting out of this farcical police state.
Between the fact(s) of this article and the digital situations one could end up in as a result of posting a COMMENT, bus lanes that if you swerve into in order to avoid a collision you’ll get sent a ticket for and the basic underlying fact that the corrupt Police and the corrupt council are happily in bed with each other, out to collect revenue to justify their ‘jobs’ !
No normal citizen going about their business is exempt from this tyranny.
This land of depressing, soulless, incredulous individuals is not conducive of free-thinking, free speech or any other of the so called ‘freedoms’ of an apparently, (cough), democratised nation.
I connot for the life of me understand their psychology. It is detrimental to society to victimise people in this manner. I could go on…..
Well said. Some kind of mass civil disobedience is required here I think. Whether there are enough people left who see the dangers though, that’s another matter..
What is coming is much, much worse:
We are becoming a pseudo free society that is part idiocracy and part theocracy.
I don’t have much experience of grassroots campaigning, but I would gladly sacrifice time and money to get such an initiative off the ground. These tinpot authoritarians need to be confronted.
Mass civil disobedience? It would me more fun to deluge them with millions of computer-generated grotesquely offensive tweets made via anonymous methods…. and millions of auto-generated complaints about said tweets at the same time 😀
It’s happening everywhere in the so-called free world. It’s even happening in the US, my home. I agree completely with what you’re saying, even though you keep typing behavior with a “u.” My response is “bugger off copper.” (I’ve been watching a lot of UK TV lately. My vocabulary has been greatly expanded) Don’t give up on this.
Many thanks for the words of encouragement. And good response! You are probably on a government list now, so consider changing your name if you ever want to visit Scotland…