27 February 2009

A Must Read : Malevolent Voices that Despise our Freedoms


by Philip Pullman

Are such things done on Albion's shore?

The image of this nation that haunts me most powerfully is that of the sleeping giant Albion in William Blake's prophetic books.

Sleep, profound and inveterate slumber: that is the condition of Britain today.

We do not know what is happening to us. In the world outside, great events take place, great figures move and act, great matters unfold, and this nation of Albion murmurs and stirs while malevolent voices whisper in the darkness - the voices of the new laws that are silently strangling the old freedoms the nation still dreams it enjoys.

We are so fast asleep that we don't know who we are any more. Are we English? Scottish? Welsh? British? More than one of them? One but not another? Are we a Christian nation - after all we have an Established Church - or are we something post-Christian? Are we a secular state? Are we a multifaith state? Are we anything we can all agree on and feel proud of?

The new laws whisper:

You don't know who you are

You're mistaken about yourself

We know better than you do what you consist of, what labels apply to you, which facts about you are important and which are worthless

We do not believe you can be trusted to know these things, so we shall know them for you 

And if we take against you, we shall remove from your possession the only proof we shall allow to be recognised 

The sleeping nation dreams it has the freedom to speak its mind. It fantasises about making tyrants cringe with the bluff bold vigour of its ancient right to express its opinions in the street. 

This is what the new laws say about that: 

Expressing an opinion is a dangerous activity 

Whatever your opinions are, we don't want to hear them 

So if you threaten us or our friends with your opinions we shall treat you like the rabble you are 

And we do not want to hear you arguing about it 

So hold your tongue and forget about protesting 

What we want from you is acquiescence

The nation dreams it is a democratic state where the laws were made by freely elected representatives who were answerable to the people. It used to be such a nation once, it dreams, so it must be that nation still. It is a sweet dream.

You are not to be trusted with laws 

So we shall put ourselves out of your reach 

We shall put ourselves beyond your amendment or abolition 

You do not need to argue about any changes we make, or to debate them, or to send your representatives to vote against them 

You do not need to hold us to account 

You think you will get what you want from an inquiry? 

Who do you think you are? 

What sort of fools do you think we are? 

The nation's dreams are troubled, sometimes; dim rumours reach our sleeping ears, rumours that all is not well in the administration of justice; but an ancient spell murmurs through our somnolence, and we remember that the courts are bound to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and we turn over and sleep soundly again.

And the new laws whisper:

We do not want to hear you talking about truth 

Truth is a friend of yours, not a friend of ours 

We have a better friend called hearsay, who is a witness we can always rely on 

We do not want to hear you talking about innocence 

Innocent means guilty of things not yet done 

We do not want to hear you talking about the right to silence 

You need to be told what silence means: it means guilt 

We do not want to hear you talking about justice 

Justice is whatever we want to do to you 

And nothing else 

Are we conscious of being watched, as we sleep? Are we aware of an ever-open eye at the corner of every street, of a watching presence in the very keyboards we type our messages on? The new laws don't mind if we are. They don't think we care about it.

We want to watch you day and night 

We think you are abject enough to feel safe when we watch you 

We can see you have lost all sense of what is proper to a free people 

We can see you have abandoned modesty 

Some of our friends have seen to that 

They have arranged for you to find modesty contemptible 

In a thousand ways they have led you to think that whoever does not want to be watched must have something shameful to hide 

We want you to feel that solitude is frightening and unnatural 

We want you to feel that being watched is the natural state of things 

One of the pleasant fantasies that consoles us in our sleep is that we are a sovereign nation, and safe within our borders.

This is what the new laws say about that:  


We know who our friends are 

And when our friends want to have words with one of you 

We shall make it easy for them to take you away to a country where you will learn that you have more fingernails than you need 

It will be no use bleating that you know of no offence you have committed under British law 

It is for us to know what your offence is 

Angering our friends is an offence 

It is inconceivable to me that a waking nation in the full consciousness of its freedom would have allowed its government to pass such laws as the Protection from Harassment Act (1997), the Crime and Disorder Act (1998), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000), the Terrorism Act (2000), the Criminal Justice and Police Act (2001), the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (2001), the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Extension Act (2002), the Criminal Justice Act (2003), the Extradition Act (2003), the Anti-Social Behaviour Act (2003), the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act (2004), the Civil Contingencies Act (2004), the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2005), the Inquiries Act (2005), the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act (2005), not to mention a host of pending legislation such as the Identity Cards Bill, the Coroners and Justice Bill, and the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Inconceivable.

And those laws say:

Sleep, you stinking cowards 

Sweating as you dream of rights and freedoms 

Freedom is too hard for you 

We shall decide what freedom is 

Sleep, you vermin 

Sleep, you scum. 

Philip Pullman will deliver a keynote speech at the Convention on Modern Liberty at the Institute of Education in London tomorrow

Source: Times Online Cached article - original was removed

 

Read more here/take action:
www.modernliberty.net 

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7 comments:

  1. This problem is a world wide one, not only for the 'Albion' citizens - but for all the EU & US citizens.

    For how long more will we be subservient to our governments - be it a Portuguese one or an English one?

    For how long more will we allow our legal individual rights be 'stampeded'?

    The right to regain our personal freedom and stand for democracy is in our own hands.

    Wherever you are it's time to take a stand, to be brave and proud and act like a Citizen.

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  2. Yes,Joana,yes...what the world needs is a GLOBAL revolution.
    The people must take their lives in their very own hands if we all want to be free from their absurd and fake laws and rules and ignominous governements....I would start with sabotaging the oil production,shut the wells,go back to the country and be HAPPY.....and this is not a dream....it is bond to happen,soon or later.
    By the way I am Jo.

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  3. Jo (or is it Joana) i agree.... But probably a meteorite will do the job......

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  4. Is the general situation of freedom that bad?

    In the last days we are reading a lot of scaring things here.

    Fear is a bad advisor.
    The power will go to the Devil's hands.

    Let's not allow it.

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  5. ..this post displays a good check-list..
    Citizenship may be considered a state of mind, and that may be translated into the capability of individual thought aggregated into a whole. Should we consider the underlying condition of common day collective psyche and we can view democracy from afar, in a blur in between clouds, as white as the good guy’s hat, as vaporous as a word undressed of meaning..

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  6. I have friends working in NGO and they have the Phillip Pullman line decades ago. In the city where I live in southern Spain there are moreEnglish people running away from Britain than africans running away from poverty. In fact it starts feeling like an invasion, certainly in some mountain villages where they are tipping the demographic balance. The worst is not this, but the fact that they do not integrate in the culture, most of them do not speak the language after decades. Their children are torn between their parents needs to be a true briton, and their love of the land they are growing in. Places like Malaga coast have been degraded to extremes due to the culture of alcohol and promiscuity holidays for english youths. Same in Ibiza, Mallorca, Costa Brava. Is the British government following a plan to evict problematic britons abroad? Well they are doing very well. It feels like a true and new english invasion of the south of Europe. God save us.

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  7. Why would the innocent wish to remain silent? Why did Kate McCann, Roy Whiting and Dr Shipman choose this right? Should we so concerned about protecting the rights of criminals that we ignore the victims?

    Why would the harassed not wish to be protected from harassment? The Protection from Harassment Act has seen victims of violence have a right of redress, a simple and clear cut right not to be harassed. It has seen workplace victims of bullying and harassment given the right to fight back. Can this really be so bad? Maybe we should ask women who have finally been able to stop an ex partner following them, attacking them, phoning, emailing and texting them a hundred times a day, constantly causing them to live in fear, this man will make sure your face looks so bad no other man wants you. Sometimes we are too quick to criticise the state and who they seeking to protect.

    See the case of Majrowski in the House of Lords and how he was helped to stand up to a bullying employer and those who it employs to do it, thanks to the Protection from Harassment Act:

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldjudgmt/jd060712/majro-1.htm

    ReplyDelete