Smokers and tramps join 8,000 council surveillance targets
We have you in our sights.
And smokers are not alone in the game of fear…
Councils carried out more than 8,500 secret snooping operations on members of the public during the past two years, including spying on dog owners, fly tippers and loan sharks, according to a report published today.
Secret surveillance operations also took place against smokers, suspected benefit fraudsters, vagrants buying alcohol for under-18s and people repairing vehicles in the street.
There’s them pesky smokers again. Oh, and it gets worse…
More than 12 local councils used Ripa powers to spy on dog owners suspected of letting their animals foul public thoroughfares. Allederdale council in Cumbria used the powers to check whether a dog was wearing a collar and tag.
Kensington & Chelsea council spied on someone suspected of carrying out illegal vehicle repairs on the street, Gloucestershire on the suspected illegal movement of sheep and Great Yarmouth snooped on someone suspected of illegal tattooing.
Councils in North Norfolk, Chesterfield, Nuneaton & Bedworth, and Merton, southwest London, used Ripa powers to snoop on people suspected of lighting up in a no-smoking area.
The council in Newcastle upon Tyne topped the list of Ripa investigations, carrying out 231 operations between 2008 and 2010.
Councils also used the powers to spy on their own employees. In Darlington, Co Durham, staff were suspected of lying about their car parking and in Hambleton, North Yorkshire, and Hammersmith & Fulham employees were thought to be lying about being sick. The report found that 399 prosecutions resulted from the surveillance operations though in other cases people may have been given an on-the-spot fine rather than be taken to court.
Under the law 474 local authorities and 318 other agencies, including the Ambulance Service and the Charity Commission, can carry out surveillance operations.
Frightening, truly frightening…but are we becoming blasé about this?
After all, in another country, and in another era that, as the years fade into obscurity and recollections are dimmed by time and concerted efforts to eliminate the bad things of history in our media and in our schools and colleges it couldn’t happen again…could it?
Some younger readers might not know what I mean in that last paragraph, so I will elucidate:
In 1936 Heinrich Himmler was made Reich Police Leader.
Himmler was an enthusiast for Nazi racial doctrines and his appointment resulted in a more radical policy over asocials (as it did over a number of other issues).
In February 1937 he ordered habitual criminals and offenders against public decency (which included gays) to be sent to ‘preventive custody’ instead of ordinary prison. This meant the concentration camps. This was illegal at first but was made lawful in December.
The criminal police were then empowered to arrest people who had not committed any crime if they could be shown to be unwilling ‘to conform to the natural discipline of the National Socialist State’. This included a very wide range of categories of behaviour including the ‘workshy’, the homeless, Sinti and Roma, gays, beggars, people (often women) whose sex life seemed irregular or irresponsible, prostitutes, pimps, people who refused to pay maintenance, and so on.
In April 1938 the first big wave of arrests occurred of people whose names were found in the records of local labour exchanges (jobcentres). [Ed: Records these days are called Databases, every council and government has one which makes it quicker to identify you than trawling through a paper database, and a pound to a penny YOU are on one!]
Godwin’s law I hear you cry! Well I would argue that once you invoke Godwin’s law then it is you that have lost the argument as you have gotten your ideal way out of continuing further debate about the excesses of government control. It’s your way of saying GAME OVER when you have run out of ideas to parley with.
I think we all have worked it out by now that most anti-smokers are ex-smokers that have exercised self control and the power of their own will by their own volition to stop smoking, who then turn out to be the most ferocious and rabid of anti-smokers.
The very fact that the ex-smoker used his or her intellect to make the conscious decision to refrain from smoking tobacco products and then say that smokers in their midst are addicts akin to junkies without the same conscious decision making mechanism they used is to treat them [the smoker] as lesser mortals than themselves, devoid of decision making processes. So their mindset is set in stone, they are superior to you because they gave up smoking and they think you cant, you are not as strong as them, you are weak, they are strong in mind, body and soul, you have no place in their society, full stop. It would never occur to them that you enjoy what you do, they have deliberately forgotten the enjoyment that they once had when they were smoking. Megalomaniacs crave control, and if, as a leader of a country, you can control smokers and something as mundane as smoking, then you can control anything, Nazi Germany was nothing if not efficient.
In our dim and distant past:
It seems that Hitler was a smoker in his youth but at some stage he became aware of its health hazards and, when in power (perhaps with the zeal of a convert), appeared to detest tobacco, which he called "the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor." But the antismoking campaign reflected "a national political climate stressing the virtues of racial hygiene and bodily purity" as well as the Fuhrer's personal prejudices. The same could be said of Nazi efforts to discourage drinking and encourage a better diet.
The state performer in antismoking propaganda was Adolf Hitler. As one magazine put it: "brother national socialist, do you know that our Führer is against smoking and think that every German is responsible to the whole people for all his deeds and emissions, and does not have the right to damage his body with drugs?"
I used to be a smoker. The first thing I did when I woke up at 6am was to reach out of bed, grab a cigarette and light up. It was my start to the day, every day. I tried several times to give up, but only lasted a few months before going back. During one of the periods when I was off cigarettes, I went to the pub. Somebody bought a round, then someone passed round a packet of fags. I foolishly took one – I'd had a few drinks – and the next thing I was a smoker again.
That was about 30 years ago, and I finally managed to kick the habit soon after that, partly because I met a woman who didn't smoke. We married and had four children. […]
In my view smokers who currently stand outside a pub or restaurant having a fag should have to stand at least several yards away from the front door, to save the 79% of us who don't smoke from breathing in their smoke when we go in or out. We should curtail the rights of the 21% and increase their responsibilities towards the 79%. In other words, we should stop them killing us and our children. […]
Smoking should be banned in cars, and particularly any vehicle with children in it. On a school visit I met a 12-year-boy who wanted to be an athlete who told me that every morning his mother lit up when she was driving to school, even though he'd begged her to stop. He should be able to report her to the police.
It should also be illegal to smoke at home in front of children. I accept that enforcing such a law would be difficult, but it would send a message that such behaviour is unacceptable. And shops should need a licence to sell cigarettes. They need a licence to sell alcohol, which is sometimes addictive and certainly harmful, just like tobacco, so why not? That would make shopkeepers less likely to sell fags to people under age.
The Grim Ripa pdf.
My emphasis throughout.