Thursday, 3 July 2008

Here's looking at you, kid

The UK is the most closely monitored country on earth. London is the UK's most closely monitored city. London Underground is London's most closely monitored real estate. I counted eight CCTV cameras in the short tunnel from the concourse on Piccadilly Circus station to Regents Street South.

Why? Because social trust is breaking down. Freedom is being traded for security. Since leaving London 11 years ago, this is one of those "I no longer recognise the land where I was born" moments; these robotic eyes and arms keeping vigilant watch on knife-wielding teenagers, terrorists, paedophiles and religious fanatics - and on you, and I; members of law-abiding society that the Government no longer seems to trust.

Ironically, today Poland feels freer than the UK. Funny that, eh? Who'd have said that 20 years ago?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

God bless you for this thought-provoking and utterly candid comment - I've lived in London now for 30 years and have watched the creeping machinery of the state -like poisonous vegetation - grow upon its body like leprose algae. Your words drive through the cant like a laser.

IF this is NOW ....what will this once fabled city be like in 50 years?

One point though...as the machinery of the state has grown, so seemingly has the repugnant aggression that bedevils us. The gossomer texture of our social intercourse becomes ever more tenuous. Direct eye contact, anyone? Or would you prefer to stare into the lens and perhaps answer just a few personal questions?

Frater XYZ

David Thomson said...

I've just stumbled across this 5 year old blog post. I'm in Glasgow - another of Britain's closely watched cities. I remember a few mumbles of protest to the idea of CCTV monitoring. Soon after that the street camera was an almost invisible piece of street furniture. I live out on the edge of town. I can see two cameras from my window. How easily we accept. I wonder if Poland has managed to resist these all seeing eyes 5 years after you posted this piece. After reading it I am now wondering how many times a day I am photographed. Dave, Glasgow