- The totalitarian state of the United Kingdom -
The totalitarian state of the United Kingdom is no longer the once futuristic Orwellian vision of "1984" but a prediction only twenty years too early to the day of the reality that we now live in.
For thousands of years of human history people in tribes, societies and civilisations have gathered in the evenings in groups to the music of the drums - dancing, celebrating and living.
You might be one of those weird and bizarre people who think that 20 people getting together to listen to music is a pretty fun and social thing .. as of this week in the year of our government 2004 the assembly of 20 people, be it even on private land, "at which amplified music is played at night (with or without intermissions); and (b) 'music' includes sounds wholly or predominantly characterised by the emission of a succession of repetitive beats." - (listening to music!) - is now illegal and classified as an "anti-social" public nuisance as defined in the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 - section 63 "Raves - Powers to remove persons attending or preparing for a rave" amended by the Anti-social Behaviour act 2003 section 58 "Raves" reducing the permitted numbers gathered in the open air for a rave (as trespassers or not) from 100 to 20 and additionally covering gatherings of 20 or more who are trespassing on land which is not in the open air (ie within a building).
Powers are unchanged with the addition of a further offence of making preparations for or attending a gathering subject to a direction within 24 hours of the direction. Yes - it is an offence to go to, or even prepare to go to a rave, within 24 hours of being stopped from visiting another one. A person guilty of an offence under this subsection is "liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or a fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale, or both."
We have now made the very human nature illegal, denying recognition of whom and what we actually are.
Liberty spokesperson Barry Hugill condemned the new laws: 'This is totally unacceptable, it should only be a crime to commit a crime. The government is introducing constraints and no-go areas the like of which haven't existed since wartime'.
Of course, some people argue that we are at war. At war against a something, a phenomenon, which is also a result of denying to recognise the basic and fundamental human requirements for existence - the concept of "terrorism".
Just keep dreaming about the right to assemble and express your opinion in these matters - be it for or against the idea that we should drop more bombs on people or be allowed to listen to music - there is now a law stating that just two people can constitute a "public assembly" giving the police power to impose conditions. In case two million people don't turn up again on the next international day of action and national anti-war demo on the 20th of March 2004 the limit of two people is probably a safe level to catch any level of uncomfortable expression.
Are two people still allowed to assemble to kiss? Love each other?
Answer 1: The European Convention on Human Rights: Article 11 - "Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.", Article 10 - "Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers".
Answer 2: David Blunkett (a statement required under section 19(1)(a) of the Human Rights Act 1998) - "In my view the provisions of the Anti-social Behaviour Bill are compatible with the The European Convention on Human Rights."
Answer 3: "Freedom of speech is a right to be fought for, not a blessing to be wished for.", United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Federico Mayor, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 1999.