Shut Up And Stick To Making Music

IF THERE'S ONE thing I can't stand, it's celebrities making populist political statements.

I get the theory behind it. Stupid people who spend their days reading Heat magazine and mourning the death of Jade Goody (having previously called her every dehumanising name under the sun) will pay attention to Beyonce lecturing us about poverty and buy a little coloured band to wear on their wrist to show they've done their bit.

There's few "celebrities" who I can take seriously when it comes to The Issues. Annie Lennox on AIDS: yes. The Pet Shop Boys on most things: yes. Except...

Talking to thelondonpaper, Pet Shop Boy Chris Lowe said, "CCTV cameras have turned Britain into a gulag. You get off a train at a railway station and it's like a prison camp. There's not one little camera - they're all over the place."

Er, and what?

Fellow Pet Shop Boy Neil Tennant added, "People would have found it slightly sinister at one time. But a generation has grown up thinking: 'Whatever'."

Yeah, whatever. CCTV can be abused, but the benefits far outweigh any negatives. It's thanks to CCTV that the Muktar Said Ibrahim, Yassin Omar, Ramzi Mohammed and Osman Hussain were convicted for their failed attempt to bomb three London Underground trains and a bus on 21st July 2005 - just two weeks after the 7th July atrocities.

Condemning CCTV will go down well with Stupid People, who will nod vigorously and whine about their civil liberties. But the threat doesn't come from a Big Brother state, it comes from Islamic extremists. Chris Lowe is living in another world if can't see that.

And that's the point - he is. Back in the real world, I'm glad cameras are watching every move I make, and every move They make, too.

ELSEWHERE - Terrorist ringleader Muktar Said Ibrahim: A robber and a sex offender

12 comments:

Miss Shallotte said...

Ka-os, you're too much for me!LOL. Seriously, I'd love to hear you talk.

Curio said...

Just wanted you to know I really think your blog is awesome!

ka-os said...

Miss Shallotte - no, you wouldn't. You'd get bored.

Curio - *shucks* you're making me blush. Your spot is pretty hot'n'tight too... Or is that just the banner I can't get past?

Curious said...

You know there is an argument that no matter how many CCTV cameras caught sight of those 4 people on 7/7 none of them were able to prevent what happened, which is why the idea of CCTV is highly criticized here in the US. As for the other people, I don't think that was a big news event here so I don't know anything about it.

ka-os said...

Curious - the CCTV was used to identify WHO the suicide bombers were, and then through that, who their accomplices were.

The July 21st attack failed because only the detonators exploded, not the bombs. Because of CCTV, the police were able to identify and round up the failed terrorists, who might otherwise have stayed free and made further attempts!

As for CCTV being criticised in the US - you guys have some funny ideas. The gun issue, freedom of speech without impunity (allowing any nutjob, like the Westboro Baptist lot, to spread hatred...)

john said...

But we should be wary of giving too much power to an inept or possibly malicious state. All that surveillance didn't stop Charles de Menendez being killed by state agents; nor the police attempting to cover it up. And where does our trust of the state end? Remember when all black men in a certain district were asked to donate dna to exclude themselves from the hunt for a black rapist? Most declined, rightly suspicious of such profiling. But why stop there? All citizens should give dna to the state at birth: why should the law-abiding citizen fear, after all? As the line goes in the Marat/Sade: 'Trust the powerful few: what's best for them is best for you.' I worry about someone who's so eager to trust the powerful (who at the least have their own agendas to serve) & offer the usual caveat: the Nazis were democratically elected.

Curious said...

Now you're going to make me sound like a conservative, but the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are the only recognized form of religion that the US government must adhere to.That's why it is the oldest written constitution in the world. The rights of all Americans are based and predicated on what is written there.

The 1st Amendment says that everyone has the right to freedom of expression not to be interfered with by the State whether it is liked or not. BTW, The protection against hate speech is not to shut it down but to promote more speech to counterbalance it.

The 2nd Amendment states that everyone has the right to bear and keep arms. I don't agree with it. It's a historic thing that was more relevant during the 18th century rather than now, but there it is.

The 4th Amendment guards against all unreasonable searches and seizures. One's ability to walk peacefully down the street without being filmed and cataloged would be considered an unreasonable search and has been a major fight for the ACLU and other associations against CCTV.

And yes, maybe it's because I am an ex-pat, but I also believe that CCTV is a step closer to facism and the 1984 that Orwell wrote about.

ka-os said...

John (and Curious) - you can't dismiss the value of CCTV by saying it din't stop this, or that, happening. Whether it's a deterrant or not is a moot point; however, where it is useful is in "getting the bad guys" afterwards - as the July 21st attacks demonstrated. In the case of de Menendez, London Underground's CCTV footage helped piece together a picture of what happened, and possibly prevented the police from further lying about what really happened. It's worth mentioning that the train stock on which he was shot wasn't at that time equipped with CCTV. What would the outcome of the court case have been if it had been? What would we have seen? There's been a lot of coverage in the media in recent years of violent crimes on buses and trains, and the CCTV images from those crimes must surely deter.

I'd also refer you to possibly the most famous CCTV footage in existence; that horrific image of Jamie Bulger being led away by his killers. Would those boys have been identified if it hadn't been for that footage? And if they hadn't been caught, what might they have done next?

And again, paranoid fantasies of a Nazi/Orwellian state are all very well. But are you really saying you fear them more than Islamic terror? Of course we have to draw a line somewhere. I'm not advocating signing away our civil liberties, but where's the priority? Fighting the government or defending ourselves against mad jihadists?

I'm not eager to trust the powerful. I just live in hope that those with the power will use tools like CCTV to keep us safe and minimise the fallout when it goes wrong. Let's draw a line in the sand somewhere else (on the subject of ID cards, for example)...

Dusty Boot said...

Ummmm no. The oldest Constitution governing a sovereign nation is San Marino's, in 1600. Sweden comes next in 1772, and the US Constitution was ratified in 1789.

Trojan Gayle said...

I just discovered your blog and from I seen its pretty good. I am am surprised on your views on CCTV. I like the Petshop boys feel the usage of CCTV can be and is often abused.

Do they really make use safe? who has access to this information and the idea of living in a free society doesn't include being watched by some faceless person who is watching my every move.

Now I know that CCTV has its place, but I as a member of the public who has nothing to hid wants to know how did CCTV stopped the bombings on 7 July? The attack on the airport in Scotland. CCTV in those cases are used to find out what happened and didn't prevent it.

I recently saw in the news that the police camera record our number plates as we drive and keep that information - how is this keeping me safe and what is being done with this information. If I have done something wrong fair dues, but come one we need go have a balance as where will it end ? the film 1984 or somewhere very close. People we are walking into a CCTV state, problem is many wont realize until its too late!

There are somethings people have a right to keep private - should CCTV expose your secret?


Just a few thoughts!

Garçon Stupide said...

Thank you Trojan, and I hope we see more of you around here!

As I said previously: you can't dismiss the value of CCTV by saying it din't stop this, or that, happening. Whether it's a deterrant or not is a moot point; however, where it is useful is in "getting the bad guys" afterwards - as the July 21st attacks demonstrated. In the case of de Menendez, London Underground's CCTV footage helped piece together a picture of what happened, and possibly prevented the police from further lying about what really happened. It's worth mentioning that the train stock on which he was shot wasn't at that time equipped with CCTV. What would the outcome of the court case have been if it had been? What would we have seen? There's been a lot of coverage in the media in recent years of violent crimes on buses and trains, and the CCTV images from those crimes must surely deter.

I'd also refer you to possibly the most famous CCTV footage in existence; that horrific image of Jamie Bulger being led away by his killers. Would those boys have been identified if it hadn't been for that footage? And if they hadn't been caught, what might they have done next?

And again, paranoid fantasies of a Nazi/Orwellian state are all very well. But are you really saying you fear them more than Islamic terror? Of course we have to draw a line somewhere. I'm not advocating signing away our civil liberties, but where's the priority? Fighting the government or defending ourselves against mad jihadists?

Trojan Gayle said...

I agree with your views to a point, but I think that we still need to defend our civil liberties. Our fear of extremist whether they are Islamist or otherwise should justify CCTVm I Cards or other method used by the government to protect us. Soon they will be using such devices to tell us what is good for us. The uses of arresting people without charge and holding them for 28 days may seem reasonable but our societies values are based on different principles. Once we start to erode them, those people who are against us will have won.

CCTV can be a great thing and you have illustrated the benefits, we just mustn't get carried away and forget the dangers. What happened in Hitler's Germany, Serbia and Rwanda didn't happen over night - but they happened none the less. Also look the BNP has won seats in the European parliament. Today they may not be a threat to your choice of life, but can you say that tomorrow?

Keep up the good work and challenging peoples perceptions!

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