Russel Winder's Website

Big Brother Cometh - A Return to Medieval Politics?

_ Obviously, by Big Brother I mean George Orwell's character from his book 1984, not the "reality television" show axed last year by Channel 4. _

The English/UK government (a collection of wealthy and privileged people) is intending to sell off the English woodlands (currently in public ownership) to private individuals (a collection of wealthy and privileged people almost certainly with direct personal connections to members of the English/UK government). This is akin to the land ownership strategy of medieval times. The very few people with wealth and power own everything, including the rest of the people, who are told what they may or may not do. Much like the government of Oceania in George Orwell's book 1984.

So are we headed to a world where freedom, personal choice, even democracy (even though that is basically a farcical political system designed to fool most of the people all of the time) are at risk. Sadly it looks like we are already there, we just haven't acknowledged it yet.

A couple of news items to confirm this:

  1. The Egyptian government are clamping down on use of all communications systems, and especially the Internet, by the populace. For authority on this see any news media in recent days.
  2. Sony have won a temporary restraining order in Sony vs George Holt on terms that are actually impossible for George Holtz to comply with, even if he wanted to - cf. this article on Groklaw.

Add to this ongoing things such as:

  • The massive and increasing use of CCTV in all public streets and elsewhere.
  • Apple's autocratic and iron-fisted control on how iPhones and iPads may and may not be used.
  • Oracle's approach to management of how Java evolves and the ecosystem around it, for example the Hudson/Jenkins situation.
  • The whole patent system, especially software patents, and indeed ACTA.
  • The way in which the DCMA in the USA is being used.
  • The RIAA way of treating people. Soon to come to UK shores if the UK government has its way regarding policing of filesharing by ISPs.

To name just a few. In all cases the ruling elite are imposing more and more on what people may and may not do. Criminal behaviour, anti-social behaviour and terrorism mean that this is a very murky area. Public safety is good for the public. It is also good for the ruling elite as it gives them opportunity to go far beyond that which is needful, so that they may enhance their power and wealth, and control more and more things to a greater and greater extent.

Increasingly we are seeing more and more treatment of the public as cattle to be herded rather than humans to be courted. Politicians call them voters in those places where there is any semblance of democracy. Companies call them consumers or sometimes customers. But increasingly these people are having choice removed from them. I guess it is only time before the democratic systems of Russia (such as it is), UK, USA are dismantled thereby allowing the ruling elite to ignore the views of the general public completely (*). Consumer product companies are very close to being there already.

(*) _ Of course this may be better than the self-delusion we have at the moment, where the public think that being a voter given them some sort of power. (A wonderful piece of con-artistry by the ruling elite: being the ruling elite conning is not a crime as it is for the general public.) _

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