In May I will have been at the TPA for a year. In that year, I have not seen anything as disgraceful as in today’s Daily Mail. Poole Council used legislation, written and sold to us on the idea it would help track terrorists, to spy on a family they suspected of living outside a school catchment area.
The Regulation of Investigative Powers Act 2000 was introduced on the grounds that it would boost national security. Poole Council, being a creative sort, went well over their remit by using the powers to snoop on families. They monitored this unnamed family for three weeks, with intentions to stop them sending their children to a good school if they lived outside the catchment area.
In an almost comical scene, the Mail describes how council officers wrote reports as if they were in a cheap Spooks rip-off. On your buck, council hatchetmen kept detailed notes, going as far as to record when the lights were on in the family home. To add insult to injury, we don’t even know how long Poole Council will keep the family’s information and what they will use it for.
This time it was Poole Council spying on people to see they send their children to the ‘right’ school. What will they use it on next? But clearly this is a worrying trend. East Hampshire Council announced this week they will be phoning people who leave ‘too much’ rubbish outside to ask them why, what are they throwing away, etc. Basildon Council sent bureaucrats up and down streets to go through people’s rubbish to see if any recyclable goods were being thrown away. Inch by inch these Town Hall bureaucrats are invading our private lives - and we're paying for it year after year in ever-increasing Council Tax.
Someone has to carry the can for this gross invasion of privacy. Please contact Poole’s Councillors to ask them to investigate this obscene breach of privacy. Here are the contact details:
Cllr Peter Adams - email@example.com
Cllr Jeff Allen - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Elaine Atkinson - email@example.com
Cllr Michael Brooke - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr David Brown - email@example.com
Cllr Chris Bulteel - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Les Buden - email@example.com
Cllr Judy Butt - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Graham Chandler - email@example.com
Cllr Brian Clements - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Donald Collier - email@example.com
Cllr Graham Curtis - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Carole Deas - email@example.com
Cllr Xena Dion - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Philip Eades - email@example.com
Cllr Carol Evans - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr David Gillard - email@example.com
Cllr Roger Gregory - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr May Haines - email@example.com
Cllr Joyce Lavender - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Brian Leverett - email@example.com
Cllr Daphne Long - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Peter Maiden - email@example.com
Cllr Daniel Martin - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Graham Mason - email@example.com
Cllr Christopher Matthews - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Charles Meachin - email@example.com
Cllr Guy Montrose - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Sandra Moore - email@example.com
Cllr Ron Parker - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Michael Plummer - email@example.com
Cllr John Rampton - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Neil Sorton - email@example.com
Cllr Ann Stribley - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Tony Trent - email@example.com
Cllr Janet Walton - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Mike White - email@example.com
Cllr Michael Wilkins - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Graham Wilson - email@example.com
Cllr Lindsay Wilson - firstname.lastname@example.org
Cllr Tony Woodcock - email@example.com
Do please contact these councillors and ask them who is responsible for issuing the orders that sent council bureaucrats to spy on people. Ask them how many times since 2000 the RIPA has been used to spy on people. It’s also worthwhile that you ask your council whether they have been spying on you like Poole Council has.
Finally, as a philosophical note, this debacle reminded me of this famous quote from Proudhon:
“"To be GOVERNED is to be watched, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, regulated, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, checked, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right nor the wisdom nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction noted, registered, counted, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, prevented, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, drilled, fleeced, exploited, monopolized, extorted from, squeezed, hoaxed, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, vilified, harassed, hunted down, abused, clubbed, disarmed, bound, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, derided, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality."
- P. J. Proudhon, General Idea of Revolution in the Nineteenth Century
I'm starting to think he had a point...