Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Domestic Extremist - The New ASBO Badge of Honour?

For many of us, the existence of a police surveillance database, highlighted in the Guardian this week, is hardly news at all: I remember hearing details about it from FITwatch at a meeting in April.

Still, it's rather less reassuring that the best Home Secretary Alan Johnston can offer to reassure potential protesters is "the police know what they are doing, they know how to tackle these demonstrations, they do it very effectively."

Good grief, why on earth bother asking the Inspectorate of Constabulary to go to all that trouble to conduct a review of public order policing then? Tell me, Alan, that it wasn't all a public relations exercise?

Rather in the way that ASBOs became something of a 'badge of honour' amongst some inner-city 'yoot', I suspect that 'domestic extremist' - a category so broad that it can encompass almost anyone who believes protest involves more than a stroll from Hyde Park to Trafalgar Square - will become a source of pride for many of us too. So much so that I've added a badge to this blog (see right panel) in the hope that that I haven't been a rubbish activist recently and therefore inadvertently missed out.

I pray, however, that if the National Public Order Intelligence Unit has a picture (as at least one person has jokingly suggested) then I'm looking as breezy and cheerful as at least some of those on the now notorious spotter cards. Clearly protesting can be fun (until, that is, you're targeted by the police).

As an aside, this dangerous extremist responsible for the quote above was in Oxford in July - making him a suitable candidate for labelling as... what? A visiting "domestic extremist"? If the police want more information to add to their surveillance database, they need to know that the neutrality of the article about him on Wikipedia is disputed.

For accuracy's sake, you understand...

1 Comment:

HarpyMarx said...

Brilliant badge of honour! I have to link to it. T-shirts and badges next on the list.....

Great post btw. Acpo has so much information at its fingertips yet what they do is confidential. They watch us. We can’t watch them. No accountability or transparency in this ever decreasing democracy.

Acpo has no single definition (no surprise there…) of extremism.
It's criminalising dissent along with eroding basic civil liberties and rights.

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