Living in a police state?


Speaking at an ASI event earlier this year, David Davis posed an interesting question: "How do you know you are in a police state?" It is becoming an increasingly pertinent point. Accepting that we are not in a police state, at what point does it become one?

Of course, it is a question of semantics and one that may be a matter of opinion. Yet increasingly, perfectly sane and respectable people are using the term 'police state', a point of view that I am starting to have increasing sympathy with.

Living in London I would have imagined that it is a largely metropolitan dilemma; one that the shires would have escaped from. Yet reading the indomitable Henry Porter brings to our attention this case in Chatham High Street. The worrying trend of the state keeping increasing tabs on us, while we can’t even take a photo in public is profoundly worrying.

The slope is slippery and we must be watchful. The machinery for a totalitarian state must not be in the hands of even a benign power. As Andrew Porter states: "What is needed now is clear statement from the home secretary on the rights of photographers and the limits of police surveillance". It would be interesting to know where Alan Johnson and Chris Grayling stand on the matter.