Friday, April 17, 2009

The Kettle Tactic

Mark Reed: "The official version is that every thing that is done is done to keep us safe. Not to control."

The smiley face, the blood stain, the badge. It was everywhere. “Who watches the Watchmen?”

And even though the film came out, and the comic has been legend since the summer of “Meat is Murder”, it has never been more pertinent.

Even now, eight years after September 11th – possibly the defining incident of our generation – our media, the obselete print network, and an antiquated government that has introduced over 1,000 new laws since 1997, has been obsessed. Obsessed with terrorists, an invisible enemy, and obsessed with ensuring that all of us are monitored and treated as if we are all guilty to be proven innocent.

I understand. So it may never happen again. By any means necessary. Or, as Nixon put it - “It's not illegal if the President does it”.

We live in an age where the average Londoner has a new security camera trained on him about 300 times a day. Security cameras in your trains, our buses, our workplaces, our streets. There is no way we live our lives in privacy anymore.

Not that I've ever seen the benefit in any great way in security cameras. Cameras just watch. I've never seen a hit squad of coppers intervene because they saw a fight on CCTV. Cameras watch silently our lives and our deaths, impassive glass eyes.

Because if The Establishment – a phrase coined by noted historian A J P Taylor, by the way – can watch us, it's for our own good. We don't know what's best for us, and we're too stupid to know any better.

History is written by the victors, and the official version is that every thing that is done is done to keep us safe. Not to control. Our emails are kept for a year, no matter what they are. (with 2 million emails sent a second in the world, that's a shitload of spam and love notes).

But if we want to watch The Establishment, every image we take could be of use to terrorists. And therefore, it is illegal. All a policeman has to do is say that we could be taking photographs of policemen so we could murder them, and then it is illegal to take pictures of policemen.

It's illegal to photograph a policemen with removed ID flashes, breaking the law, hitting a woman with a baton several times.

It's illegal to video a policeman hiding behind a riot shield, smashing a man to the floor just for walking near him. It's illegal to record these things. Lock up these terrorists!

But it's legal for a policeman to remove his ID, and assault the general public. It's legal because none of the officers around him stopped him: they saw a crime being perpetrated, and they did nothing. And the police, the Government, all forget the central tenement of everything they do. It is with our consent.

But We do not consent.

We do not consent to 'The Kettle Tactic' of illegal imprisonment of thousands of people in confined spaces without sanitation and food.

We do not consent to being bullied and assualted by anonymous liars who only tell the most spartan of facts when they realise that they were being filmed and cannot sustain a barefaced lie.

We do not consent to anti-terror legislation being perverted to allow councils to look in your bins and aim CCTV at your rubbish to see if you put a plastic bottle in the wrong box.

What do we want?

We don't want inquests. We want prosecutions. We want the lens of scrutiny to be held up to the executors of our laws and for them also to be subject to the same rule as the rest of us. We want justice.

And when we say justice, we mean: equality, fairness. Those who uphold the law to be answerable to the laws.

We want the men who hide behind uniforms who strike men and women with batons and imprison thousands in 'The Kettle' prosecuted. We want the people who were guilty of gross incompetence at Hillsborough to be held to account. We are sick and tired of 'inquests'. Sick and tired of whitewashes, and investigations made by internal parties, fuelled by people with one eye on their careers and appeasing distant powers that be.

We don't want an inquest to be held behind closed doors. We want inquests about corporate malfeasance and malpractice, about police abuse, about David Kelly and the G20 deaths and assualts to be held by open, independent investigators.

All of us know the phrase 'Judge, jury, and Executioner'. We all know that at the moment the inquests that happen do so where people and civil servants are accountable to themselves, not others, and cannot be judged impartially by their peers.

It is time the Government established a Public Investigation Office: a Department that exists solely to hold the Civil Servants, the Police, the Military to account within the full force of the law. For if they want us to obey their laws, they have to obey the laws themselves.

David Kelly warned of “many dark actors playing games": these dark actors have many faces, and one of which is the inevitable corruption that arises when one is only accountable to oneself – there is no restraint when you have no accountability.

We consent to the civil servants of this country being held accountable to the laws that govern the rest of us. No one is above the law.

We want the police to do their job: "If anyone wants to come to London to engage in crime or disorder, they will be met with a swift and efficient policing response" said Commander Simon O'Brien of The Metropolitan Police.

And we don't want the Police to be liars. After all, Perjury - the deliberate act of deception and lying - is still a crime. And no one should ever be above the law.

See also: Police delete London tourists' photos.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"kettle the met" is a light hearted protest at police tactics – just send them your old kettle!

also sign the petition on


Sir Paul Stephenson is due to attend a public Metropolitan Police Authority meeting at City Hall on April 30th. This meeting is open to the public We could even surround the building - which is round - and kettle him in - KETTLE SIR PAUL STEPHENSON APRIL 30TH