The Curmudgeon


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Commercialitisational Constrictifiability, Protestabilitisational Permissifatality

The Government's Department for the Protection of White Elephants drew up a law three years ago in order to protect the sacred amateur status of the Olympics, thus ensuring that market forces do not unduly obtrude themselves and distract from the xenophobia. Civil rights campaigners, and even the shadow home secretary, have now noticed that the Act of Parliament bans advertising, particularly advertising of the non-profiteering sort; and, in case that seems a little too particular, "announcements or notices of any kind". Constables or "enforcement officers" hired by the rather ballistically-named Olympic Delivery Authority are empowered to "enter land or premises" where they find it convenient to believe that announcements or notices of any kind are being shown or produced, and to use "reasonable force" in seeking out and destroying the offending material.

A spokesbeing for the Department of Cultchah, Downdumbing and England Crash Out said that the provisions were meant to "prevent ambush marketing - not prevent or restrict lawful protests", and of course the Government's record on preventing marketing, as opposed to preventing or restricting lawful protest, speaks for itself. A senior security spokesbeing said that the powers would not be used to suppress protests since, as we all know, police and enforcement officers would never dream of restricting freedom of speech just because an Act of Parliament allows them to. The assistant commissioner of the Pallid Pachyderm Patrol said: "We are not going into people's houses to stop people protesting", which presumably means that the home front of the war on announcements and notices of any kind will be defended by the appointed enforcers of the Olympic Delivery Authority. By 2012, with a bit of luck, such people will also be empowered to make arrests, impose on-the-spot ASBOs and fines, and detain anyone within five miles of a computer printer for up to ninety days without charge.

Evidently concerned about the possibility of yet more New New Labour policy poaching, the shadow Minister of Snoopery, Chris Graybeing, said that "neither the police nor any other official should be invading people's homes for what appear to be commercial reasons" until after the Conservatives have won the general election. Graybeing also claimed that the Government "just doesn't understand civil liberties", which is probably doing the Government an injustice. The word liberties has three syllables, so it is almost certainly beyond the comprehension of such ex-luminaries as Agent Smith, John Reid, Geoff Hoon and Hazel Blears; but there are plenty of others yet to be disgraced who are perfectly capable of understanding civil liberties. They just don't like them very much.


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