Jailed for swearing: what next in our authoritarian police state?


Tweets are coming in from Manchester police listing the sentences given to those who took part in the riots. People are being jailed for swearing at police. Yes, prison. For swearing. Not assault, not criminal damage, not theft. Swearing. For fuck’s sake.

This is reminding me of the court lists from 150 years ago when people were given life sentences or transported to Australia by the boatload for petty theft.

If swearing is now an imprisonable offence, the days can’t be far off when you can be sent down for shouting, talking a bit too loudly, being boring in public or wearing offensively unfashionable clothes.

Meanwhile, we’re being told the government wants to stop rioters from accessing social media. Makes me wonder, if the government can censor your social media use for rioting today, could they could censor it for armchair dissent tomorrow?

If they can force journalists to hand over photos of protests today, can we expect we will all be spying on each other tomorrow?

If it’s OK for the police to beat you for riding a bicycle today, what can speeding drivers expect tomorrow?

If you can be evicted from your home for unacceptable or illegal behaviour, does that mean the tax dodgers and expenses fiddlers will also be looking for a new place to live?

What’s next? That’s the question everyone should be asking, ‘cause tomorrow it could be you.

Pic credit: Worradmu, http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2026

One thought on “Jailed for swearing: what next in our authoritarian police state?

  1. RachBroady (@RachelBroady) says:

    “If you can be evicted from your home for unacceptable or illegal behaviour, does that mean the tax dodgers and expenses fiddlers will also be looking for a new place to live?” sums up the debate around this nasty, vengeful reaction and calls to evict council tenants after the riots. Sadly, the knee-jerk reaction of the Guardian-reading liberals turning into Daily Mail readers as they fear their property being damaged is no surprise. As Malcolm X said, “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

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