Why we, the Gypsy, should be concerned
More and more, especially in the UK, we can see that George Orwell’s nightmare that he described in his novel “1984” is fast becoming reality, especially in the UK, though just about two decades later than he predicted and envisaged. We, the Gypsy People, must be especially aware of this. Many of our cities and larger towns are full of cameras to near saturation point and some rural towns too are beginning to have cameras all over the place. Britain is soon becoming the country with the highest number of surveillance cameras per capita and the British people the most watched and monitored people on the planet. This country once was – so it is claimed – the pinnacle of liberty with the Magna Carta and the Bill of Rights (not that either of them were ever really meant for the common people and the villains) but it is fast becoming a police and surveillance state par excellence.
The latest offering now are cameras with loudspeakers thru which the controller somewhere will yell at anyone dropping litter or such.
Big Brother is now not only watching you – now he is barking orders at you too. Britain's first 'talking' CCTV cameras have arrived, publicly berating bad behavior and shaming offenders into acting more responsibly.
The system allows control room operators who spot any anti-social acts – from dropping litter to late-night brawls – to send out a verbal warning: 'We are watching you'.
Middlesbrough has fitted loudspeakers on seven of its 158 cameras in an experiment already being hailed as a success. Jack Bonner, who manages the system, said: 'It is one hell of a deterrent. It's one thing to know that there are CCTV cameras about, but it's quite another when they loudly point out what you have just done wrong.
The Mail on Sunday reports to have watched as a cyclist riding through a pedestrian area was ordered to stop.
'Would the young man on the bike please get off and walk as he is riding in a pedestrian area,' came the command.
The surprised youth stopped, and looked about. A look of horror spread across his face as he realised the voice was referring to him.
He dismounted and wheeled his bike through the crowded streets, as instructed.
Law-abiding shopper Karen Margery, 40, was shocked to hear the speakers spring into action as she walked past them.
Afterwards she said: 'It's quite scary to realise that your every move could be monitored - it really is like Big Brother.
Well, whatever next? Give your child a telling off in public and they will yell at you and the CPS will arrive on scene within second? It would not surprise me one iota.
This is something that we, the Romani-Gypsy, also must beware of for it also would not surprise me should suddenly CCTV cameras, the small covert ones that are now already mounted on traffic lights and many lampposts, arrive around the official Gypsy Caravan Sites; more than likely with the excuse to make it more secure and protect the residents. Well, maybe someone could do something about the squadron of pigs that keep hovering above my house.
© M V Smith, September 19, 2006