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I’ve blogged quite a bit (and perhaps annoyingly to others) about my concerns about how the UK is starting to become a Big Brother nation.  I’ve spoken to British citizens about this subject and they share my concern. 

However, there are also a number of Britishers who think I’m being an alarmist nut.  And then there are those (not necessarily British) who believe that the post 9/11 environment justifies the types of degradation of our civil liberties that we’re seeing not only in the UK, but in the US as well.

So this happy subject brings me to a disturbing blog post by a Londoner, about a critical comment made recently about a subway security system, which resulted in a fine of £80.

My friend Phil and I were going through a metal detector on the way out of Highbury & Islington tube on Friday evening around 8.30pm, on our way to a gig. Phil, who has a degree in physics, said to me in a low voice that the metal detector was a “piece of shit that wouldn’t stop anyone”. Obviously, someone was listening, as all of a sudden, half a dozen policemen jumped on him and hustled him over to the corner of the tube station, where he was detained for about 20 minutes for the grave crime of swearing in public, and fined £80 for the privilege. For swearing! On the tube! If it’s such a crime, then I owe them about a million pounds, as swearing on and at the tube is the only way to deal with the pain of having to travel on the dratted thing every day.

Link here via BoingBoing.

Freedom being our most precious right, let us not abdicate our civil liberties in the name of protection against real or imagined outside threats.


Alex Eckelberry