So, this year's Climate Camp is on Blackheath common in south-east London, the same common on which Wat Tyler gathered his army of poll tax rebels before marching on London in 1381. The police are apparently keeping a fairly low-key presence and letting the campers get on with it, though it remains to be seen how long this gentle "community policing" approach lasts once property interests are threatened as part of the direct action that's being planned. As expected, the Met's surveillance units are a lurking presence. A cherry picker has been erected in the middle of the camp with spot lights and cameras mounted on it (follow the link for a picture) with the feed apparently being monitored from nearby. In addition, FIT officers have a covert new piece of technology to aid them in their task of filming peaceful protesters, sorry, "domestic extremists". Several of the officers, who usually wear high-vis jackets and carry cameras, had small badge-sized CCTV cameras attached to their jackets (see this pic by Marc Valee). When I saw this I was going to make a sarcastic comment along the lines of "what kind of 'community' has this level of surveillance?" until I paused to think: in New Labour's Britain the answer is "Almost all of them!"
Guy Aitchison 27 August 2009
About the author
Guy Aitchison is co-editor of openDemocracy's UK blog, OurKingdom, and a PhD student in politics at UCL.
Great Charter Convention
Liberalism in neo-liberal times
OK is reading
- Legal qualification? Ministerial Code good enough, says lord chancellor | News | Law Society Gazette
- Serco-run immigration centre turned blind eye to corruption, court told | UK news | The Guardian
- Judge says Chris Grayling gave 'misleading' guidance on rights to legal aid at inquests - Home News - UK - The Independent
- Joshua Rozenberg resigned Telegraph post after editors sexed up human rights story | UK Human Rights Blog
- Sir Robert Francis’s Review of Whistleblowing Processes in the NHS – Joanna Glynn QC | UK Human Rights Blog