Britain, the land that “sleepwalking into the surveillance state” was coined for, continues its somnambulistic randomwalk into a privacy-free zone. Recently, without any public discussion or debate, some rail stations have started adding airport-style body-scanners:
We seem to have swallowed the security nightmare of airports without much fuss. Someone uttered the magic words “international terrorism” and we accepted (in traditional British manner: grumbling passivity) that we must now queue for several hours, remove shoes and belts, pick up a few verrucas from the airport floor, submit to any indignity suggested and abandon all hope of travelling with hand luggage only because shampoo and toothpaste have suddenly turned fatal: if we don’t surrender them at check-in and wait four hours to pick them up at the other end, PEOPLE WILL DIE.
Fine. I never liked flying anyway. But if that’s now going to happen at railway stations and on ordinary streets, delaying and degrading us without even a holiday at the end of it, should we not have a little chat first? Just to make sure this isn’t a massive assault on our civil liberty?
I’m not saying anyone currently intends us to live in a totalitarian state, but Lord knows they’re making it easy for somebody to slip one into place later on. I don’t currently intend to get fit, but putting a tracksuit in the wardrobe certainly increases the risk that I might find myself squat-thrusting a few years from now.