Yesterday for me was just a (*collective noun) of paradoxes.
Last week, the puppy chewed up my daughter’s phone. She ordered a new one on line but was not in when UKmail tried to deliver it. She went to their website but there was no option to arrange a re-delivery date. Instead, there was a phone number. She doesn’t have a phone because the dog ate it. So she facebooked me the consignment number and asked me to contact UKmail for her. I duly phoned and waited the prerequisite 25 minutes for an operator (obviously they explained that they were experiencing high traffic volume – there are 2.6m people looking for a job but doubtless my phone call, contributed to their profit margin)
However, in spite of having the consignment number and only wanting to tell them to deliver it on Monday morning, I was not allowed to say anything because of ‘data protection’!
My daughter would have to phone… but my daughter hasn’t got a phone…. UKmail have her phone. Catch 22 and left me wondering how many fraudulent phone calls they get from people with the consignment details?
At the same time, the Guardian revealed that all my emails, facebook messages, telephone conversations etc have been picked up by the US and passed on to GCHQ… In fact, they already know the details of my history with UKmail and my daughter’s phonelessness.
Meanwhile, another daughter had a migraine and Ibuprofen was not working. We had also run out of soluble paracetamol and codeine, which I need for me, but makes my daughter vomit.
So I went to the local chemists, knowing that I’d also have to drive to another one, 4 miles away, because of not being allowed to buy more than 32 tablets containing paracetamol…. Health and Safety legislation.
However, when I tried to buy one of the various over-the-counter migraine tablets that I’ve bought in the past, I found that all the local pharmacists now require a consent form to be filled in first … and you guessed it. My daughter had to fill it in. But my daughter couldn’t go and fill in the form because she had a migraine…..
Presumably, the consent form is to prevent my daughter from suing the pharmacist … However, with the removal of legal aid, they don’t really need to be so worried.
I couldn’t help but wonder where were the consent forms applying to activities of the financial sector … let alone to prevent fracking? Then I remembered – fracking was one of the major reasons why the Tories are restricting Judicial Review.
Furthermore, when it comes to Health and Safety, why aren’t they prosecuting this Tory/LD government for doing nothing to regulate the banks or stop us heading for another financial crash?
Where is Health and Safety when it comes to removing peoples’ benefits; forcing people out of their jobs and homes? What about the massive rise in food banks; the cutting back of social care; or the suggestion that one child minder could safely look after 6 two year olds… ? I could go on.
But to return to my paradoxical day.
When I told my eldest daughter about my frustrations, she said:
“You should have said that the phone/tablets were for you.”
And of course, that is exactly what this government does. It lies!
They know that we do not want the NHS privatized so they say that its safe in their hands and is not being sold off. They pledge not to raise tuition fees. They say that the cuts are necessary because of the last Labour government. They say that its critical that the deficit and the debt must be brought down whilst doing the opposite. They say that people on benefits or unemployed are skivers. They say that the economy is recovering……
But more pertinently, in the current context… the Tories are lying about the need to introduce a ‘Snooper’s bill’.
Why do they need a ‘Snooper’s bill’? The US are already doing the ‘snooping’ for them!
In fact, I was puzzled at the time by the US and the UK voting against the International Telecommunications Union bill to restrict the internet in Dubai last December… not least because of ‘British government’s current draft communications bill which would produce a system of blanket collection and retention of all online data.’
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN organisation that counts 193 countries as its members, aims to add the internet to its existing regulatory roles…. Its goal is to establish government-led “international norms and rules standardising the behaviour of countries concerning information and cyberspace”
The most subversive proposal is the plan to force internet provider companies to monitor data and restrict their services to uses deemed ‘rational’ by the government of that country.’
Brendan Barber, general secretary of the TUC, said “These decisions will have a huge impact on freedoms and the everyday use of the internet [that] people take for granted and most people would be shocked to know that something so major could be happening amongst such secrecy.”
Tribune Magazine November16-29 2012 p.1
Furthermore… one of the worrying aspects of the leaks from TPP documents suggests that a version of SOPA could be introduced by the backdoor, limiting internet freedom and internet privacy rights. It is reasonable to assume that similar attempts will be made to include these in the US-EU Free Trade Agreement that is being rushed through in secret negotiations for 2014.
So why did the US and UK vote against the ITU bill limiting internet freedom?
It may be that the US and UK votes were another ‘lie’, a ‘blind’ for public consumption, thus maintaining the mythology of free speech and democracy… and/or it may be that the US did not want their freedom to snoop restricted by foreign governments. Whatever, the explanation, it is clear that there has been considerable double-speak and a massive invasion of personal privacy. Those who say that they have nothing to hide in being ‘snooped’ upon should think twice about how wise it is to trust governments who do not in any sense ‘play fair’ or transparently.
Furthermore, is it wise to trust a government that constrains ordinary commonsense behaviour by the public, in the name of Data protection/Health and Safety legislation but totally ignores the risks to, and the rights of that population in favour of protecting the freedom of the corporations, finance and the super-rich? Capitalism has always had to find a balance between the accumulation of wealth for the few and the danger of precipitating riots and revolt from the masses. To that end, intrusive surveillance, curtailing access to information, and over-controlling the behaviour of the mass population makes total sense.
There is one set of rules for them and another for us.
Pathetically, I can only hope that the Guardian revelations have given Obama and the Tory/LDs a migraine .. and that they have as much trouble as I did to get painkillers.
*Suggestions for a collective noun for paradoxes from all SORTSA LINGUISTIC EXPERIMENT:
Now I wonder what collective noun I could find for the coalition government….