Depending on where you are in the world the answer could be a simple yes…
But, I’m thinking you may just be jumping to a conclusion here. I’m not talking about the American accents (although there was this time I was stuck on a train just outside Lille on a Eurostar train for several hours and in a nearby seat was this New Yorker with a very loud and brash accent…..), or their annoying laziness in their use on the English language (like they can’t even spell colour)… or the fact they usually are very ignorant about the rest of the world (or even the other side of their own country)
No, I am in fact referring to this weekend and on October 26th, it is the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA Patriot Act. StopWatching.us is a coalition of more than 100 public advocacy organisations and companies from across the political spectrum and they are holding a rally in Washington D.C. and other events which started yesterday and then run untill Monday. All of which are being held to protest against NSA surveillance.
On December 16th, 1773, a John Adams and other members of the Sons of Liberty held a small protest, by destroying some Tea in Boston. Part of the outcry against “no taxation without representation”, since colonist interests were not being represented in British Parliament. This is contrary to the Bill of Rights of 1689 which established that long-term taxes could not be levied without Parliament, and other precedents said that Parliament had to actually represent the people it ruled over, in order to “count”.
On a side note here… But, since we have a ‘first past the post ‘ system in the UK, is it not against the Bill of Rights of 1689 not to have some sort of proportional representation? After all, if a percentage of the population agree with say The UK Pirate Party. Yet there is no representation in UK Parliament of these people, then in effect are those people not in the same league as the colonists of 1773 – Being taxed by Parliament without any representation?
Anyway back to the other side of the pond….
Hundreds of thousands of people have spoken out since the major NSA leaks began this June. With more than 560,000 people taking part in action at StopWatching.Us by signing a petition to the U.S. Congress. Dozens of members of Congress have introduced bills aimed at reining in the NSA, and hundreds of organizations and companies are uniting to end the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance. They are hoping the rally will be the biggest for privacy in the U.S.
The other side of the English Channel, Merkel and Hollande call for talks with US by end of year over the NSA listening affair, yet in the UK there seems to be little political movement over the whole thing, Stephen Fry being a leading voice with free speech groups and other high-profile authors and artists being far more vocal than the politicians, perhaps this is because of the UK’s own GCHQ’s Tempora programme…..
Perhaps, it is because the M.P.s might be concerned about how much GCHQ and the NSA know about their own expenses, after all they are after a 11% pay rise on their salaries. Initially the pay rise was meant to come with the scrapping of their beloved open cheque book expenses, since they use expenses to pay for everything from their daily meals, travel, expenses for second homes, duck ponds, moats etc. but now they are demanding the pay rise whilst keeping their expenses intact.
In the UK there has been an amazing lack of concern given what Snowden has revealed. Perhaps, this is down to the general English attitude…. We don’t protect our rights or think about them in general, just look back at the events at a little known place Radstock, Somerset only this year.
Where? Why? Well, earlier this year, the town council voted against being able to fly the flag of St George because of its links to the Crusades. Now the Crusades were only a mere 722 years ago, and there are only 16 Muslims within the town’s population of 5,620, but the labour council decided it best not to offend any Muslims.
Perhaps it is the general apathy of the English these days since as I type this only 6860 people have gone on-line to the site change.org to petition the government to stop mass surveillance.
(repost from Oct 25th, 2013)