Today I became aware of a month old article in the Guardian:
What should you do if you discover an anarchist living next door? …. [T]he answer, according to an official counter-terrorism notice circulated in London last week, is that you must report them to police immediately.
This was the surprising injunction from the Metropolitan Police issued to businesses and members of the public in Westminster last week. There was no warning about other political groups, but next to an image of the anarchist emblem, the City of Westminster police’s “counter terrorist focus desk” called for anti-anarchist whistleblowers stating: “Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police.”
I am truly appalled. This is not the way we do things in the United Kingdom but the way they do things in fascistic and Communist countries. One would expect the notorious Stasi agents in the Communist run East Germany to have held files on members of the population noting their political preferences. Moreover, nobody should be surprised if any country that championed the Bolsheviks under Lenin murdered anarchists because, after all, they have a precedent. But despite what authoritarians and totalitarians of the left and right think is desirable, reporting someone to the police because they have a copy of Pierre Joseph Proudhon’s What is Property? on their bookshelf is not the way we do things in this country.
We are a nation where people are free to have differing political views. We are not a nation where the thin end of the wedge is that anarchists are reported to the police and the thick edge is that anyone is reported to the police and perhaps jailed or even executed for having differing political views to the ruling party. It seems to me that the reason the police are resorting to such methods is to disguise their manifest incompetence at real policing.
Hat Tip: Garden Mole.