This from the Observer, today:-
“… the Observer has learned that defence firms are working closely with UK armed forces and contemplating a “militarisation” strategy to counter the threat of civil disorder.
The trade group representing the military and security industry says firms are in negotiation with senior officers over possible orders for armoured vehicles, body scanners and better surveillance equipment.
The move coincides with government-backed attempts to introduce the use of unmanned spy drones throughout UK airspace, facilitating an expansion of covert surveillance that could provide intelligence on future demonstrations.
Derek Marshall, of the trade body Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS), said that such drones could eventually replace police helicopters.
He added that military manufacturers had discussed police procurement policies with the government, as forces look to counter an identified threat of civil disobedience from political extremists.”(end)
Welcome to Afghanistan, UK Branch! And this is the government that roundly condemned Labour for undermining civil liberties? Seriously?
And are we seriously being asked to believe that this is in response to last week’s demo/riot (depending on which side you were on). That’s bullshit – I have no doubt that this has been at least on the back burner since the spending cuts were first conceived. As, I strongly suspect, has the question of martial law.
And for the record, I deplore violence and the destruction of property as much as any other person, but as with the Poll Tax Riots, it’s often the only way to make a point with an oppressive government. And please, don’t tell me the answer is in the ballot box – this massively divisive government is quite capable of bringing this country to the brink of civil war way before 2015. Hell, look at the damage they’ve done in 6 months, not just with huge and wide-ranging (but NOT wide-ranging enough – the rich and super-rich, as ever, escape unscathed), cuts, but the dismantling of the health service, which continues apace.
Yes, I know cuts are necessary (just as I know Barclays has just declared a pot of £4bn for pay and bonuses this year, and executive pay, in general, is going through the roof), but the cuts are falling hardest on those least able to sustain them, anyone with half a brain can see that – for the chronically sick and disabled, and the unemployed, this is little short of a pogrom.
The big question is what will happen when (does anyone still think “if”?), civil disorder increases? Cameron, no doubt, has fond memories of Thatcher using the police as her private army to crush the miners. This time, though, the police, too, are under threat in terms of manpower and funding, as are the military, so support there may not be totally unqualified, as civil disorder escalates.
That they should turn on their paymasters is unthinkable – that way lies anarchy and civil war without a doubt, but the police, at least, might be less keen than they would otherwise have been to confront crowds of angry people, the majority of whom will have genuine grievances.
On the other hand, and equally dangerous, is the fact that the police, eager to prove that they’re indispensible and don’t deserve cuts, might over-react (it’s not entirely unknown, now is it – remember G20, “kettling,” and the killing of Ian Tomlinson?), in a futile attempt to make their case.
The next few years seem set to be a turbulent time for this country (the government clearly thinks so, anyway), as Cameron and Clegg, Osborne and Duncan Smith set out to carve their names into the political history of this country.
On present form, they are names that will live in on hatred and loathing and, if there’s any justice at all, ignominy.
Let us hope that they are not also written in blood.