Saturday, January 30, 2016

Big Brother in a Northamptonshire park

I came across this notice in a park in sunny Rothwell this morning. How long have the authorities felt themselves free to use such totalitarian imagery?

When I was a child I acquired the idea that not having to have an identity card was part of our reward for winning the war. As a teenager it seemed almost a moral duty to read Nineteen Eight-Four to learn about the sort of society Britain Was Not Like.

Today we have lost this instinct for defining ourselves by contrasting Britain with tyrannies. The Soviet Union has gone, while drawing parallels with Nazi Germany makes the cool kids laugh at you. Godwin's law and all that.

Note too the subject matter of this notice. Have a million Focus leaflets demanding that councils do something about minor nuisances brought us to this? Must Liberals and Liberal Democrats bear a share of the blame?

Whatever the reason, we have won the victory over ourselves. We love Big Brother


Phil Beesley said...

"When I was a child I acquired the idea that not having to have an identity card was part of our reward for winning the war."

It is forgotten that Britain survived WWII by introducing ID cards, a necessity perhaps, in a bunch of islands packed with neighbours from Poland, France, Holland, Denmark, Germany etc. Some things went badly wrong -- internment of foreign nationals -- and I'd be interested to learn how ID cards worked in practice.

Food rationing rules after the war imposed ID checks, so it was not until 1954 that you could live as an ID-free man or woman.
Dog mess and the people who leave it behind? Some people respond to polite requests. Others won't, no matter how much you ask verbally or visually. You -- and the state -- have to accept limitations. Focus leaflets are not about solving every problem, but about listening and getting a handle on serious problems affecting individuals or communities. It means leaving a few dog piles in the grass.
Perhaps one should respect graphic designers and marketing managers generally. The ones at Kettering Borough Council made big mistakes, and others in the same jobs would be appalled. We read hundreds of signs and notices every day, few of which annoy or offend us. We are more likely to prickle at passive-aggressive notes or officious signs written by people like us.

Jonathan Calder said...

Clarence Harry Willcock, 7 December 1950: “I am a Liberal, and I am against this sort of thing.”

Lord Bonkers calls him Clarence 'Frogman' Willcock, but I can find no source to support that.

Martin Brookes said...

Here in Rutland we have Joyce, she deals bad dog owners