There are days when I'm glad I live in the future, and days when it sucks. A recent news item gave a glimpse of quite how much it sucks, but I'm quite happy with it, because I no longer live in Britain, previously the country of No Future, but where they now appear to having more future than most.
Britain seems to be run by people who think Nineteen Eighty-Four not only depicts a utopia, but is also a handy do-it-yourself manual. The same people appear to have had their chromosomes warped by in-utero exposure to The Goons, with the result that zany and horrifying Spike Milligan sketch-style initiatives embed themselves into British external reality with dreadful regularity.
A recent example of this was Middlesborough's recent proposal to install video cameras in public places personned by professional busybodies who will detect when someone is doing something anti-social (such as littering). But that's not all! The cameras will then harangue the hapless British subject in a child's voice. I'll say that again. The cameras will call the person out in public, using the voice of a child.
This might have been jaw-dropping in THX 1138, or remarkable in the underground dystopia of A Boy and His Dog, but this is reality. Luckily for me, I escaped the whole sorry country and I have the distance to think it's funny.
What's even funnier was the first news story about a case of mistaken identity, a woman shouted at by for an offence she did not commit. In this case, as far as I can tell, she was yelled at by faceless bureaucrats at City Hall, rather than a recorded child. That would be even more chilling, if I lived there.
Her comments are priceless, and very British.
"Ms Brewster said yesterday: "We were in the town centre and I'd got some chips at McDonald's for my daughter Ellie, but they were hot so I tipped them into a box and crumpled the packet up."
"I put it on the bottom of Ellie's pram to take home but then heard this voice say: 'Please place the rubbish in the bin provided'."
"I still think the cameras are a good idea, but I have to say when you haven't done anything wrong it's annoying to appear like this."
The Sky News article includes comments from readers. Here's one of them.
"For the small minded people…….YOU are already being monitored everyday be it through store cards, credit cards, loyalty card transactions, telephone conversations e-mails text messages etc. You are being watched anyway so what does it matter if speakers are attached to a Camara. Does it affect you if you are not understaking a criminal activity. I think NOT."
Well, that's enough evidence for me. If the Illiterati are in favor of them, u shud b 2!!eleven1
In the meantime, here's a Spike Milligan sketch that I predict is next on the list for the British Government to implement.