If this morning's Times is correct then we about to see yet another tiny step forward in our ever increasing sleepwalk into an Orwellian state. According to their front page story, there are plans, as part of information sharing across Whitehall for local authority official to be issued guidelines about report people to the Police who they suspect might commit an offence.
It's a cliche to talk about the Thought Police, but at some point the dark dystopian fictional world of Airstrip One in 1984 will become a reality for us all without, so it seems, many of us seeing it coming. There is something scarily Stasi-esque about building a society where people are encouraged to report other people to the Police because they "think" they're a bit dodgy.
With the rise of doublespeak, or what is commonly known as "political correctness", we have already begun the journey of reshaping our language along those lines which fit an orthodoxy of "acceptability". We have outlaw3ed the use of certain words, and in some cases in fact, simple using them could already see you arrested.
To be arrested for speaking your mind, is to be arrested for thinking. And being arrested for thinking can only ever be called Thought Crime. Now with these new plans, should they come to fruition, we will not only have our thought limited through what we say, but we could potentially see our action limited but what someone thinks we might do based upon what we say.
The supporters of such changes will, as ever, argue for them on the basis of their supposed "benefit". The cultural questions about the metamorphosis of language and the introduction of orthodoxy, along with the political arguments about the pervasive nature of the state apparatus will be dismissed as mere paranoia. "Do you really think [insert politician here] would use it in that way?" will be the argument. The response should be straight forward as this.
It is not relevant whether we think a particularly politician or Government might use such changes in a negative way. What is relevant is that we cannot guarantee that someone with the desire to use such change will not find a way of seizing power. I don't deny that I might sound melodramatic, however the assault on language, thought and these changes to the apparatus of state power that are going on really aren't something we should simply shrug off.