Not Saussure

September 6, 2006

A nation of informers

Filed under: civil liberties, Community, Politics, UK — notsaussure @ 8:47 pm

While American students are encouraged to complain about their professors, we’re being encouraged to complain about each other. I saw recently that

More than 1,600 neighbours have reported each other for breaking hosepipe bans in the South East. It follows water saving measures being imposed across the region in the face of severe drought, and appeals to customers to conserve water. Southern Water, which serves two million customers, said 1,533 had reported people for breaking the ban which was imposed last summer. South East Water, which supplies 1.5 million homes, has taken 100 calls.

BBC NEWS | England | Neighbours report hosepipe users

Doubtless inspired by this, we’re now encouraged to grass up smokers:

A “shop-a-smoker” hotline will be set up to ensure people comply with the smoking ban, the government says.The government said the hotline would go live next summer when the new rules come into force in England, because the ban would be largely self-policing.

People will be able to report their colleagues as well as venues which are flouting the new rules.

BBC NEWS | Politics | Plans for ‘shop a smoker’ hotline

Update:   Charon QC is very sound on how un-British ‘sneaking’ is; ‘Sir, sir, NotSaussure has been smoking behind the bike sheds, sir…’.

And to think this government have the neck to try to teach citizenship.  The sample questions attracted some hilarity, as I recall, when it was revealed that they included advice on what to do if you spill someone’s pint in a pub (buy him another one, it seems, rather than prepare for a punch-up).    Presumably they’re now include the addendum that, if he thanks you and then lights up, you should phone the police forthwith.

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