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O tempora, o mores!

Courtesy of wonk group the NLGN (headed by a former Labour MP), I have discovered anew quite how many sick punishment freaks lurk among an unsuspecting British populace.

It asked this question:

Please indicate which of the following possible directed surveillance methods your local council would be justified in using as a means of dealing with the following issues?

Now have a look at the chart below. Go on, double click on it, it is worth it.



That the public thinks covert video surveillance is appropriate for dealing with terrorism is not entirely surprising, although given that most councils seem to struggle with gritting the roads, emptying bins and so on, the idea that they would be able to do anything especially useful with film footage, even if the suspects were strolling around with a black spheres marked 'bomb', stretches credulity. It gets worse, however, as Joe and Josie Public think that theft, drug dealing and dangerous driving are more worthy of video surveillance than keeping an eye on those pesky Methodist suicide bombers. This, I fear is only par for the course, as are the majorities who want to point hidden cameras at fly-tippers, and get this, folk who allow their canine charges to leave their calling cards in the street.

Unnerving though that is, folk were also offered the possibility of having their councils tap phones and read one's e-mail. Majorities support that for organised crime and terrorism, and - as God is my witness, I am *not* making this up - around 10% are in favour of the Man (and Woman) at the council offices tapping phones and reading e-mail to see if school catchment rules are being broken.

However, it gets madder yet. There are people in favour of those same powers to combat the Four Horsemen that are, ahem, dog fouling, fly-tipping, illegal street trading and illegal parking.

Imagine, if you will, the conversation they might be listening in on:

"''Ere, Dave, I'm taking Fang out for a walk later. Do you want to bring Rex along, so we can synchronise their dumps right outside Mrs Miggin's house at number 32?"

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