Sunday, October 16, 2005

Hysteria on the Airwaves

I heard the most bizarre thing on Any Answers yesterday (Sat 15th). Someone claiming to be a police officer and using a pseudonym started giving his opinion on the proposed anti-terror laws. Here's a sort of summary (it's about 19 mins in if you want to listen to it):

He has a problem with something he calls the "Rights Industry" or the "Civil Rights Industry". There are certain commercial interests involved apparently but that's not the main point he wishes to make. He is concerned that the argument is being "swamped by emotion, almost hysteria" and not really finding solutions. This is because the "Rights Industy" has accused the government of using the spectre of terrorism to frighten the public while at the same time using the spectre of a police state to frighten the public themselves.

But, he says, the spectre of terrorism is not a spectre. Public information will reveal hundreds or thousands of attacks, with thousands of victims and tens of thousands of injured people. Instead of facing this terrible situation, emotion and hysteria are driving the "Rights Industry" and the government apart. He then uses the dead bodies of the victims of the 7th July attacks to justify the new powers the police are looking for.

It really is one of the most disturbing things I've heard for quite a while. I do hope this man is not really a police officer. The "Rights Industry" he says. Dimbleby interupts to suggest that this label sounds disparaging and that perhaps he doesn't mean it that way. But no, the caller makes clear it is intended to sound just as it does. Then he accuses others of creating hysteria before launching into a astonishingly hysterical account of the dangers of terrorism. Thousands of terrorist attacks you say? In the UK? No, of course not. Let's not get hysterical...

It's just plain weird. It made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I wonder if anyone else has listened to it? I'd be interested to hear opinions on his contribution.

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