A Dorset council, Poole Borough Council, is to be investigated by the Information Commissioner to investigat the covert collection of information about individuals under scrutiny. Motives for gathering this information seem to include verifying whether families really live in the catchment areas of particular schools, presumably ones thought by parents capable of providing their children with a decent education, to verifying whether illegal harvesting of cockles and clams by fishermen is taking place. The council justifies the 17 investigations it says it has carried out since 2005 by saying they are authorised under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA).
In a country where, increasingly, citizens are seen as mere 'chattels' of the State this seems increasingly 'normal'; personally I see nothing at all 'normal' about these methods. The Council is elected and paid for by citizens either through their council taxes or grants which central government allocates from the tax revenues it receives (i.e. extorts) from tax-payers around the country - I think these realities need to be forced down the throats, if necessary with sharp sticks, of the bureaucrats and politicians who presume to run our lives in such a high-handed manner!
It is highly-instructive that the Speaker of the House of Commons tried by all means, and at considerable cost to us taxpapers, to thwart the release of information about expenses claims by MPs until forced to do so by the Information Tribunal, so now we have the documentary evidence of just how grasping many of our MPs are. Now our elected reresentatives' latest wheeze is to suggest voting themselves an annual automatic GBP23,000 to defray expenses for second homes, without the need to provide any receipts!
We are regularly told that the justification for increasingly 'Big Brother'-like surveilance of our daily existence is that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear, but it seems that our elected representatives wish this to apply only to the people who elect and pay them, not to themselves or to the apparatus of the State. Enough is enough! I think we citizens need to re-assert our sovereignty over these jumped-up quasi-dictators and ensure they understand that there are limits to what citizens can be expected to tolerate.
I hope Poole Borough Council is severely chastised for its covert information gathering and made to understand it must desist from such tactics in future.