Britain is now to all intents and purposes a 'Police State'; it is not a grim reality for the future. It is here and now.
Why do I write this? Well, as from yesterday (16 February 2009 - 'a date which will go down in infamy', as the US President said when apprised of the surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941) you are open to criminal charges under the Counter Terrorism Act 2008 if you 'attempt to solicit' the name or address of a serving or former police office, or photograph them. Naturally there is absolutely no provision in that Act to limit police powers to photograph ordinary citizens. I have written before about this iniquitous legislation here and here.
Even this is not the worst part of this legislation worthy of a Fascist state! As the second linked article above makes clear, the new Act permits in addition that agents of the State may use official burglars or undercover agents to steal property in an effort covertly to sample your DNA or fingerprints.
As the illegal killing of the innocent Brazilian Jean-Charles de Menezes has demonstrated, the police can kill an innocent person in our capital city, lie about it, and not be held to account or anyone punished for the crime. If this were to happen to someone you know and love how would you react? Well tough, this is Police State Britain and there is probably very little you could do to obtain justice, any more than could the family of Mr de Menezes.
Quite apart from sending our economy down the tubes, our Labour Government has undone centuries of struggle to obtain protection for the citizen against the capricious powers of an over-weening State. I hope those who voted Labour in 1997, 2001 and 2005 are proud of what they have achieved. I hope that the electorate will not make the same mistake at the next general election. It will require determination on all our parts to ensure that a future government repeals or amends much of the legislation which now forms the foundations of Labour's Police State - it is unlikely to be done voluntarily.