Sunday, 14 March 2010

The Creeper.

By the time I learned to drive, seat belts were already fitted to all cars and we were expected to wear them. I didn't even notice the Creeper in action there because it was already well advanced. Seat belt wearing became compulsory just after I passed my test and before I could afford a car and anyway, I was taught to wear one by the driving instructor and didn't give it a second's thought.

I can't remember if my first car had seat belts in the back but I don't think it did. it was a Mk 2 Cortina which cost me £75 and it didn't always have seats in the back, never mind seatbelts. In those days it could pass an MOT even though I'd taken up the carpets and pulled all the plugs out of the floor because the door seals leaked. If it was still alive now, it would cost me more to scrap it than I'd paid for it.

Anyway, I only really experienced the tail end of that creeper. I remember the introduction of compulsory seat belts in the back and the fines for not wearing them and I remember laughing at seat belts on a bus that was big enough to plough straight through anything that might be in the way. Those belts are not yet compulsory, and there are no seat belts on trains, so that creeper might still be edging forward.

It was when I read this over at Devil's Kitchen that an old memory surfaced. Especially when I reached this link.

It's a very old memory, of a time when we children were unrestrained in the back seat other than by the threat of the car stopping for the administration of the old-style 'don't do that' lesson that really worked. My father was not one for reasoning with children. He rarely hit us but then he was of a size and shape that meant he rarely needed to. He just had to look as though he might.

He had just fitted shiny new seatbelts to, if I remember correctly, a Ford Corsair which looked to us kids like some kind of space machine. At the start of the next trip, my mother immediately asked him why he wasn't wearing the shiny new gadget. His answer -

"You have to have them, but you don't have to wear the bloody things."

He had fitted them not because he wanted them but because the law stated he had to fit them. He didn't fit rear seat ones and he didn't use the belt until the threat of a £50 fine forced him to. That came later. Years later.

The Creeper is a slow and insidious technique. On trains, it started with one no-smoking carriage. On buses, it started with smokers at the back and upstairs on the double deckers. It was not a new technique even then because, as the Filthy Smoker's post reminded me, it had already been used - and is still going - on seat belts.

Seat belts, you might argue, save lives. Indeed, in many accidents, they have. In others they have taken lives. Now you can get a sharp thing for cutting through your seat belt for those crashes where your car is upside down, flames are toying with the fuel line and your life-saving safety belt has jammed. It has kept you alive, unharmed and whole so that you can experience the full effect of being barbecued. It is not compulsory to carry the sharp thing. Yet.

You might argue that in most cases, the seat belt saves lives and only in a few cases does it take them. All very well unless you happen to be one of those few cases. The real point of the seat belt is that the only life it saves is yours. The only life you have any control over is yours and the choice of whether to risk it should be yours. I can agree with fitting seat belts as standard because if they aren't there, neither is that choice. However, whether any individual wants to make use of them should be a matter of choice.

It is not. The choice was taken away from you. Hardly anyone even noticed because by the time that choice was taken, every car had been compulsorily fitted with seat belts for years. Many were already using them. Many were surprised when they became compulsory because they thought they already were.

Seat belts became a compulsory item in the rear seats years before those adverts showing an unbuckled teenager in the back seat piledriving into his mother in the driver's seat in a collision. When it became compulsory to wear them, the population acquiesced because, well, it didn't cost anything. The seat belts were already fitted. The compulsion to fit them was in the past.

The compulsion to wear them was then easy to achieve.

The smoking ban is the same technique. One non-smoking carriage became one smoking carriage and then that was taken away, then the no-smoking area extended onto the platforms and now right outside the station. The slow and insidious nature of the creeper means that the rabid antismokers of today often have no idea how or why they became so keen to round up all the smokers and gas them to death. Just as the citizens of Nazi Germany had no idea why they were so keen to be rid of Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, the disabled, smokers, gypsies, anyone who wasn't fully compliant with the State. Today, the smoking creeper is still growing and will soon reach into private cars and homes. It is not the only one, not by a long way.

When you see the technique, and appreciate the long timespan it uses, then you can recognise its application.

Alcohol is now banned on many forms of public transport. Bus drivers and train guards can refuse to let you travel if they decide you're drunk - even though that was the whole point of taking public transport to the pub in the first place. People now look down on anyone with the slightest whiff of booze about them even if it's just one pint's worth. Soon they will moan about the stench of alcohol on a drinker's breath. Passive drinking is already here. Controls are already in place. Warnings are to be put on alcohol, the age restriction at point of sale is going up and up until people get so used to it they'll be surprised when it officially rises from 18 to 25, because they'll think that is already the limit.

Look at the technique applied to anyone deemed overweight. It's the same. The public's right to make a citizen's arrest is similarly eroded. Salt. It's just at the beginning but it's the same technique.

One you might not have spotted yet. Photography.

It is perfectly legal to photograph or film anyone or anything in a public place. If you're publishing those photos it is only decent to remove identifiers from innocent bystanders - blurring faces and number plates, for example. You're not legally required to. There is no law against any form of photography in a public place.

How many people now believe that it is illegal to photograph public places?

How many will be surprised when it becomes illegal to do so - because they thought it was already?

The Creeper gets you used to the presence of something first, then makes it compulsory. There are portable ashtrays on sale for smokers. I refuse to buy one because I resent being forced outside in the first place. They are not compulsory but we're all getting used to seeing them on display, aren't we?

Supermarkets are pushing up the age at which they ask for ID until anyone under 30 will simply present that ID automatically. Anyone 18 is already treated with suspicion when buying booze, even though they are legally entitled to. Then the age limit can be increased and when those under the new limit - probably 21 - object, those around them will say 'Well you really shouldn't be buying beer under 25 anyway. It's been like that for years.'

Photographers are routinely harassed despite public pronouncements that they should not be. People are now suspicious of cameras and will not be at all surprised when a photographer is pulled over by police. They will not be surprised when he is arrested. They will not even be surprised when he is jailed. They have accepted a law stating that it is illegal to photograph the police and that leaves only one more step. 'Hey, if they can't photograph the police, they shouldn't be allowed to photograph me either.' Then we'll get 'possession of a camera with intent to photograph...'

The Creeper is a long, slow game. A little bit at a time. Get the public used to something first but don't press them on it until they've mostly accepted it. Get them used to seeing those seat belts on buses now, but don't make them compulsory yet. Wait until all buses have them on all seats, until anyone who shows any hint of a rebellious streak - smokers and drinkers, especially - and anyone who can't easily use them - mothers with children in pushchairs - are disposed of. That just leaves the conformists and the last act to weed out anyone who isn't going to be easily controlled is simply to announce a compulsion to wear those belts.

Here's a quote from Pavlov's Cat, today:

The steady drip-drip-drip of propaganda and regulation never ends - There's the Change4Life nonsense advertised by more amorphous and less barkingly insane plasticine people. Presumably the intention is to Change people into unthinking, conformist, cardio-workouting, goretex-wearing, celery eating vacant, glassy eyed conformists 4LIFE. Sounds like a death sentence to my ears.

This one is from Ivan Lawrence, in March 1979, 31 years ago:

Since I have been in the House I have seen the cogent arguments and the telling pleas of hon. Members on both sides of the House persuading and succeeding in persuading the House that it is only a very little piece more of liberty that we are withdrawing and for such great benefits and advantages. As a result we have far fewer of our freedoms now than was ever dreamed possible a few years ago. In the end we shall find that our liberties have all but disappeared. It might be possible to save more lives in Britain by this measure—and by countless other measures. But I do not see the virtue in saving more lives by legislation which will produce in the end a Britain where nobody wants to live.

They could be talking about the same thing, and they are, because they are not talking about salt and seatbelts.

They are talking about the Creeper.


JohnRS said...

Excellent, as always.

The really bad part is that not a single Prospective Parliamentary Numptie/Thief/Sheep seems to have the least intention of doing anything to stop this insidious slide into complete submission to the State.

Richard said...

It was the same with motorcycle crash helmets a few years earlier. Then seat belts. Now all the other things. The Ivan Lawrence speech was a belter - it foreshadows almost everything you have been saying. I did a post on it here earlier today.

Leg-iron said...

John R - all those selection procedures ensure that none of those PPCs have noticed the creeper. They don't want anyone who might spot what they're up to.

Leg-iron said...

Richard - I had an uncle who was a Hell's Angel and I vaguely remember him being incensed by that law.

The fact that this is pointed out to those in charge over and over again, and yet they apply the same technique over and over again, means it can only be deliberate.

I wonder how far back it goes?

Anonymous said...

They ban stuff and if we still do those things we are fined.
They make things compulsory and if we don't do those things we are fined.
There is a common thread here somewhere. ???

Spartan said...

l prefer making my own decisions regarding my life and if that means breaking the law and becoming a 'criminal' so be it. lndeed, if l'd adhered to the regulations like a 'good' citizen l would now be dead.

A tyre blew whilst l was taking a corner and the Range Rover rolled and was completely written off. The roof was completely flatened leaving no room between the roof and drivers seat and steering column ... fortunately for me l was no longer there. l was in the back, where l'd been thrown, due to not wearing my seatbelt.

Whilst in the States on my motorbike l never wore a crash helmet either. l find they restrict your vision and impair hearing.

My life ... my choice.

MU said...

Thanks for the quote. Much appreciated. =]

I'm off to eat some incredibly chorizo as a light snack

banned said...

Very insightful overview Leg_Iron. Interesting that they started on motorcyclists because, natch, they were all evil hell raising bikers who needed taming.
On the whole I tend not to wear seat belts these days, the Police aren't interested and the plastics are on foot.

DK has this to say about the odious Liam Donaldson (HM Chief Medical Dickhead) "From the smoking ban to minimum pricing and from bird flu to swine flu, there is not one thing this pernicious ball-licker has touched which hasn't turned out to be based on a shit-heap of lies.". I could go with that.

Frank Davis said...

Shortly after the seat belt law came into force, I went out for a drive with my father, and noticed he wasn't wearing his belt. As we drove along, I asked him if he disapproved of the ban, because he hadn't "buckled up." And he grunted and reached for the belt, and buckled himself up. But I sort of knew he didn't approve of it, because he'd driven all his life without the things, for about 40 years.

At the time, I felt sort of good about it. Sort of righteous, I suppose. But now I don't. I feel more ashamed of myself now for what I said. Because now I can see the Creeper clearly, in ways I couldn't back then, but should've.

I always wear my seatbelt when I drive. But I'm beginning to think it's a bad habit. I think I'll maybe have to teach myself to take it off. I've never ever needed it anyway.

Anonymous said...

they also use the creeper on rouge states like iran,syria and venezuela.

Leg-iron said...

Frank - modern kids don't see it either. Kids never do, because they think adults are trustworthy. Teenagers don't see it because they are only playing at being rebellious and cynical. They don't know how to do either properly and won;t listen to adults at all.

Now they are used to push antismoking, antiobesity, antisalt, global warming, all the rest of it.

We were lucky. We had far fewer things to nag our parents about.

Good thing too. They hadn't banned smacking yet. Perhaps that's why they did.

Surreptitious Evil said...

John R:

"not a single Prospective Parliamentary Numptie/Thief/Sheep seems to have the least intention of doing anything to stop this insidious slide into complete submission to the State."

At least one - actually elected too (2005 - so probably just not sufficiently corroded yet) - Philip Davies, MP for Shipley:

"I despair at the endless consensus that there seems to be in the House, which is forever seeking to restrict people's freedoms in this country, to try to stop them doing things that they do legitimately and, in the overwhelming majority of cases, without any problem."

Dan Hannan, as well, I'd expect.

carbchick said...

There are so many govt ads on TV that I actually thought this was one the other night.

a template for safe muesli-eating, or a government directive to promote healthier morning routines?

I've got my wires crossed haven't I. It's alpen they're advertising, not a model for healthy breakfasting for the Hitler/Liebour Youth.

Silly me.

Mark said...

Is it actually evil or is it just the mindless actions of people (i.e. rent a clone MPS/council drones) who simply don't know how to do anything else? Academic distinction I know as the end result is likely to be the same.

I genuinely am torn though. Often, human society seems to operate like an ant colony and do all these urges to control and repress and spite (becasue that ultimately is what it is) others represent something deep in the firmware that we can't collectively control.

It shames me to say that - despite knowing what is going on -I have found myself quietly approving of certain restrictions. Is this what will doom us?

I look forward with relish to the savage cuts in public spending that have to happen but cut a head off the hydra and another will grow in its place.

PT Barnum said...

Portable ashtrays have unexpected benefits, you know. You can really make PCSOs go Hmph! as they hover nearby, fingers itching to issue a FPN for littering. Glowering folk in bus queues suffer comparable disappointment as you put the filthy butt in your ashtray. Plus you get to walk around sometimes trailing the smell of ashtrays behind you, leading to anti-smoking muppets doing impressions of meerkats as they try to seek out the guilty smoker.

Dr Evil said...

One good thing about seat belts on trains. It would mean no standing and thus a ticket would have to give you a seat. Bit like an airline ticket. No free seating! That would give a few train companies used to herding commuters on to trains like cattle (which have much better and more stringent regulations)a bit of a headache. How to get at that money. Why lo! Extra carriages would appear as if by magic.

However, this may be the exception that proves your creep rule.

Sue said...

"The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions.

In this way the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed."

Adolph Hitler

Vladimir said...

Good article - spot on.

Is it actually evil or is it just the mindless actions of people (i.e. rent a clone MPS/council drones) who simply don't know how to do anything else?

I was thinking about this today. I came to the conclusion that they know that they must do something to distinguish themselves, and what else is there to do? As professional politicians, they should really stay out of the way until needed (if ever!) -- but that's no way to advance a political career. Naturally they cannot do anything that might step on the toes of the party leadership, even if it would be popular with their constituents. Therefore, they jump on a politically fashionable bandwagon in the hope of scoring points over their colleagues.

Leg-iron said...

PT Barnum - interesting... so those little ashtrays are like third-hand-smoke bombs? I might reconsider.

Chalcedon - Ah. That would indeed explain why there have been no moves for seat belts on trains. It would make all those hydraulic rams for passenger-loading obsolete.

Sue - Hitler was right, and he was wrong. Just like Stalin. No matter how far they go, there is no point at which it cannot be reversed.

East Germany reversed it. It's better to stop before we get there, if we can.

Leg-iron said...

Is it evil or is it stupidity? I always thought it was stupidity but these people have seen the effects of their actions over and over and still they do it. So I'm now of the opinion that it's deliberate, and malicious.

Amusing Bunni said...

You are really on to something, Leg-Iron.
I'm very tired of all the creeping, it's like creeping death, one day closer to the grim reaper.

Antisthenes said...

You will know when there are no more laws to make to ensure that you do not kill yourself by driving, smoking, drinking etc,. When they bring in the death penalty for breaking them.

Danny Law said...

i agree with the bulk of your post.

although i would differentiate between those restrictions that only effect the individual - such as crash helmets and seat belts - and those restrictions on things that effect everyone - such as drinking and smoking. if you want to risk your own life. then fine. its yours to risk. thats the libertarian in me.

but please dont blow your smoke in my direction or threaten me because you are drunk. thats when you cross over into my life and space.

robert said...

well kevin i hope you turn of your mobile and don't wear too much spray and give me a wheeze when i stand too close to your space.if the wind takes my smoke in your direction will you get all huffy?

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