Quiet a few people of late have been wondering if the government might be getting rather eager for riots to happen this summer, in what they’re already calling a “summer of rage”*, so that they can play with the little reported Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This act basically gives high ranking politicians and officials the power to do whatever they like in the event of an “emergency”, where in its broadest reading an “emergency” is whatever they decide it is. It is in many ways quite a plausible idea, whilst also being somewhat close to the “tin foil wearing” end of the spectrum. I would like to think it’s quite a way from the “likely to happen” end of the spectrum though some of the things being reported do make one wonder. With such wondering in mind a small article in one of the London free rags caught my eye:
Hospitals alert on scarlet fever
London hospitals are on alert today over a severe outbreak of scarlet fever.
A fuller report can be found in the Evening Standard
But if the scarlet fever situation were to get at all serious then there’d be no need for riots, at least not for an initial outing of the civil contingencies act as it clearly states that:
(1) In this Part “emergency” means—
a) an event or situation which threatens serious damage to human welfare in a place in the United Kingdom,
(2) For the purposes of subsection (1)(a) an event or situation threatens damage to human welfare only if it involves, causes or may cause—
(a) loss of human life,
(b) human illness or injury,
So a serious outbreak of scarlet fever would be just the ticket to give the act an initial and easily spun airing. After all who could possible object to exceptional measures being taken for the sake of the children?
Now whilst the UK banks are busy printing money it would be terribly obvious to draw a parallel with Zimbabwe and the recent outbreak of cholera there, but that’d be far too easy. Also I’m sure that someone would be along very quickly to tell me that such a comparison was silly and belittled the genuine suffering in Zimbabwe, whose situation was utterly unlike that of the UK. So I won’t make such a parallel.
Instead I’ll merely observe that with all the references to “V for Vendetta” being made at present if the Civil Contingencies act were first deployed due to an outbreak of disease and were then more vigorously applied, due to further “events”, that I’d have to start wondering if it was all some monumental joke? If someone were deliberately trying to use the film as a blueprint to see how stupid and passive the people are? Though at that point I’d have to get my own tin foil hat, as this is real life and strange coincidences happen all the time – it’s only in fiction that they’re not allowed.
But still, it is rather curious.
* If You want to try to organise activities, book holidays maybe, around the “summer of rage[tm]”, then apparently protest season starts April 1st, though equally as some are saying that the G20 summit will be the highlight it won’t be much of a summer.