Monday, June 20, 2005

first they came...

First they came for the miners, [1]
and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a miner.
Then they came for the travellers, [2]
and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't a traveller.
Then they came for the asylum-seekers, [3]
and I didn't speak up, because I wasn't an asylum-seeker.
Then they came for me, [4]
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

(with apologies to Martin Niemöller)

The thing is, we weren't expecting them to come for these categories of people - we were expecting them to go for gays, bikers, or other categories. A biker friend of mine always used to say that he was all for gay rights because the gays would be the first line of defence - they would come for the gays before they came for the bikers; then would quote the Niemöller poem. But whilst I have protested or written to my MP about various things (Iraq etc.), it seems to me that we are just sticking our heads in the sand about the erosion of various freedoms (the removal of the right of habeas corpus, for example). And now ID cards. Great, I really want an ID card like I want a hole in the head - I realise they can easily work out I'm a Pagan as it's posted all over the internet - but other people prefer anonymity, particularly after the experience in the late 1980s and early 1990s of social workers threatening to take our children away because they were convinced we were all satanists. [5] But if we have ID cards it'll be much easier for the government /social workers (delete as appropriate) to round up people they don't like.

[1] closing of the mines, 1984
[2] Battle of the Beanfield, 1985
[3] Asylum seekers, ongoing
[4] well I'm not going to tell you everything they could get me for, am I?
[5] Rochdale, Orkneys, Cleveland, etc

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