Parting Shot: Blair Jails Two to Shield "Madman" Bush
Saturday, 12 May 2007
by Chris Floyd
These are days of troubled sleep. As in a dream, you walk familiar streets, living out your ordinary life – going to work, having love affairs, watching sports, getting the car fixed, worrying about bills, fighting a toothache, taking kids to school, listening to music – and everything seems as it was before, as it always was; you seem to be what you always were: a free person in a free country. Then some discordant noise reaches your mind; you stir, you open your eyes, and you remember: that's not how it is here anymore.
For citizens in the world's two "leading democracies," the United States and Britain, these rude awakenings come at regular intervals now, piercing through the incessant roar of static from the media engines of sell and spin. A story catches your eye – usually something buried beneath the "big news" of the day – and once again you're tumbled from your private concerns into a dreadful realization of where history has taken you: into a strange hybrid world of unfree freedom, where you can say what you want, do what you want – unless those in power arbitrarily decide that you can't. In 99 cases out of 100, they'll leave you alone (as long as you're white and look non-threatening; if not, that ratio drops considerably). But this liberty is illusory; it no longer has a physical reality, or even a statutory one. It is now a "gift" of the authorities, one which they can bestow – or revoke – according to their own, ever-shifting needs and desires.