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Prison island

To date, we have been fortunate.

I say that because, given the consistently submissive nature of the British public, we have been blessed (yes, I do mean blessed) with a ruling political class that has been, relatively speaking, both modest in its ambitions and cautious in its actions. If they only realised how much more they could get away with we would, by now, be living in a hell on earth. This is why I say that we, so far, been very lucky.

But luck always runs out and I think ours is about to do just that:

Anyone departing the UK by land, sea or air will have their trip recorded and stored on a database for a decade.

Passengers leaving every international sea port, station or airport will have to supply detailed personal information as well as their travel plans. So-called “booze cruisers” who cross the Channel for a couple of hours to stock up on wine, beer and cigarettes will be subject to the rules.

In addition, weekend sailors and sea fishermen will be caught by the system if they plan to travel to another country – or face the possibility of criminal prosecution.

The owners of light aircraft will also be brought under the system, known as e-borders, which will eventually track 250 million journeys annually.

Even swimmers attempting to cross the Channel and their support teams will be subject to the rules which will require the provision of travellers’ personal information such as passport and credit card details, home and email addresses and exact travel plans.

Another database for the sake of it? Well, possibly. But I think we all know that it will not stop there. This is, of course, a prelude and a ‘softening up’ process for the eventual introduction of a requirement for exit visas (Soviet style).

So, a word of advice to any of my compatriots who are planning to emigrate abroad: settle your plans as soon as practicable and make your move within the next 5 years. After that, you may well find that your escape routes have been walled off.

31 comments to Prison island

  • Alice

    Most of the punters taking trips out of the UK are going to another EU jurisdiction. Does the plan contravene any EU regulation on the free movement of citizens within the EU?

  • “Most of the punters taking trips out of the UK are going to another EU jurisdiction. Does the plan contravene any EU regulation on the free movement of citizens within the EU?”

    Most probably.

    This is about money, of course,carbon taxes and any other impost this government of cold war throw back can think of. £5000 fine for non-compliance,cheaper to rob a post office,if there are any left.
    It will not catch the hard core criminals,they are either too clever or in the government.Essentially crooks won’t comply,or pay the fines.Nor will it catch terrorists and illegals.This will catch those poor bastards who grab a last minute holiday or those left with a spark of spontaneity.

  • Nuke Gray!

    But surely only the guilty will worry about this! You know, the people who didn’t vote for the current government…

  • Nuke Gray!

    Isn’t there some way to satirise this? Do a remake of The Prisoner, with the punchline that he’s in an ordinary town, and is an ordinary citizen. Or treat the show as a series of prophesies about 21st Century life in Britain?

  • Stephan

    This is insane! I live in Canada, and my great fear for the moment is that this kind of wretched bureaurcratic shit will one day find itself occuring to Canadians, Americans, and other Western citizens… How seriously whipped are you Brits!? I can only imagine the total screaming outcry if the U.S government ever tried to implement something like this on this side of the pond. (The American gummint might be harsh and spying at times, but what commonly occurs in Britain would get a much shorter leash in the U.S)This kind of stuff really encourages any seriously individualistic person to sincerely plan for a life on the move, with secret finances, secret homes, and carefully protected personal information and communications. Such a life seems like the only option left for a true lover of personal freedom, staying on your native soil (Especially if British it seems) is a lost cause for staying free.

  • Nuke Gray!

    Stephan-
    At the von Mises websight, someone from Ohio points out that they’ve only had State Income Tax for the past 37 years, but it already seems fixed, and life seems unimagineable without it!
    The American States are all increasing their laws and regulations. It’s the only thing government knows how or what to do- grow!

  • John

    I’m off in July thank ****. I shall watch future developments from a safe distance

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Alice asks a smart question. I’d like to see if this squares with EU law. It might be one of those unusual cases where being in the EU has its advantages from a libertarian point of view (cough, rubs eyes).

    Seriously, what is the fecking point of things like the Schengen agreement, the Single Market, etc, if we have to put up with shit like this?

    I am thinking of emigrating over the next five years, possibly to live in Malta with the missus. The weather is lovely, the locals are Anglophiles in an old fashioned way and crime is fairly low.

  • lukas

    The UK has not signed the full Schengen agreement. I wonder more about the impact this would have on the Common Travel Area with Ireland…

  • Andrew Duffin

    People, I think in the end you will find, that if you have a UK ID Card, all the requirements will be “deemed to have been met”.

    It’s all part of the salami slicer.

    No ID Card? Oh dear, you have to apply online 24 hours (then 48, then 72, then a month…) before you can leave the country.

    In the end, your right to travel will depend on the discretion of the Community Support Officer on duty at your local port of exit. Don’t upset him!

  • guy herbert

    I can only imagine the total screaming outcry if the U.S government ever tried to implement something like this on this side of the pond.

    Already happening, with no noticeable outcry so far:
    http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/inspections_carriers_facilities/apis/

    The supervision of all travel everywhere is very much a UK-UK joint project. They jointly masterminded the new ICAO passport standard that makes it all hang together.

  • Another article from the Telegraph that was linked at the one referenced by this post:

    (Link)

    The U.S. is just as bad, if not worse.

  • RAB

    They are just upping the “Hassle Factor”.

    They want to inconvenience you as much as possible.
    Irritate you to the point where their cherished Universal ID cards, might seem like a good idea.

    The good news is that the system will be a total fuck up as usual.

  • Stephan

    Guy Herbert,
    What you linked me to seems to apply for only airline passengers and private aircraft. Aside from that this system is much less formal and rigorous. (Im not sure how deeply strict the British eborders system will be; how does one infomr in advance, by filling out a form?) But the American version is minor in comparison and doesnt take into account millions of americans leaving by land and sea.
    Im sticking to the third world.

  • The land border between Northern Ireland and the ROI would be complex to impose immigration controls across, and many people with guns and bombs would be outraged if anyone tried. The Home Office therefore plans to require everyone crossing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland to provide travel details – ie there will be internal immigration controls within the UK, although they won’t be called that.

    This is logistically simpler, but of course, there are more men with guns and bombs who will be outraged by this.

  • Otto

    The news on this Septic Isle seems to get more reminiscent of the 1970′s every week, or at least of the 1970′s crossed with 1984. One aspect of that era was, I think, as I was pretty young at the time, exchange controls.

    Presumably, we’ll be told that the purposes of e-borders are to fight terrorism, the war on drugs and illegal immigration. However, the Enemy Class have never really shown much enthusiasm for actually doing these things, although plenty for putting these forward as the reasons for legislation. They have always been much more motivated by screwing more tax out of us, seizing people’s property and telling us what to do for the sake of it.

    I suspect one of the main uses of e-borders will be to stop us getting any money or other wealth out of the UK.

    Not the only use, of course, as it will be important to stop dangerous “right wing extremists*” from “spreading their poison” in other countries.

    Incidentally, it would be interesting to know whether this is something that has come out of the EU or whether they thought it up all by themselves.

    * A technical term used by the Enemy Class to refer to anyone of any political opinion whose views diverge from what the Enemy Class consider acceptable.

  • virgil xenophon

    The general sentiment expressed here is spot on. The only people that will be “caught” in this web are the innocent.

    Like gun control, which only serves to restrict the ability of the innocent and law-abiding to protect themselves while making the statistics look good for the sake of government bureaucrats, all of this is just another example of the same school of thought/psychology as demonstrated by the classic excuse rendered by the drunk who, having lost his car-keys at mid-night in a darkened alley, persists in looking for them under the corner street-light explaining his actions by exclaiming: “because the light is so much better there!” It’s SOooo much easier and safer to control honest citizens than deal with truly dangerous people–as those arrested in protesting the Islamic thugs at the Royal Anglian Regiment’s return in Luton quickly found out.

    PS to Nuke Grey: When I grew up in the State of Illinois, Illinois had no income tax and the State had one of the finest educational systems (K-thru-University) in the nation. Now with a state tax since the late 70s, the State is broke, the school system is in the toilet and the growth of government bureaucracy continues unabated.

  • bob

    I was going to leave in 2011 anyway (leaving now would set my career back some ways), but this is such a major step towards dictatorship that I’m tempted to cut and run now. It’ll be interesting to see how many people are stopped during the first few months of the scheme, and what reasons are given.

    How long do we think it will be until an exit visa is needed? Should I cut and run now or am I ok to wait two more years? I can’t believe I’m thinking these questions!

  • Laird

    I’m in the US and so don’t have a dog in this fight (at least, not directly). Still, I’m wondering what justification is being proffered for this outrage. Otto suggests that the stated purpose will be “to fight terrorism, the war on drugs and illegal immigration.” However, those would all require controls on entry, not exit, so it doesn’t seem likely that excuse would fly even among the sheep. Has anything specific been mentioned?

  • Stephan

    William Reese Mogg and James Dale Davidson in their book “the soveriegn Individual” spoke of how in the coming years, the governments of the Western Wlefare Staes, facing increasingly heavy spending obligations, would create more and more excuses to trap capital and the people who create it within their borders. I guess we’re seeing a trial run of one of the more serious steps to do this.

  • Laird: the major problem with terrorists is not that they are coming in, but that they are coming and going unobstructed and unmonitored. So just as we are about to ambush one of them in his London apartment, he has flown (/sailed/swam/driven/walked?) off back to Pakistan. See? It all makes sense once you stop and think about it. Besides, the innocents have nothing to hide, and so nothing to fear. Except terrorism, of course.

  • Laird

    Of course.

  • Michael

    We certainly have come a long way from “better a thousand guilty people get away that one innocent person be found wrongly guilty” eh?

  • Cyclefree

    As I understand it, it applies to UK citizens but not to foreigners. Perhaps someone can correct me. If so, it’s not legal since you can’t discriminate on the grounds of nationality within the EU. But if it applies to everyone I just don’t see how it can worK. Is a tourist who comes here required to give his itinerary and personal details to the government before he can go home? What about people who have to fly out suddenly for funerals or to see the sick or for some other emergency?

    But forget the practicalities of it. The whole principle of the idea is deeply sinister: an e-Wall to replace the Berlin Wall. When – for FFS – did my country turn into East Germany?

  • Nuke Gray!

    Cyclefree,
    The rot sets in with sayings like ‘Fight fire with fire’, or ‘Set a thief to catch a thief’. One way to fight big government is to become bigger yourself! When Communism loomed large on the horizon, ‘our’ side adopted a posture of equality.
    Of course, a better way is to fight fire with water, as we here in Australia have found out. In terms of systems, our governments could have encouraged enterpreneurs in smuggling items into the closed society, thus forcing it to stay open, which would have changed it. If we had encouraged victims of communism to have their own weapons, their system would have collapsed faster!

  • Subotai Bahadur

    Cyclefree:

    Indeed, I am also interested in what rules they have in mind for foreign nationals. My wife and I have long planned a vacation trip-of-a-lifetime to Ireland, with the option of adding on some time in Northern Ireland, hopping over to spend a week in Scotland, and then to London for a further week before coming home. In fact it was to have occurred last year. One of our daughters had some medical problems that took up the planned time and money, so we are on hold. However, just as I have no intention of travelling to my ancestral homeland [China] so as not to give foreign exchange to those who oppress my ethnic fellows and threaten my country of birth; I have no desire to help HMG’s government fund the oppression of HM’s subjects.

    Oh, and as for your last question, might I offer that when you did not start Guy Fawkes fan clubs at some of the assumptions of police state powers by Labour; that the final dividing line was when you accepted the transition of power from Blair to Brown without an election. That set a precedent that may come back to cause damage to your nether regions if they try to do it again in lieu of having the elections your papers are constantly having vapors over about the date that Brown will call them. He has accumulated so much power outside of your scattered Constitution, that he has more than enough legalisms at hand to rule by decree.

    “Do your serfs really tug their fore-locks as a gesture of subservience to their masters?”

    Subotai Bahadur

  • Nuke Gray!

    Thad,
    If you do a satire of ‘The Prisoner’, perhaps you could have ‘Six’ escape from The Village, make his way back to modern Britain, get caught up in the datastate, steal a boat, and return to the island- a comparative paradise!

  • Subotai Bahadur

    I was explaining what I had just submitted here to a daughter [who has studied in England and amongst other things got to witness the homicidal tendencies of the NHS first hand]. While explaining, another thought occurred to me [and more than one in a day is painful (grin)]. I explained it to her, and she said, “Coyotes!”.

    Allow me some interpretation. In the American Southwest we have a problem with those who are paid to smuggle illegal Mexican aliens into the country across our southern border. They are known in the local Tex-Mex variant parlance as Coyotes.

    What came to my mind, and only partially tongue-in-cheek, was more like Irish Wolfhounds. Posit that restrictive exit controls are enforced for Brits. It may or may not go to the point where you are required to pay back the supposed cost to the State for allowing you to live to the date of exit, it may or may not include not being allowed to take your wealth or belongings with you. And there may or may not be specified categories of ‘enemies of the People’ involved. Suffice it to say there are those who want to leave the ‘Great United Socialist Paradise Kingdom’ who are being hindered by the state.

    Now the time may come when Brits are not allowed to travel to Northern Ireland; but that would involve a number of other horrendously complicating factors if such travel was blocked. If such travel is possible, the Inter-Irish border will for a time look like Checkpoint Charlie before the Berlin Wall went up. The only answer to that, from the Almighty State, would have to be a version of the wall on the Inter-Irish border.

    Now, making the assumption that the Irish Republic may not be all that eager to assist the GUSPK in physically walling off the 6 Counties forever from Ireland; we can posit a situation where the Republic will be willing at least to look the other way if fugitive Brits use it as a way station to freedom. They may even tax them for transit and get them to where they can get to airports or ship terminals.

    If those two conditions are met, I see a great financial opportunity, a need that can be filled to one’s profit. Let us posit the formation of groups of “rough men who stand watch in the night” who develop a skill at breaching frontiers, covertly if possible, and leading people from Northern Ireland to the Republic. Operations would be clandestine if possible, more forceful if necessary. After all, if you take their money, you have to deliver the customer. It could get kinda unlucky to be a member of the Britannic Volks-Polizei.

    If Ireland is only willing to look the other way, that increases the profit, because you can charge the refugees for transit across and out of Ireland. You would, of course, have to develop means of secure [from the Wolfhounds' point of view] payment in advance, which would shatter any currency control regime the GUSPK might impose, Pobricitos. I’m thinking 1000 Pounds or 1000 Euros, or what the Wolfhounds would accept as equivalent in a hard currency or precious metals, per head, for the border crossing; with transit costs to be determined.

    I throw the idea out, in case there are any “Rough Men who have stood watch in the night” of British, Irish, or American extraction who might like the idea of freeing the oppressed, bearding the tyrant, and making a profit thereby.

    “Confusion to the Enemy!”

    Subotai Bahadur

  • Der Spiegel(Link)”, some time ago, published an account from a soldier who had been involved in building the Berlin wall. A few years later, he crashed a tank through it and escaped to the west. In this report we find the following passage:
    Officially, and in announcements on posters, it had been claimed that travel across the border would in future only be possible with special passports and permits. This practice, it was claimed, was normal between sovereign states, so that it would be a step towards normalization.
    (…)
    We soldiers believed that travel to West-Berlin would still be possible in the future, so long as you put up with the additional paperwork for the passport. None of us could imagine that the border would become as impassable as it later turned out to be.

    I wonder if the rest of the population was as naïve …

  • llamas

    Let it not be forgotten that for decades the UK imposed draconian limits on the movement of sterling into the “dollar area.” IIRC, a person could take only £100 to the US, which effectively placed the US off-limits to all but business travellers, emigrants and those who already had means within the US. This explains, in parts at least, why so many Brits have such a lack of knowledge of the US, since it’s only within the last generation that many have been free to travel there.

    The UK already places certain of its citizens under national arrest, forbidding them to leave the country under a variety of orders. For example, under the Football Disorder Act 2000, UK citizens can be prohibited from leaving the country and compelled to surrender their passports, even if they have committed no specific offence. An order does not even have to be made in order to restrain a person from travelling – he/she may be detained upon the mere suspicion that there may be grounds for an order to be made.

    Why does HMG need to know the credit-card details of travellers? Travel plans? E-mail addresses? If you cannot provide any of these things – none of which you are required to have – does that mean you will be prevented from travelling?

    Watch for plenty more of this sort of thing. Why do they do it? Because they can.

    llater,

    llamas

  • Ursus Maritimus

    Its not “A step on the way to exit visas”, It Is Already effectively an exit visa.

    File in advance when they don’t want you to leave: They’ll ‘lose’ the filing and arrest you at the border. Expect to spend a long time in a cell waiting for the trial to set the fine, formally 182 days before extended, in practice as long as they feel like. Or the trial will be sheduled in ten years time, and you are forbidden to leave your home town in the interim.

    And if you don’t file, they will arrest you at the border etc etc.

    And if you manage to get out you are a criminal fugitive subject to extradition.