Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Wednesday 17 October 2012

Know your place.

LOOK. I don't want to hurt your feelings. But you need to be told.

What you think does not matter. What you want to know you will not be allowed to learn, whatever you believe will be trampled upon, and when you raise a hand to complain it will be ignored.

You are not important. You are not running the country. You are proles.

Other people get to do all those things. People who are richer, prettier, better educated or remunerated. They are the ones who make all the decisions, not you poor simple fools.

They let you vote because it makes you think you have a say, a bit like putting a pet on an extending lead. Give them a little freedom, but not too much. Too much freedom would be disastrous.

Imagine if everything were properly free. What crises we would discover! People would be asking questions all the time, poking their noses in, asking what the bloke next to them earns, why this minister can't walk down Whitehall rather than drive, why the Queen really needs so many houses.

Surely one palace is enough, you might ask. Do secretaries of state need £300,000 armour-plated bomb-proof cars when they're always in high-security areas, you might wonder. How much time do civil servants spend mucking around on the internet, and let's have a look at Jimmy Savile's annual personnel reviews, you may very well insist.

They can't be having that, which is why they introduced a Freedom of Information Act.

You probably thought this was to give you - ha ha - freedom of information. But no, it was to control the freedom of information so that no important information was ever made free. Do you see what they did there?

So if you want to ask the BBC what the Director General had for his lunch and how long it lasted and how many hours he was actually at his desk and how much of that time he spent crying and rocking back and forth having ordered three internal reviews in a week, the act means they don't have to tell you.

If you want to see the discussions and briefings explaining why one computer hacker isn't deported and another is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy surrounded by policemen 24 hours a day and wondering where he can get a cat, you'll get a confirmation your request has been received and little else.

If you want to see private emails between the Prime Minister and a woman charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and hacking a dead girl's phone during a scandal which threatened his job, the chances are you will be ignored altogether. The PM answer a question? What an idea!

Even if you are asking something harmless it will be wriggled out of by a faceless civil servant somewhere if it is not worded precisely, which of course is difficult if you don't know what the answer is.

If they don't like your question it will be lost, dropped, deleted or eaten rather than answered, because laws don't make you free. Laws stop you doing things. A law about freedom, by definition, limits it.

The worst thing you could possibly do is know what the people running the country are thinking. You might not like it, and it's therefore in your own interests that you are not told.

So if a man who by accident of birth is due to become head of the church, the fountain of all honours, an adviser to Prime Ministers, the approver of all laws and the last resort of mercy for prisoners all over the Commonwealth, tries to influence the policies of elected governments, well, it's best you don't know about it.

If you found out he was trying to bring back fox-hunting, moan about taxes on mansions, get Mohammed al Fayed deported or asking for camera phones to be banned, it wouldn't be much of a surprise and it might even damage his chances of being king.

Never mind that if it damaged his position as king you might have an even better reason for knowing it. Oh no.

Perhaps it might improve his image if he's complaining about the austerity cuts or fighting for pensioners in fuel poverty, but that would conversely damage the image of the people he was writing the letters to and they're the ones who have decided that you can't see them.

Never mind that if the people you elect might have done something which makes them less electable. Definitely don't bother yourselves with that.

So you'll never know whether Prince Charles' views are pleasing or infuriating to you, even though you can easily imagine they're probably a mix of both with demands for extra valets thrown in.

Despite the fact several judges have said you should see them you are not going to, because whatever they say someone, somewhere, won't look too great if you did.

Despite the fact a government minister says official information should be poured into the public domain because "liberal democracies can only exist with informed citizens", you're not going to see the information they don't want you to see.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who has decided that he knows better than the High Court, says the letters reveal the prince's "most deeply-held personal views and beliefs" and are "in many cases particularly frank".

And frankness and honesty are, at all costs, to be avoided.

Otherwise we'd know the Prime Minister was emailing his Fruit Ninja score to the former editor of the Sun, that deportation laws and human rights are only for those with a mainstream public campaign of support, and just how many times a certain TV presenter was told off for having children in his dressing room.

And we can't have that, because then you'd all get angry, they'd all lose their jobs and then they'd be one of you and wouldn't have the freedom to tell you what to do any more.

The freedom, it must be said, you've given them.

Because if you stopped to realise you're only proles because you let them be in charge, that freedom is a fundamental right and no-one should be on a pedestal unless they can prove they're using it to reach for something, we'd have pure freedom for everyone everywhere and that makes a hell of a mess.

Far better that freedom is regulated, controlled, turned on and off like a tap, and not allowed to blow your mind with 'frankness' and 'personal views' which would stop you performing your important function of being well-behaved proles working and earning and taxed and kept in the same place you've always been, which is under the pedestal someone else has hauled themselves onto purely so they're not one of you any more.

So, now you know where you stand.

In the dark.