Theresa May will send up to 5,000 soldiers to police UK public spaces


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/24/thatcher-meets-pinochet.html


#2

Late stage capitalism?


#3

Maybe I missed the memo when you claimed similar distortion of fact about the French military doing domestic security duty for the last few years?

EDIT: changed to softer phrasing.


#4

I think that’s called an insulting remark.


#5

I’ll edit, thanks.


#6

Checks out. And hey, Trump approves!

Well that’s not a bit surprising, but it’s also not supported by the following paragraphs. Like not one little bit.

Isn’t credibility awesome?


#7

No, but you seem to have missed the memo that told you that France has always had armed police on patrol. Even decades ago you would encounter Police / Military with machine guns while traveling in France.

On the British Isles we didn’t ever, literally never saw armed police officers or military in public.

Not even the Police protecting Parliament were armed, until today. So to see weapons, any weapons but especially machine guns will be a significant change.

Armed units patrolling the streets of major British cities is a huge shift to how state power is displayed.

Nuance matters.


#8

Theres a difference between police and soldiers.

And as for never I’ve personally seen armed police officers in London. Dunno the circumstances.


#9

I think she read somewhere that this is what Strong and Stable leaders do - Deploy the troops.
Ironically her stint as Home Secretary and now as PM has seen police number fall by 4 times this number.


#10

It should really come as no surprise that authoritarian overlord may should be the first pm to enact this. It’s your 20% less fat martial law lite but unfortunately I doubt you’ll find many vocal opponents of it right now.


#11

Alternate headline: Terrorists Win in UK.


#12

Hmmmm, I suppose this means we will be lucky enough to have an armed presence at the polling stations to remind us which side our bread is buttered on. (mostly sarcasm)


#13

Military dictatorship? Bollocks!

Neither you nor I know the existential threat. It could well be that it is sound insurance. At least it sends a message of control to the public and perhaps to wannabe terrorists.

You can run your mantra again if the troops are still around in a few weeks.


#14

It should really come as no surprise that an ex Home Secretary who has for years denigrated and attacked the police (often subtly and often for what appear to be the sorts of reasons you’d expect lefty minister to use, weirdly) and dramatically reduced their numbers, would resort to armed soldiers to ‘protect and serve’ (a.k.a. intimidate and instil fear) the populace.
Alleged excuse is that squaddies can guard events (like at Manchester Arena) freeing up police to chase after suspects.
If there were enough police…
And the idea of a squaddie - even one with ‘peacekeeping’ training (as opposed to fighting) would be guarding public gatherings and major targets is very scary. They do not have the training and experience for what is a very different activity!


#15

The dress-rehearsal will have been completed and debriefed by then (also mostly sarcasm)


#16

You’re correct that it’s bollocks to refer to this as a military dictatorship, but it’s an absolutely ominous sign of what is to come and what so many of us have been dreading since 9/11 and 7/7 as an increasingly authoritative approach to government creeps into acceptance.


#17

England Prevails.


#18

I’m surprised we even have 5000 squaddies to deploy. They probably don’t all have working weapons.
The only time I’ve seen armed officers outside of London (there’s often some in Paddington station) was when I got pulled over by an armed response unit. That wasn’t for any weapon related reason, I’d just been stupid enough to undertake someone whilst speeding, while these two armed coppers were driving past. They didn’t really want the bother of pulling me over, but I’d not really left them much choice.

Oh, wait, the coppers guarding Windsor castle (where the queen often stays) are armed too, but most of the time I’ve seen them they’ve been coo-ing over my friend’s baby, the big softies :wink:


#19

You’re getting more like the US everyday. Congratulations.
Now you just have to get about defunding the NHS.


#20

I’m afraid that’s not true. I’ve seen officers with SMGs at airports for well over a decade, and armed officers around Parliament for several years. Inside (Westminster Hall) and out.

Interestingly, the Arena is within walking distance of the site of the ‘Peterloo Massacre’. In 1819, a public meeting in St Peter’s Fields * was broken up not by constables but by cavalry troops, untrained for civilian crowd control and armed with sabres.
I’m not saying it’s comparable - modern soldiers are trained in crowd control - but this has been one of the main precedents discouraging the deployment of troops within the mainland UK or routinely arming police officers.

*: Also site of Bob Dylan’s “Judas!” concert, incidentally.