EU says your car can run but it can’t hide

The word ‘totalitarian’ crops up in my pieces more and more often.

It may be a simple reactionary paranoia. Or, and I prefer this possibility, having grown up in a totalitarian state I know what it looks and smells like.

One telltale sign is a curtailed freedom of movement: for their own good, citizens are told where they can travel or live and where they can’t.

It’s obvious that for a state to put its foot down this way it must be able to monitor the citizens’ whereabouts at all times. The knowledge of where they are is the first step towards acquiring the power of telling them where they shall be.

In the USSR it was the internal passport that acted as the monitoring tool. Stamped into it was the ubiquitous propiska, residence permit issued for a specific location.

A change of address required a new permit, which could be granted or more usually denied. And if a citizen stayed anywhere for longer than a month, he had to report to a local police station and receive a temporary stamp.

The internal passport also had to be produced when buying rail or air tickets, so the state knew at every moment where its slaves were even if they only travelled for a few days. Travelling by personal transport hardly ever came into it because cars were owned by statistically insignificant numbers of Soviets. 

The system wasn’t exactly foolproof but it functioned better than just about anything else in the Soviet Union, including things like food supplies or medical care. The only institution that could rival the internal passport for sheer efficiency was the GULAG, but then the former often acted as the anteroom for the latter – and the KGB controlled both.

It’s in this context that the new EU diktat must be viewed. From October 2015 every new car we buy will be equipped with a tracking microchip, a ‘black box’ that will tell the police or whomever else wants to know where you’ll be at any moment.

Car travel is rather more widespread in the EU than it was in the Soviet Union, so in effect the measure will close the loop that existed even in the most cannibalistic state in history. A comforting thought, that.

In some rather unsavoury states of the past the family of an executed man had to pay the cost of the bullet that had killed their loved one. In a gruesome parallel we’ll have to pay for the privilege of our own enslavement: the black box will add about £100 to the car price.

If anything, the USSR was more honest than today’s EU. The Soviets didn’t offer any explanations and hence didn’t have to lie. The EU feels it’s safer to explain, which is why it does have to lie.

This is for your own good, the explanation goes. Suppose you have a crash or breakdown in a desert? At night? With no mobile-phone coverage? No food or water? What if you’re bleeding? Having a heart attack? Freezing to death? Wouldn’t you want the police to know where you are?

Even though I can’t think offhand of too many deserts in Europe, the rationale rings true. Except that it isn’t true.

It would be if the tracking technology were offered as an option, like electric seats or bum warmers. In fact the black box already exists and it is indeed available as an extra on BMWs and Volvos.

Thus any lily-livered driver who’s ready to sacrifice his very tangible liberty for the sake of protecting himself from an extremely hypothetical danger can do so. Those whose priorities are different don’t have to.

However, by making the technology mandatory the EU shows its true colours, most of them red. It doesn’t want to help stranded drivers. It wants to put its tyrannical foot down. The black box is a cultural equivalent of the Soviet internal passport.

Our reaction to this outrage? Oh, we’re opposed of course. Transport Minister Robert Goodwill conveys our feelings in a characteristically wishy-washy manner: “The basis for our opposition is that costs to the UK outweigh the benefits.”

Fair enough. So no black box then? Er, don’t be too hasty. “Unfortunately, there is very little support for the UK position and no possibility of blocking this legislation.”

Of course, how silly of me. Our own government is working towards enslaving us individually, while the EU strives to enslave us collectively. Our Parliament is no longer sovereign even in such small matters, which means we’re no longer a sovereign nation but a gau of some sort of foreign Reich, never mind its number.

If you think it’s unsound to reach such a sweeping conclusion on the basis of this one detail, allow me to remind you of the devil and exactly where he lives. 










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