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This Just In: Everything Is Broken

Does anyone ever just feel numb to the world we live in?

I can’t remember what news story I wanted to write about today originally. Probably something about RyanAir being in the news yet again for being absolutely terrible, I imagine. But then last night the news broke that David Miranda, partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was held at Heathrow Airport for nine hours straight, with no access to a lawyer, and ultimately had all his electronic equipment stolen from him by police.

He was held, apparently, under the Terrorism Act, which makes all of Heathrow’s actions completely legal, although naturally questions are being asked about what terrorist activities he was actually connected to. After all, the evidence pretty much stacks up to show that he’s little more than the partner of a journalist who was helping receive some documents on the NSA surveillance story from a filmmaker in Berlin. That’s not terrorism, that’s being a journalist.

Now, you’ll be able to read a ton of hand-wringing and outrage from the general press about this today. You’ll be seeing Labour demand an inquiry be launched into the Terrorism Act, as Ed Milliband and co suffer from a severe bout of amnesia that causes them to forget who introduced it in the first place (hint: it wasn’t the current government). You’ll be seeing lawyers and Amnesty International demanding answers. You’ll be seeing human rights campaigners falling over themselves to show this up for the legalised kidnapping and theft it essentially is.

Me? I’m just sitting here staring at my computer unable to compute how bad things have gotten in regards to human rights and freedom of speech. Journalists are terrorists and I’m going out of my mind trying to figure out when I woke up in Bizarro World.

I have no words or opinion on the matter anymore. Part of me wants to scream and shout and say how wrong all this is, how truly obvious it becomes that we don’t live in a democracy, but the rest of me just slumps in a heap and stares in space.

I want to joke around and poke fun at the situation, making the politicians and police and border agents and whoever else is involved in this look silly. But I can’t find a way to make this funny. This is terrible, and everyone involved should feel terrible. I can’t even feel angry because I’ve grown to accept that this is how governments of the world, especially Britain, are acting now.

I wish I could pull everybody involved into a room, stand in front of them all, fall to my knees and just let out an exasperated “WHY?!” That is my only reaction to all of this, from the surveillance programs, to the dogged pursuit of Edward Snowden, to the repeated lines that “it’s all for your safety” to the detaining of journalists for nine hours straight. If all this is for our safety, why don’t I feel safe?

It’s almost becoming a cliché to say the real terrorists are the government, but it’s one that’s kind of apt when the last time I felt threatened by a Muslim man was in 2005. Meanwhile, I’ve spent the last few months of my life feeling ashamed to be British for a number of reasons, and wondering when the increasingly bad and increasingly invasive decisions made by the government are just going to simply stop. Like David Cameron just wakes up one day and realises that he’s a massive cock and reverses every stupid decision he or his party ever made. Which, with the exception of legalising gay marriage, is all of them.

Want to know how bad it’s gotten? A few weeks back, I went on a tweeting binge about the royal baby. In the midst of this, Cameron announced the proposed porn block, and in my annoyance I tweeted that I’d quite like to throw a chair at him. It was playful, it was meant in jest, and it was not meant as a serious threat.

However, after the Twitter Joke Trial several months ago, I got paranoid and deleted the tweet within five minutes, afraid that somehow some GCHQ spider would find the tweet, and have me arrested for making threats to the Prime Minister. How is it, in what is supposed to be a free country with freedom of speech as a fundamental right, that I can feel so paranoid about an offhand tweet like that? What country am I living in now? What is going on?

I hope something gets done about this Greenwald case. I support any efforts to drag it out in the open and expose it for the abuse of power it is. But until it all blows over, I wish I could just crawl in a cave somewhere and cry. It doesn’t help that things don’t seem much better elsewhere. Russia is criminalising gay people, the Middle East is pretty much on fire, Greece is filled with small-scale concentration camps and the US is complicit in this whole spying business in the first place.

Does anyone else feel this way? Like they want to just hide away while the rest of the world goes to crap? Does anyone else feel jaded about how badly represented they are by the people supposedly working for our benefit? Does anyone fancy moving to some deserted island and setting up a new country with me? Only awesome people with brains need apply. We could show them how to do it properly.

I will be back Wednesday with a gaming post, but until then, I’ll just be here staring into space some more. Don’t mind me.

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