Today it seems as though the UK is taking another minor step towards the conditioning of its citizens to accept martial law. Having already used the armed forces to provide security at the 2012 Olympics, the Prime Minister, David Cameron, is now calling upon the armed forces to cover for workers during Trade Union strikes. “Fuel taker drivers, firefighters, immigration staff, train and tube drivers and prison officers” are among the jobs that the Mail Online reports the Army could take over.
While I know this isn’t full-scale martial law, it certainly seems frighteningly close to it. According to Wikipedia:
Martial law is usually imposed on a temporary basis when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively (e.g., maintain order and security, or provide essential services), when there are extensive riots and protests, or when the disobedience of the law becomes widespread.
Using the army to “provide essential services” on a “temporary basis”. Sounds a lot like the exact thing Cameron is calling for — and he’s already put troops on a “seven day alert” in case they should be needed. Which comes not long after a decision to cut the size of the UK’s armed forces due to the current economic situation.
Surely the army is there for better reasons than this? Securing sports events and acting as prison officers? I already feel the armed forces are being misused on a daily basis when they open fire on foreign soil, but now they’re going to start marching around with their machine guns here in the UK itself?
What’s more frightening than the idea of the army running the show, is that I feel like I’m the only one who finds it frightening. The general population appears to have no fears whatsoever for the possible implications this can have in the future. Nobody seems to fear the idea that zero opposition to these acts could lead to the army being thrown around the country willy-nilly in the future.
Am I crazy? Should we all just be falling to our knees in praise of the “wonderful job” our armed forces perform? What’s going to happen when they start rolling the tanks out onto the streets?
Would love to hear you share your thoughts in the comments.
Image: Oliver Dixon