Dette er et tyve minutters foredrag om ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, den nye traktat om ophavsret, der forhandles på plads i dybeste hemmelighed i disse dage. Vi snakker nye drakoniske muligheder og straffe. Hvis lobbyisterne ender med at få magt som de har agt i denne sag, kan threee strikes-love og fængselsstraffe for download af musik til eget forbrug hurtigt blive dagens orden.
George Monbiot funderer over spørgsmålet i The Guardian, og nævner, hvordan ‘terrorlovene’ og den almindelige paranoia ærligt og redeligt har kostet en hel del frihed:
Gone are the days when you could announce a happening, call up a few mates with drums and guitars, and put the word out that something groovy and free was about to kick off. In these buttoned-down times, it would be treated like an al-Qaida training camp. Today, you must apply for a licence and spend months of your life filling in forms and liaising with the various responsible authorities. There are good reasons for this: it ensures that no one is crushed to death and that local people aren’t harried by intolerable noise and disruption. There are also bad reasons: the controlling, snooping, curtain-twitching state tendencies which insist that all spontaneity be planned six months in advance, that no one can ever take her top off or smoke homegrown weed or get a little bit outrageous – even within a festival site – for fear of offending some tight-arsed busybody in desperate need of a life.
The organisers applied for their licence in February, and spent the intervening months trying to meet the conditions. These included 450 security guards, a steel perimeter fence and watchtowers, and free wristbands for 12 undercover police officers, who could move through the crowds ensuring that no one was enjoying themselves too much. The site would have more of the ambience of a prison camp than a hippy festival, but at least it would conform to regulations…
Here, in miniature, is a classic example of that whole British approach to our relationship with the US, which I call the Jeeves school of diplomacy. Impeccable manners; a discreet smile; always perfect loyalty in public; but privately murmuring insistently, “Is that wise, Sir?” And back home in Jeeves’s own club, frequented – as devotees of PG Wodehouse will recall – only by gentlemen’s gentlemen (ie butlers), you tut-tut about the foolish conduct of the masters.
This has, in some measure, been a British approach for more than 60 years, ever since hegemony passed across the Atlantic. (For this Jeeves was himself a master once.) But it has been a national strategy with ever diminishing returns, and it has no remedy for the circumstance that Bertie Wooster goes berserk. What does Jeeves do when Wooster starts torturing people in a back room, or getting a Moroccan butcher to do the penis-slashing for him? What if Wooster embarks on what you believe is a dangerous and mistaken war? From everything we know so far, the British Jeeves’s answer was to murmur by turns: “Might I assist you, Sir?”; and “Is that wise, Sir?” That was the approach not just on particular horrors like extraordinary rendition but also on the Iraq war and the whole misbegotten concept of the “Global War on Terror”. For all along, the Foreign Office, and much of the British government, knew better, knew that this was not wise or right, and would privately tell you so.
Danmark er i sammenhængen så ikke Bertie Woosters Jeeves, men hans jagthund. Men ellers, touché.