I might not be a vegetarian, but that doesn't put me in the clear as far as the Government is concerned. There are plenty things I do that could attract their attention. Helen Duffett has highlighted them all in a brilliant article for Lib Dem Voice.
Back to my dodgy activities:
I have a mobile phone. And, worse, my husband has one for work and a personal one. I reckon, too, if we look hard enough, we'll find an old pay as you go model gathering dust in the back of a drawer, too.
We have a camera - terrorists like to take pictures of things, you know. I personally don't take photos of sewer covers but that's just weird, not a sign of malevolence of purpose:-)
We have a laptop, a desktop and are considering purchasing another laptop. Could our accumulation of technology be used for purposes more sinister than storing music, blogging, Twitter, e-mailing and Club Penguin?
We have a car and I travel occasionally. The Government suggests that someone may be a terrorist if they "travel but is vague about where they are going." I'm worried now. Is it sufficient to say I'm going to see family up north? What about saying I'm going to work? Or "to the shops?"? Should I always tell my friends and family the exact address I'm going to? Maybe we should always make sure the Police know where we're going, and why, just to be on the safe side? That could be an idea for another protest along the lines of the CC all your e-mails to Jacqui Smith day - tell her what you are doing on a particular day, right down to the last detail:-)
To see just how ridiculous the Government's thinking is, the July 7th bombers could legitimately have said to their loved ones that they were off to London for the day when they went off to do their recce several weeks earlier.
What worries me is that the Government is just encouraging people to report things that could mean anything or nothing - it's almost like the horoscopes you see in the daily press, they are so general that all of them could apply to virtually anybody who reads them - and then the Police waste time and energy going on many, many wild goose chases. This obviously distracts them from catching the many actual criminals who are getting away with making people's lives a misery on a daily basis. And, of course, there are certain communities where suspicion will be disproportionately applied. We'll have an unoffical crime of "walking down the street looking like a Muslim." This is wrong, divisive and totally counter productive.
Of course, extra suspicion could, and in fact, if you read the excellent Home Office Watch, has ended up quite seriously. Just imagine the Police catching me taking photos of Edinburgh Castle which, unknown to me, contain footage of a staff entrance. They then work that I went on the Gaza demo. I could end up being banged up, away from my family, for up to 6 weeks, without even being told why just cos they have added 2 and 2 together and made 723.
Don't think it couldn't happen - if a teenager can be held for hours for handing in a mobile phone that he found, or a musician and his family subject to a terrorist raid (woops, better hide Bob's DJ equipment), where will it all end?
The Government's erosion of our civil liberties doesn't actually catch any terrorists and just makes us look stupid. When will they learn?