AS IF Remembrance Day hasn’t suffered enough of a bashing, it could soon be usurped by something called ‘Singles Day’, a digital Chinese holiday invented by retailers to celebrate consumerism and pumped out to the masses through channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok. Of course they chose November 11. As aptly noted in this TCW post, ‘Those we remember on November 11 perished to preserve a way of life which has been destroyed by corrupt and weak-willed fools’.
Visiting such social media sites this month, with the retail sacraments of Black Friday, Cyber Monday and now Singles Day, means meeting a bombardment of slick gyrating multi-pierced ‘influencers’ celebrating their ‘freedom’ to splash out because buying things feels so much better for their baby egos than reflecting on the sacrifices of previous generations and innocent victims of terror dying in anguish.
As poppy-sellers risk physical assault for volunteering on behalf of the Royal British Legion and veterans have been warned not to wear their medals for fear of inciting violence, nothing so much reeks of the stench of ingratitude and snivelling self-absorbed narcissism as this barrage of online shopping adverts.
I will spare you the nauseating examples, for you can imagine them. And what better place for this new holiday to originate from than corporately fascistic China, which is not a communist but a totalitarian fascist nation. I have never visited but am told by friends who have that everything there is very well ordered. The streets are clean and safe without the blight of open-air drug markets and scores of homeless as in most major American cities. In London you have only to walk past Euston Station to see rough sleepers lined along the pavement, open the paper to read about the latest teen stabbing victim and (as in most every other UK city) view dealers brazenly selling hard drugs around nearly every area of social housing.
We must lay some blame for the abject failure by police to stop criminals and gangs from running wild with the likes of BLM, Antifa and ‘defund the police’ chanting protesters (American imports no doubt bent on turning our cities into hellscapes like their own). However, another piece of the conundrum lies with ‘two-tiered’ policing (a phenomenon attested to in this tweet from an ex-cop).
Laura Dodsworth explains two-tiered policing in her account of the London 2020 anti-lockdown protests. You could have witnessed it on a beautiful sunny day in the park during one lockdown, when a fleet of police vans rolled in to deal with the crime of families having picnics. I decided to hightail it with my friend and our whisky-filled coffee cups rather than face arrest. Who were the police there to bust – toddlers enjoying some fresh air or their exhausted parents surreptitiously opening the rosé?
It isn’t necessary to (but I will) point out this approach was employed to entrench in the public mind a practice of discriminatory policing and to fulfil the outcome of allowing rampant criminal behaviour to go unchecked whilst flexing an authoritarian role for law enforcement. Nothing about this looks set to change in the near future, particularly if Labour assume power.
Our Prime Minister’s romance with foreign (American and Chinese) players at the AI Safety Summit a couple of weeks ago says a lot about the planned trajectory, which again makes no difference whether Labour or the Tories are in power.
This also points to an intended result of automation as replacement for current human processes. Much as the first automobiles like the Model T Ford freed horses from the backbreaking task of pulling carriages, modern AI will liberate those charged with implementing government mandates to do more meaningful work. What could be better than tracking and managing individuals who dare to leave their homes for engaging in a protest or Remembrance Day or simply having a cuppa in the park? In a universe without regard for individual freedoms (the one the Chinese have and our leaders wish for us), AI provides the most efficient solution for maintaining law and order. A State-controlled technology-driven surveillance system can be programmed as the most equitable and effective at monitoring and can address issues around discriminatory enforcement. It would also be completely impervious to emotions – a perfectly balanced and final solution.
But until the day when bots take over our streets we can at least celebrate our fallen heroes; wear a poppy, switch off the phone and rubbish Singles Day.