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05 October 2005

Red Ken - The Socialist Smartcard Fascist

Who would have thought that the new face of smartcard fascism would be none other than 'Red' Ken Livingstone.

The man who levelled Nazi prison warden jibes at a journalist for giving him a hard time is now forcing digital identification and tracking technology on Londoners through price-fixing heavily against using cash to pay for travel in London.

Yesterday 'Red' Ken announced a 100% increase in the price of train fares for London passengers who opt to pay cash while slashing the price for holders of the privacy-invading Oyster Card to half of the cash price.

Stopping people from using cash on London's public transport and "forcing" them to use Oyster cards that track their every journey around London's transport systems "is the ultimate objective" of the new public transport price hikes says 'Red' Ken.

The question must be, 'Why is it the ultimate objective, Ken, and which master are you serving today?"

Speaking at City Hall, the Mayor whined:
"The simple message is that you don't have to pay the new cash fares - switch to Oyster and pay as you go and you will save money as well as time.

I believe Londoners are astute enough to choose the best value fare for their journey."

As 'Red' Ken forces tracking smartcards onto Londoners with loosely-veiled jibes about cash advocates not being quite as smart as those who 'choose' to submit to the technologies of political control the least expensive 'option', it is perhaps worth remembering a few choice words from some leftie doctrine or another which went something like:
"All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind."

The rules of the game are always changing but as Ken says, "Londoners are astute enough to choose the best" which by now no longer includes Red Ken, his Oyster cards or indeed anyone else that seeks to browbeat the populace into submission.

4 comments:

D-Notice said...

If he's a socialist-fascist does that make him a Stalinist?

Anonymous said...

I don't consider it a privacy issue: as long as I use the pay-as-you-go option there's no way of matching me up as a person to my travelling habits.

The Antagonist said...

Anonymous - Which bit of the word 'forcing' do you fail to comprehend?

Unchecked oppression becomes greater when left unchecked, not lesser. Read a bit of history sometime.

Interesting also, perhaps, to note that someone defending privacy invading smart-card technologies would then choose to comment anonymously.

It's irony at a base level but I like it.

Anonymous said...

There's no irony in posting anonymously; I have a pay-as-you-go oyster card which I use anonymously, too.

See, I'm not disputing the "forcing" part of the argument: I'm talking about privacy. Which part of "as long as I use the pay-as-you-go option there's no way of matching me up as a person to my travelling habits" don't you understand?

Until they force me to link my identity to my card, then Oyster has no more privacy issues than allowing cookies in your browser on sites which you don't have a login for -- i.e. some around the ability to aggregate data and perhaps present targetted adverts, but none around my personal identity.

If you're arguing that once we've all got Oyster cards then they'll force us to register our names, then maybe you have a point. But I would fight that battle separately. There are plenty of good reasons to encourage people to use anonymous Oyster cards: fewer queues, ability to plan the transport system more efficiently, etc.