The former Communist state of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany), which collapsed and was incorporated into the Federal Republic of Germany on October 3rd 1990 was a Stalinist hell hole. It was a place where there was little or no freedom of speech or of conscience where the State determined what you should do say and even think.
Like many other Communist nations the German Democratic Republic (the GDR) was a place where access to information, especially information from the free Western world, was limited and strictly controlled by the State. The GDR was also a place where any form of dissent was harshly punished. People could find themselves in serious criminal trouble for voicing opinions that were not on the list of opinions that the state permitted citizens to express. If a person spoke about how different East Germany was from West Germany or talked about reading a West German newspaper or made even the mildest of criticisms of the GDR governing system and a person could lose their jobs, be prevented from travelling to West Germany to see relatives or even be jailed.
On top of that the internal security service, the Stasi, kept a very large stable of informers who would grass up anyone who did anything in the remotely bit politically suspicious such as read the ‘wrong’ book or say the ‘wrong’ thing. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall and the demise of East Germany, many of the files of the Stasi started to be studied by historians and others. What they revealed was a horrifically widespread network of ordinary East German citizens who acted as informers for the Stasi. These informers were everywhere and could be anyone. They could be acquaintances, workmates, friends or even members of a person’s own family. Anybody a person encountered and to whom they may have confided in with their expressed dissatisfaction with life in the GDR, could be a Stasi informer. Following the demise of East Germany it was estimated that approximately 2% of the East German population acted as Stasi informers. It was an appallingly restricted and fearful way for the citizens of East Germany to live in.
I doubt that anyone in modern Britain would wish to live in such a society where each word has to be measured and carefully said in case an informer is nearby who will carry the person’s words swiftly to the State. I also believe that there are not that many people who would consider that a society which had so many people prepared to grass on their own fellow citizens for expressing a contrary opinion in any way a healthy one. George Orwell in his novel ‘1984’ imagining a future totalitarian state said: ‘If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever.’. However the Communist leaders of East Germany’s version of the totalitarian future that they desired, rather than like Orwell who feared such a future, was one where every ‘wrong’ book read, or ‘unsound’ opinion expressed or even an overhead conversation could be picked up by an informer and passed onto the totalitarian state. I look back at that time and the documentation of it and I feel nothing but disgust for those East Germans, who for nothing more than a pat on the head by the local Party bosses or some minor perk or a small amount of cash, inform on their fellows. I ask myself how could they do this, sometimes even to their own families? They were in British parlance ‘filthy grasses’ and people to be quite rightly despised for what they did. What really stinks about the East German system was that people were being grassed up not for real crimes such as murder or burglary or whatever, but for saying the ‘wrong’ thing.
East Germany was a nightmare that thankfully the world has woken up from and now the Eastern states of Germany are incorporated into a new united Germany. The East German state, its oppressive culture and the Stasi itself are now confined to the history books. Unfortunately, although the Stasi has gone, that doesn’t mean that the world is free of those who would inform, to the State and other authorities, on others who do not in their view hold or express the right politically correct opinions. Even worse and for me more stomach-churning than the mere existence of such enemies of free speech, is the fact that in the United Kingdom today ordinary, decent individuals are being grassed up by other citizens for expressing ‘non approved’ opinions about immigration matters. It’s disgusting it really is. How on earth can people lower themselves to make reports to others on overheard conversations that are really bugger all to do with them?
The reason for the long GDR related introduction is because when I read that a volunteer at a railway heritage centre had had a private conversation overheard and reported on by a ‘member of the public’ I got a chill running down my spine. I was struck immediately by the similarities in the attitude of the UK informer and those who I’ve read about which operated in the GDR.
The story concerns an elderly gentleman who had volunteered for long while to wind the station clock at Carnforth Station, a clock made famous in the classic British movie ‘Brief Encounter’. A family overhead a conversation that Jim Walker, 71, was having with a third party about the problem of fake Syrian ‘child refugees’. This family of filthy grasses then went to the heritage trusts management and threatened to take the matter to the police and have Mr Walker prosecuted for a ‘hate crime’ if the railway heritage organisation didn’t take action themselves. My first thought when I read this story was that Mr Walker is entitled to his right of freedom of speech and my second thought was that this family appear to the the archetypal definition of untrustworthy censorious scum.
Here’s part of this story from the Daily Telegraph of the 7th February 2017. As is usual policy for this blog the original quoted text is in italics whereas my comments are in plain text.
The Daily Telegraph said:
Standing above the station platform where they first met it was the timepiece which, with an iron hand, governed Trevor Howard and Celia Johnson’s short-lived affair and determined when they should part.
But the clock which played such a symbolic role in the 1945 British cinema classic Brief Encounter has been stilled – the victim of a very modern row over allegedly racist comments made by the man who until now kept it working.
Jim Walker has been banned from key parts of the station at Carnforth, in Lancashire, after he was overheard by a member of the public talking about comments about child migrants and refugees.
The opinions that he expressed are opinions that many of us express. There is justifiable unease about the differences between the stated and perceived ages of these alleged ‘child’ migrants. It is highly likely that a large number of those who in no way can be called children are pretending to be in their early to mid teens in order get a better deal from the UK’s migration and asylum system. Whether one agrees with Mr Walker’s views or not in a civilised and free society he should have the right to express them.
As a result the clock – which in the film signals when Johnson’s character Laura must leave Alec, played by Howard, and catch the train back to her husband – stands permanently stuck at 9.46.
The row exploded after a family visiting the station last October overheard Mr Walker making what they said were racist comments about child refugees, in response to a column he was reading in a national newspaper.
Just think about this for a second. This family of filthy grasses informed on him over something Mr Walker was discussing in a newspaper, a discussion that had nothing to do with this family of prod-noses. A man has seemingly been unreasonably penalised for merely expressing an opinion this is what a culture of political correctness has got us, it’s disgraceful, shoddy and downright rude behaviour by this family.
The article questioned whether the migrants and refugees arriving from Calais were children and whether they were in any real danger.
A question that is justifiably correct to ask.
Peter Crowther, chairman of the Carnforth Station Trust, which runs the heritage centre at the station, told The Telegraph: “A visitor to the station who was with his family complained about insulting and racist comments made by Mr Walker.
“He said that if action wasn’t taken he would report the matter as a hate crime to the police.”
I still find it difficult to get into the head space of someone who would threaten an old boy like this with possible arrest over a discussion of a newspaper article? It’s utterly unbelievably vile and petty behaviour.
Members of the trust interviewed a number of witnesses about the incident and decided to ban Mr Walker from those parts of the station it operates and rents from Network Rail.
This is what we’ve come to folks by having a culture of political correctness, formal investigations into the expression of an opinion.
The trust said Mr Walker, who the trust claims refused to attend the meeting at which his fate was decided, has since refused to wind the clock up.
“Mr Walker has been given the right to go into the station to get the tools to maintain the clock without having to go into trust buildings and he is not doing it,” said Mr Crowther. “The clock not being wound up is his personal decision and nothing to do with the trust.”
Sounds very like the Trust have decided to throw Mr Walker to the wolves and submit to PC bullying.
But Mr Walker, 71, hit back at the ban, saying: “It’s a matter of free speech. I was talking to a friend, discussing a newspaper article which questioned the comparison being made between the Calais migrants and the Jewish kindertransport children who fled to Britain in 1939.
Mr Walker is 100% correct to question this comparison. A detailed examination of the circumstances and history of the Kindertransport shows a number of glaring and irreconcilable differences between that amazing rescue of genuine children from the jaws of death and the mass of chancers, fake refugees and economic migrants that make up a large amount of the so-called ‘Syrian refugees’.
“I said it was a ridiculous comparison because the kindertransport children were being rescued from the jaws of death. I didn’t say anything I’d consider offensive or deserving of what’s happened to me.
Well bloody said Mr Walker. I also believe that the comparisons between the Kindertransport and the current lot of alleged ‘refugees’ is both false and insulting to those who came to the UK on the Kindertransport. Apart from the fact that British citizens had to put up bonds to cover the costs of bringing the Kindertransport children to the UK and their keep, there’s also the matter of behaviour once they arrived. These children behaved well and when they grew up, the Kindertransport children made immense contributions to the economy, culture and life of the UK. The fake ‘Syrian refugees’ on the other hand have been nothing but trouble. They have often made outrageous demands on the residents of host countries, have been prolific criminals, have committed appalling numbers and types of sexual crimes against the citizens of the nations that took them in and have been linked with several jihad incidents. The difference between the Kindertransport children and the fake ‘refugees’ is extremely stark.
“No wonder people nowadays are scared to say what they think. They are scared of being labelled racist. Where has the right to free speech gone? It is not as if I was Hitler addressing a rally.”
Again Mr Walker is correct in his assertion. He’s not Hitler or even a disciple of the uni-testicled Austrian mass murderer. He is just an ordinary peaceful seemingly decent bloke expressing a peaceful opinion. I don’t pick up anywhere from the story that Mr Walker was criticising anybody’s race or anything else that cannot be changed, he was just speaking about British immigration policy, that’s all. Mr Walker’s case also highlights the chilling effect on free speech that ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crime’ laws are having on the British people. Rights to freedom of speech, rights won by and defended by previous generations often at the cost of their own lives are being trampled on by those for whom ‘not giving offence’ is their only ideology.
I hope Mr Walker beats these craven politically correct bastards at the Trust and I also hope that the grassing family are exposed to the world. They need to be so that they can be subjected, peacefully of course, to the necessary, justified public opprobrium that grassing up an old man for a ‘politically incorrect’ opinion deserves. This is Britain and not the old German Democratic Republic, thankfully, and I get the sense that this family of grasses would fit right in with the GDR culture of regularly informing on neighbours, friends and family.
Original Daily Telegraph article
Britannica page on the Stasi
Der Spiegel article on the extent of GDR citizens acting as informers for the Stasi
Sydney Morning Herald article on how East German children are leaning about the evils of their secret police