A Dictionary of Terms for the Shafted: political policing

This is the second installment of the dictionary. I felt we needed new terms to help us describe the increasing intimidation of protesters in the UK.

Kettle of First Resort: The use of ‘containment’ – holding people against their will and without intention to charge them – as a standard tactic rather than (as claimed) as a last resort.

Open Kettle: A variant of the above, but with porous police lines. The intention is to take control of the space from the protest while allowing individuals to move through the lines. An Open Kettle can become a standard kettle at any moment.

Pressure Cooker: An Open Kettle in which the police progressively move inwards, diminishing the space in which the protesters can move. Those who maintain this is not meant to be intimidating are welcome to stand inside one.

Threatening Letters: Sent to ‘known protesters’ before a protest, to threaten them with the law if they don’t obey the law. Also useful if you’ve lost your diary and can’t remember when the next protest is.

Bouncer Bill: searching people on the way to protests. The victims are chosen according to a set of unstated prejudices and like the bigotted bouncer at the door of the nightclub, the excuse is ‘the safety of everyone’, even though these searches never uncover anything.

March Under Siege: A protest march that is only allowed to move under control of the police to the front, rear and sides of the march. Announcing your route helps the police lay the siege.

Polluted Protest: A protest in which there are so many undercover police that no one will be able to tell afterwards which side did what to who.

Shock And Awe Teams: also known as ‘snatch squads’ – the use of overwhelming violence to take out minor perceived threats. The police launch themselves into a crowd with batons at the ready and emerge with a candidate for the next definition.

Restrained Violence: Police violence against one already restrained, whether on the ground or in cuffs.

Public Exposure: Targetting the media with stories about your enormous weaponry in the days before a protest so as to intimidate those going.

Time-restricted Liberty: The setting of a definite time limit on your right to assembly and expression. The police attempt to send people home after this, like teachers telling children playtime is over.

A Successful Protest: In police language, this means one sufficiently dampened by police threats and violence that it can be ignored by the establishment.

Political Vetting: The bit in the post-protest press conference where the police spokesman outlines who was or was not a ‘legitimate’ protester.

Total Policing: Er, presumably the kind of policing you expect in a totalitarian state. This is the latest Metropolitan Police slogan.

How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck…was given a government woodchucking grant?

I don’t know the answer but I’m pretty sure part of the condition of the grant would be an outcomes-orientated monitoring process that would provide quantative data on woodchucking measurables as the evidence base for key performance indicators.

So the information you require would almost certainly be hidden away somewhere in the back of the annual woodchucking report – it’s just a matter of knowing where to look and what degree of ‘bullshit factor’ to add in to the mix when assessing the figures. You know the woodchuck fudged the numbers.

You may also need to question the assumption that a woodchuck does nothing but chuck wood, and ask would the woodchuck chuck other stuff too if it were given the chance?

Also to consider: what distortions does the government woodchucking grant bring to the woodchuck’s woodchuck lobbying campaign as a result of becoming dependent on woodchucking grants?