Checking the post this morning, I found that a package I’d been expecting from France had arrived. It’s a software CD, sent by a French friend, containing some audio software which he could no longer use as it won’t run on his new Vista64 machine, which he’d sent me because my very old copy of Cubase VST won’t run on my XP machine (it would run under Win98, but I can’t be bothered to dual boot, and if I did many of the newer toys wouldn’t run anyway on 98, etc, etc).
The CD was in a card envelope, standard 100g one. That in turn was in a Royal Mail plastic bag, upon which were the words-
Our Sincere Apologies
I am sorry that the enclosed item, addressed to you, has been damaged whilst in our care. Although we do all we can to prevent such damage, it does occasionally occur.
Except the envelope hasn’t been damaged. It has been opened- neatly along the perforations along the top.
Now it doesn’t need much imagination to conclude that this was so somebody could take a look at what was on the CD inside. Was somebody looking for kiddie porn, or “terrorist” plans, and disappointed mightily by the discovery of nothing but Cubasis 4? What I find depressing was my own reaction; the presumption that a functionary of the State has opened my mail.
Now of course I can’t prove that’s true. Maybe it was a post office worker hoping for porn, but it seems to me we’ve now reached the stage where nobody would be surprised at the State routinely going through our mail. We used to criticise the Soviet Union and other dictatorships for such things. Now, we are so beaten by the State that we accept it here. Or at least, I do.
We’re already in a police state, aren’t we?