The Age of the Sneak

Vernon Coleman

We are living in the age of the sneak. And it is deeply unpleasant.

A couple of hundred years ago, when I was younger, there were few lower forms of human being than the sneak.

Children who ‘told tales’ on their classmates would be ostracised.

Neighbours who maliciously spied on others and spread gossip would find themselves ‘sent to Coventry’.

Back in the ridiculously simple days of honesty and decency and respect and privacy, sneaks were strongly disliked. Sneaking was not the right thing to do. It wasn’t what good, honest people did.

Indeed, rather than tell tales on their contemporaries people would lie, take the blame themselves or claim that they’d walked into a door.

Sneaks were thought to be bad, bad people. Treacherous. They were traitors; the lowest of the low. They were people who happily sold their souls for a mess of potage or anything else that was on offer.

But today every other person is a sneak, damn their hides.

It is the new fashion, the new industry, the latest trend. And the little bastards are everywhere.

They are the cyclists with little cameras fitted to their helmets. They slimy little Lycra clad toads will turn you in if they managed to catch you sliding a wheel into a bus lane.

They are the motorists and lorry drivers with dash cameras. If they catch you hogging the centre lane they send off their little films to the police. If they film you eating a toffee then they report you to the authorities.

They are the concerned local citizens who set up private speed cameras and report motorists to the police if they travel at 22 mph in a 20 mph school zone even if it’s 6.30 p.m. on a Saturday night.

They are the people with mobile phones who film you if you dare to put your rubbish bin out an hour early or cram a little something forbidden into your wheelie bin. And then they send off their bit of film to the council.

They are the people who film you parked on double yellow lines while you pop into the chemist to pick up a prescription. And then put their little film online and send a copy to the local Plod.

They are the doctors who dob you in to the police at the drop of a hat, and the accountants and lawyers who dob you in to the tax people if they think you might have forgotten to declare £1.09 in interest from a forgotten savings account.

They are the relatives and neighbours who dob in the woman next door to anyone who will listen, if they suspect she is sharing a bed and seeking a little human warmth on cold winter nights, heaven forbid.

In the old days, it was Us versus Them.

Now, everyone has joined the forces of Them.

It hasn’t happened by accident, of course.

It has been engineered deliberately to make us all feel uncomfortable, threatened, anxious and, most of all, oh yes most certainly most of all, paranoid.

The people who do the sneaking, bought with bribes if they do or threatened with prison if they don’t, think they are doing the right thing; probably believe (like the naïve citizens who wash out their yoghurt pots and their beer cans and think they are saving the planet from certain doom) that they are making the world a better, safer, fairer place.

They aren’t, of course.

They are doing just the opposite.

It may seem difficult to blame the ones who are sneaking because they are forced to do so: the doctors, the accountants and the lawyers.

Individually they don’t have much choice.

But as a group they should have resisted and refused to cooperate with laws which threatened their relationship with their patients or clients.

But the ones who choose to sneak just for the hell of it, and because they can, are despicable and treacherous.

They have sold out to the bad guys.

And now they are the bad guys.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2017