They came at night, dozens of them, yelling hate-filled obscenities as they smashed through the unlocked door of our remote cottage in the ‘Marches’. We were dragged from our beds, beaten, molested and thrown into a derelict outhouse. There we were imprisoned, semi-naked in freezing temperatures, while gangs of gleefully out-of-control men, both uniform and plainclothes, rifled through our personal effects, viciously trashed our home and destroyed our few humble belongings. They found nothing – and that made them even more angry. Without being arrested or charged with anything or even informed of any reason for the raid, we were violently forced into the back of an unmarked black van and taken 15 miles to – – – – – – – –. Our ordeal was only just beginning.
The eight of us were incarcerated in a small, windowless cell without food or drink for the next 20 hours. Throughout this period we were each taken away, one-by-one, to be “interviewed”. One of the girls was the first to endure it; she returned shaking and weeping an hour later. I was second. As a harmless, idealistic, 19 year-old, flower-child dreamer, whose only previous experience of the authorities was being ticked off by a local bobby for riding my bicycle at dusk without lights, I could have had no preparation for what was to unfold.
I found myself alone in a carpeted, comfortable office suite with a detective in his 30s, a lean, mean, arrogant, cruel man, high on the power he had over frail, fey me, a living symbol of the counterculture that was such an affront to his unquestioning might-is-right orthodoxy. Leaning back on his swivel chair with his feet on his desk and one hand moving rhythmically in a trouser pocket, he got straight to the point. “Who fucks who in your commune then, Rich? What’s that Italian chick into?”
He would not accept my incomprehension; he would not accept my silence; he would not accept my denials; he wanted satisfaction. Here I learned something I didn’t want to know about myself, something I’ve been trying to counteract ever since: when the choice is between surrender or suffer, I will surrender. I gave him the lurid ‘sexy’ verbals and the hopeless victimhood that so turned him on, and he assaulted me on the carpet. It was like an episode of Life on Mars, except with torture and terror instead of retro stylings and we’ve-come-a-long-way complacency. I didn’t say anything to the others when I got back to the cell.
It was gone midnight before they let us go. We had to walk home. None of us ever made a complaint. Who were we supposed to complain to – the Police Complaints Commission? Don’t make me laugh.
And thus I notched up my inaugural encounter with the true face of the British State via its enforcers on the ground. I had experienced first hand the unspeakable ruthlessness, corruptness, perversity, injustice and brutality at its sick, rotten heart. There could be no turning back…or could there?
Lately, various people have told me that my blogs are becoming tamer, less combative, less hard-hitting and less political. Instead of taking ‘them’ on with turbo-charged rants, I’m merely producing lightweight recipes, crosswords, nature rambles, scatological jokes and meditations on death. “Have they got to you, Dic?” someone asked the other day. “Umm, on reflection, yes,” I replied.
You bet they’ve got to me. You can’t stick your head over the parapet like I’ve been doing for decades and not come to the attention of the British State, whose subjects are the most spied upon, surveilled, monitored, tracked, infiltrated and regulated on the planet. In the last couple of years alone Daily Wales, the online Welsh newspaper I helped set up in 2014, has been hacked to death by cyber-attacks; my radical reinterpretation of the official story, Cardiff The Biography, has been effectively boycotted by Cardiff libraries; my public email account has come under perpetual onslaught from malicious trolls; I’m pretty certain my phone is being tapped; and I’ve been repeatedly threatened with everything from libel action to outright physical attack. Of course they’ve got to me!
As a result, I’ve consciously changed tactics and reverted back to the strategy that allowed me to survive that assault in – – – – – – – – all those years ago: give in. Yes, that’s right: the fight’s over; I throw in the towel; they won. Therefore I can now announce that I am available to supply bespoke anagrams, limericks, spoonerisms, slightly amusing anecdotes and enthusiastic endorsements of wonderful, inspirational, vibrant, diverse, beautiful Great Britain. And I can do poignant meditations on death! I would be especially interested in hearing from the publishing empire of a Mr R Murdoch, to whom I send this personal message: make me an offer, I can be bought.