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We are becoming the kind of society that the Stasi could only wish for

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Travel row: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Travel row: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

REUTERS

Travel row: Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings. Photo: REUTERS/Hannah McKay

The 2006 Oscar-winning movie The Lives of Others centred on an agent for the hated East German Stasi who bugged people. It featured citizens informing on each other out of spite or personal interest.

It resonated with me because my first holiday was to Romania in the late 1970s. My Da was a communist so it made sense to head to Ceaușescu's workers' paradise, but after seeing the stifling mood of fear and lack of trust between ordinary Romanians, he burned his party card as soon as we returned.

It's hard to escape the impression that we are becoming the kind of society that the Stasi could only wish for.