Throughout the UK, hundreds of suspected hippies have been arrested in a massive police operation designed to crackdown on the corrosive effects of 1960s radicalism. “We’re taking the threat posed by this group very seriously,” says West Midlands Assistant Chief Constable Tom Handle, explaining why over a hundred armed officers clad in full body armour and chemical protection suits were needed to raid a Walsall Job Centre and arrest thirty staff members – all grey haired and most wearing old corduroy jackets with leather patches at the elbows – at gunpoint. “Available intelligence on these suspects indicated that all had been involved in subversive anti-establishment activities and many were associated with underground anarchist publications advocating the violent overthrow of the government. Their Special Branch files also suggested that we might be at risk from their red-hot lentil soup and the noxious fumes produced by their pipes and roll-ups.” Meanwhile, in Oxford a group of primary school children were left in a state of shock after armed police burst into their classroom during an art lesson and beat their teacher to the floor with batons before dragging her away in handcuffs. In a similar incident, twenty students at a Taunton Further Education College required hospital treatment following a raid in which riot police fired CS gas canisters into their classroom before proceeding to arrest the entire sociology department. All the suspects, most of whom have subsequently been released without charge, vehemently deny the charges. “This is bloody ridiculous – I grew my hair long and went on a few peace marches and rallies in the late sixties, but I’ve been a civil servant since 1974,” says Ron Linger, a fifty-five year old Executive Officer in the Walsall Job Centre. “If I was a subversive, surely they wouldn’t have given me the job in the first place, especially if there was a file on me?”

His alleged co-conspirators tell similar stories, with one admitting to having set the crossword clues in the Spring 1968 issue of counter culture magazine Freak Out (approximate circulation: 11), another confessing that she had attended a Yoko Ono exhibition in 1970 and ‘Big Bob’ Stay, the Centre’s disability benefit claims advisor, admitting to having owned a ‘Doors’ album. Evidence against the other alleged subversives appeared even flimsier – Taunton sociology lecturer Jim Cush, age fifty two, was apparently arrested because he was wearing John Lennon-style granny glasses, (“They’re my spare pair as well – my usual ones are being repaired,” he claims), whilst his colleague Ben Lumber – age fifty four – was detained on the grounds that he sported a pony tail. Perhaps most bizarrely, the Oxford primary school teacher, fifty three year old Anna Plover, found herself accused of gross public indecency. “They had some thirty five year old photo taken by some Special Branch pervert supposedly showing me having oral sex with some bloke backstage at a ‘Rolling Stones’ concert – it’s so grainy and faded that it’s impossible to make out what is going on! It could just be someone eating a hotdog,” she claims, although she does vaguely recall having given Mick Jagger a blowjob whilst a groupie in the late 1960s. “Actually, it might have been Bill Wyman, or the bloke who unloaded their speakers from the van – who knows? I was tripping at the time.”

The authorities have been quick to defend their use of nearly forty year old intelligence in the operation. “It is a well-established fact that offenders always re-offend; rehabilitation is just another liberal myth,” declares the Metropolitan Police’s Assistant Commissioner, Tevor Holloway. “Our entire crime-solving strategy is based upon this premise – every time a crime is committed we just go out and arrest the usual suspects; criminals on remand, criminals released from prison, the children of criminals (it runs in the genes you know). It saves so much time – crimes are always committed by professional criminals.” Consequently, he has no sympathy for those arrested as suspected hippies. “They should have thought of the consequences when they were happily cavorting around drugged up and naked in the mud at Glastonbury, expressing their ‘free love’, or holding up the traffic in central London during one of their protests! Some of us were working for a living – subsidising those idle bastards’ dole money and student grants,” he points out. He is particularly scathing toward Plover. “It’s all very well her saying it was a youthful indiscretion – what if that filthy photo of her had somehow found its way out of Special Branch’s highly classified files and into the national press, eh? What if her pupils had been exposed to such degradation? People like that shouldn’t be allowed the opportunity to corrupt little kiddies – she already had seven year olds doing abstract art, you know! All green and yellow splodges instead of nice flowers and horses, bloody disgraceful!”

The anti-hippie operation has the full backing of the government, which sees a return to traditional values as essential to restoring social stability in Britain. “We’ve always promised that we’d be tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime,” Prime Minister Tony Blair told a press conference following the raids. “There is no doubt that the 1960s consensus on crime and social issues – all that woolly-headed, wishy-washy nonsense about tolerance and rehabilitation – has fundamentally undermined social order. We need to establish firm moral values and fixed notions of right and wrong, instead of all this relativist nonsense which says that other people’s values might be just as valid as ours. If generations of school children hadn’t been taught such rubbish, I’d never have had all that trouble over Iraq – they’d have known I was right!”

Blair’s sentiments have been echoed by his Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who has promised that the government will shortly be issuing a leaflet to every home in Britain, explaining to the public how they can spot a potential hippie. “Don’t be fooled by the fact that the suspects we’ve arrested don’t fit the popular image of the hippie – long haired, bearded, dirty and wearing beads – since the 1960s they’ve gone undercover to infiltrate our great institutions – schools, colleges, the civil service, the BBC, even business – in order to promote their pernicious philosophy by stealth,” he says. “Certain things can still give them away – pipe smoking, a liking for abstract art, excessive intellectualism (usually demonstrated by being proud of having read more than four books and having a library card), and holding qualifications in excessively academic subjects. However, the public should rest assured that with their assistance we will nail these pot-smoking bastards!”

Assistant Commissioner Holloway has also welcomed the idea of abandoning the 1960s consensus on crime and returning to more traditional policing methods. “When I was a young copper in the East End we had rules and everybody knew them – if you wanted to steal and maim you had get a ‘licence’ from us. If you didn’t, we’d fit you up for all the jobs done by legitimate criminals and see you go down for a five stretch,” he recalls. “It worked a treat, licensed gangsters knew not to sell drugs to underage kiddies or rob and murder ordinary decent citizens – they could do what they liked to other criminal scum, mind you. I tell you, the streets were safer then as a result, decent people could go out looking for prostitutes at all hours without fear of molestation! That’s what we need to get back to!”