Banksy – One Nation Under CCTV

“One Nation Under CCTV” is painted on a wall in central London, which seems to be the CCTV camera capital of the world. It shows a young boy up a ladder painting the words, with a security guard and a dog on the ground watching him. To the right of the painting is an actual CCTV camera.

banksy - one nation under cctv

I found this news on the Coxsoft art blog. The British graffiti artist Banksy has unveiled his latest work of wit, irony, and reality.

Here’s what the Daily Mail is saying about the new Banksy work.. “Banksy pulled off an audacious stunt to produce what is believed to be his biggest work yet in central London. The secretive graffiti artist managed to erect three storeys of scaffolding behind a security fence despite being watched by a CCTV camera.” Daily Mail

I just wonder how “audacious” the work is though. Erecting 3 storeys of scaffolding in a secure area with a CCTV camera looking over the painting makes me think Banksy had permission to do the work. Regardless, it is classic Banksy. If I was the owner of the building I would now cover the painting with some protective perspex as Banksy just added at least $100,000 to the value of the property.

About Dion

Australian artist and observer of things.. all kinds of things. I like a wide variety of art, from the weird and wonderful to the bold and beautiful.. and everything in between.


  1. Hmmm – I notice that this has remained out of the national news for two days also. No scandal – no arrest.. Makes you think it’s been approved dosn’t it?

  2. BBC London News had this story by lunchtime on Monday, but didn’t post the story on its website. So I had to hunt through Metro and the Daily Mail in the evening to find a graphic.

    A little over 24 hours isn’t bad for our antiquated news service. The recent decapitation of a topiary Ringo Starr in Liverpool took 3 days to reach London! I commented that the Pony Express would have been faster.

    If there’s an earthquake in Peru, BBC News is there instantly, but run-of-the-mill stories in the UK, forget it. You can almost hear the editors asking “Is it worth bothering with?” If a celebrity’s bikini top falls off in Cannes and there’s a good photo, zap! It’s headline news the following day.

    Banksy has been known to ask permission of owners of private property, but if you look at the front of the building you’ll see a Post Office sign. So the side wall he worked on appears to belong to the Post Office too. I suspect it’s the old story: a gang of workmen turn up and start doing what seems to be legitimate work and nobody bothers to ask them what they’re doing. This is how Brits lose paving stones, drain covers, miles of copper cables and the lead off church roofs.

    London probably is the capital of CCTV, but with good cause. It’s hell living here. We have about 1 million illegal immigrants in London, all of whom committed the offence of entering the country illegally, often with the help of criminal gangs.

    We are now self-sufficient in cannabis, thanks to Vietnamese criminals. London police have had to invest in helicopters with heat-seeking cameras that show the hot spots of cannabis production in private houses! And the criminals don’t pay electricity bills, because they plug straight into the mains!

    50% of London’s prostitutes are white slaves trafficked from the former Eastern bloc countries.

    Teenage gang violence in the black ghettos is out of control. 27 teenagers knifed or shot to death in London last year, 11 murdered so far this year, some only children.

    According to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, crime cost Londoners £3bn last year, the equivalent of £400 per resident!

    But here’s the best bit. Barking and Dagenham, a borough neighbouring mine, has introduced loudspeakers to its CCTV camera stations. So now a voice booms from the heavens saying “Oi you, pick up that litter you just dropped” or “Oi you, stop mugging that old lady”.


    The bus shelter diagonally across the road from my house has been smashed 3 times so far this year. No CCTV. That’s what it needs. And I live in the law-abiding suburbs!

    You think the Met. Police – snowed under with crime and paperwork – has any spare time to chase graffiti artists?

    If only.

  3. Thanks for the interesting insight Coxsoft. Wow.

  4. And here I was thinking that London might be a nice place to visit someday Ian!

    London isnt alone in its downward crime spiral. I doubt there’s a big city (or town larger than 10 people!) anywhere in the world that isnt getting worse by the year.

    I sometimes wonder if we hit a peek in evolution and are now going

    That’s almost funny how the workmen take pavers and the lead from churches! The yelling CCTV cameras sound scary too.

    If Banksy didnt get permission, his message must be that the cameras don’t work. If you can put up 3 storeys of scaffolding in a public place with a camera watching you paint, they obviously don’t work.

    I still like the work, whether he got permission or not.

  5. Gosh I’m glad (or hoping ) Ian from Coxsoft Arts doesn’t work for the tourist board, he’d scare everyone away!!

    London is of course a very busy, large city and like any other city has its problems, but it’s also a great place to visit and is full of things to see.

    I do think the amount of CCTV cameras here is ridiculous though, I’d like to see some statistics to see how much they actually reduce crime. Considering there are so many I wonder who actually monitors the footage.

    P.S. Coxsoft, if you change your website name I could actually look at it during my lunch hour, the current title attracts attention for reasons other than art. Lol

  6. Helly, the television ads for Coxsoft Art’s tourism campaign would be a laugh. It might even attract a certain type of tourist, especially if the prostitutes and cannabis get more airtime than the smashed bus shelters.

    It would be interesting to see how effective the cctv cameras really are though.

    Also, in regards to the website url at work, it sounds like it could be the same problem as the Horniman Museum has.

  7. It’s probably quite good publicity for the Horniman Museum that they had trouble with their name.

    It’s an unusual musuem that I’ve been to many a time (especially when I was a bit younger) it’s good for kids.

  8. Anonymous says:


  9. I am not usually a fan of Banksy, but I like what he’s trying to do.

    personally, I dont have a problem with CCTV. if you are doing nothing wrong, then whats the problem. I tend to just get on with my life and quite frankly, I am unaware of the cameras even being there half the time.

    I also agree with everything that Coxcroft has said.

    Britain isnt that great anymore, and is increasingly getting worse on so many levels. The cameras on this particular building were probably dummies, but at least the cameras that ARE working, are keeping an eye on the scum! Dirty filthy low life scumbags!

  10. Ghetto London Update!

    To answer your question about effectiveness, recent research shows that CCTV has little effect on crime! However, the police like CCTV because they can compile movies from the footage to show in court when prosecuting murderers. The UK police catch 90% of murderers, which surprises a lot of thugs who thought they could get away with anything.

    When it comes to crime on the Underground, the recent introduction of airport-style metal detectors has cut knife crime by a third. So this is effective. Also a new ban on alcohol may keep the drunks out.

    If you didn’t believe me about the police using thermal imaging cameras to spot Vietnamese cannabis hothouses, I’ve just posted an image on the subject. Quite arty.

    Sorry about the name Coxsoft, but there are only 2 Coxsofts on the whole of the world wide web! The other Coxsoft sells technical equipment. So no clash there and I’m sticking with my almost unique name. To find me, all you need do is search Google for Coxsoft. Easy.

    I’m still waiting for the English Tourist Board to make me an offer I can’t refuse. Until then I’ll continue slanging of this dreadful place. I used to love Central London, but it has gone to hell in the last few decades. First I noticed the litter, then the drug pushers, next the rough sleepers….

  11. I just noticed that I rank up there somewhere for “Coxsoft” too Ian ;-)

    And yeah, I used to watch a UK crime show where they follow the police or detectives around and I used to be surprised where they had cameras and how effective they were with prosecuting offenders. I remember one was set up outside of an apartment that must have been filled with criminals and the idiots were still dealing drugs and murdering each other in full view of the cameras.. funny.

    The only people that should have any problems with CCTV is those that are doing something wrong, and what rights should those people have anyway? None.

  12. The wall is now painted grey. Earlier this week Westminster council came along saying “we’re just going to clean it” and proceeded to paint the whole thing out.

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