Posts Tagged 'State Intrusion'

Cameron turns nanny state into overbearing Mother State

“I think this whole debate about nanny state is nonsense.

“Parents want help. It is in our interest as a society to help people bring up their children.

“We’re taught to drive a car. We’re taught all sorts of things at school. I think it makes perfect sense to help people with parenting.”

For once, David Cameron is right.  This is not the nanny state at work.  No, this is the modern, intrusive, hectoring and all powerful Mother State in action, desperate to direct the way parents bring up their children – irrespective of whether they need help at all.

The major concern here is that parents who reject the intrusion of the state into the raising of their children could end up listed as presenting a risk to their youngsters for not welcoming agencies in with open arms.

Whenever the organs of the state are held at bay by parents, its agents develop a suspicion of the parents’ motives.  When one considers events that have taken place behind the closed doors of  family courts and the case review meetings of social services departments – and the way in which the state can simply decide to remove children from families on the basis of guesswork or prejeudice – it can only be cause for concern that the tentacles are being given extended reach.

Children are the responsibility of their families.  The state has no business routinely muscling in on the upbringing of those children.  Where families are dysfunctional and their children are genuinely neglected or at risk, then there are already measures in place to provide support to them – although time and again we see stories of abuse and neglect of youngsters who are ‘in care’ yet are allowed to fall into a nightmare of drug addiction, sexual exploitation and criminality.

The parents who are unable to cope are nearly always known to the various departments and agencies due to their existing problems.  Surely those people can be offered guidance in how to feed, bathe and care for their offspring as part of their existing contact with the agencies, without a nationwide programme being introduced at huge cost that effectively positions the government as surrogate parents.

Far from working towards a smaller state and affording people greater privacy and personal freedom, this latest government wheeze flies in the face of all three pledges.  It is the real face of the control freak autocrat who occupies Number 10.

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The Census

While I respect those individuals who are determined not to complete the Census, I have no faith that the law would uphold their just objections to this excessive intrusion by the State.  As such I have bowed to the demands of the parasite class and completed my form online.

To those who refuse to complete the very questionnaire – opposed by the Conservatives in opposition, but distributed when they were in government – I wish you every success in avoiding prosecution and criminal records.  I don’t believe anyone should suffer such a sanction for refusing to answer so many searching questions that are utterly irrelevant to central government.

The only satisfaction the Census gave me amid the seething resentment I felt while completing it was being able to tell the government to ‘Mind your own’ on the religion question and identifying myself as English, even though the parasites do not recognise English as a nationality.  No doubt for this triviality I will be recorded on a database somewhere as a non conforming trouble maker or extremist. That would fit in with this story from last year about the EU instruction to build lists of people involved in:

“extreme right/left, Islamist, nationalist, anti-globalisation” groups

This should give us cause to fear the burgeoning surveillance state because we know such lists will include people who simply disagree with that which our supposed servants have forced upon us. As always it is their interests that take primacy, our interests are an irrelevance.  But hopefully, come the day people in this country finally decide to throw off the EU and remove their self serving poodles in Westminster and the civil service, these lists will not matter.

It is not a crime or offence to believe in and desire a strong, independent nation state that serves the interests of its people.  It is not a crime or offence to believe in and desire genuine representative democracy and accountability.  It is not a crime or offence to be committed to bringing about such an outcome.

If such beliefs and desires mark a person out as a radical or extremist then it shows up the political class for what it is – our enemy.

Government should get out of the housing market

A quick change of pace to highlight a thought provoking post by Old Holborn, who in response to more unthinking hyperactivity from Housing Minister Grant Shapps, opines:

When will our Lords and masters realise that it is only when Government interferes that the problems begin?

Every housing boom and bust has been caused by the State, desperate to win more votes or desperate to redistribute your earnings to those who have not earned them. Our housing shortage is caused by numerous reasons, amongst them:

To discover those reasons do read the whole piece – ‘Indentured servants of the State‘.

The harmful hidden hand of the EU exposed again

One of the many examples of the EU living in some odd parallel universe is revealed in EurActiv today, in an article titled ‘Starting a business is faster, cheaper, but challenges remain’.

The article tells us that the European Union ‘adopted the Small Business Act in 2008, with the intention of making it easier to start and run a business. Two years on, the EurActiv network takes a look at the achievements and challenges ahead’. But what of the failures? Strangely there is never any assessment of the failures, but more on that in a moment. It does seem the EU understands the importance of small businesses. As the article explains:

‘Small and medium-size businesses create 80% of new jobs in Europe. That means entrepreneurs and small and medium businesses will play a critical role as Europe recovers from the economic and financial crisis. So anything that hinders new businesses hinders growth.’

It is one thing to talk the talk, when it comes to the EU it is quite another to walk the walk. Because while the EU utters all the right noises, its actions undermine small businesses and are responsible for driving huge number of them to the wall.

As England Expects observed last week, a report from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) in Wales revealed that ‘Over 50% of failing businesses cite EU regulations as part of their downfall’:

‘In the EU, every year 1.7 million businesses fail and over 50% of these cite the regulatory burden as a significant factor.’

It was the same in 2009, only the data from the FSB that time also showed that 27% of businesses are put off from expanding due to red tape. Sadly the small business community, in complaining to the UK government, seems not to understand where their pain originates and who holds the levers of power. This is another example of how the hidden hand of the EU directly and negatively impacts the lives of people in this country.

So just how is the EU’s Small Business Act making it easier to run a small business when hundreds of thousands of them are buried in red tape and cannot survive because of the bureaucracy, time and effort needed to meet demands for reporting and compliance; and the money that needs to be spent adhering to rules made up by people who have mainly spent their careers in the public sector shielded from the reality of the business world? Let EurActiv explain that one rather than spewing out sanitised EU propaganda.

Big government and small business do not go together. The regulation factory is killing small business and with it our economy.

Update: Don’t take my word for it, just read the experience of a small business owner, Andy Baxter, in the comments. Thanks for your insights Andy.

Assange: Is CPS taking orders from elsewhere?

What is the Crown Prosecution Service up to?  Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of the WikiLeaks release of US diplomatic cables, the CPS seems to be playing politics to deny Julian Assange his liberty without good reason.

Earlier this week Gareth Julian, head of extradition at the CPS, appealed against the decision to grant bail to Assange, in an attempt to keep him in custody pending the decision of whether or not to extradite him to Sweden to answer charges of sexual offences.  It was widely believed and reported in the media – without contradiction by the CPS – that Swedish prosecutors has opposed bail for Assange.

However the Swedes have gone on the record today (to Tim Marshall at Sky News) to state clearly they had no view about bail and had not made any such request of the British authorities. The CPS is not denying what the Swedes are saying. So why did the CPS oppose bail, in a case in which it was representing Sweden, when Sweden had no problem with Assange having his liberty until the extradition hearing?

Is it delving into the realms of conspiracy theory to suggest the CPS is taking instructions from elsewhere, such as the US government or the British government in an attempt to neuter Assange as the release of US cables continues?  Is it because the Americans want Assange in custody until they can make a move to have him shipped to Washington, where some of the more hysterical talking heads describe him as a terrorist?

What is clear is that Gareth Julian should be asked to explain why he opposed bail and who was instructing him to do so.  This has implications for the justice system in the UK and the matter should be completely transparent.

A boycott of the 2011 Census?

One of the emails received here after the blog post ‘The Rules of the Game Have Changed’ included this suggestion…

One peaceful way in which we could show our resistance to the way we are treated by the politicos is to refuse to co-operate with the 2011 Census.

Of course if only a handful of people fail to supply the required info, they will end up fined or imprisoned. But imagine the amount of egg on the faces of our self-appointed lords-and-masters if a million people refused to co-operate?

I discovered there’s already a small Facebook group dedicated to resistance to the 2011 Census. I’ve “Liked” it, and sent invitations to do the same to all my FB Friends.

There have been a number of excellent comments from readers in recent weeks and it would be good to hear what you think.  So, any thoughts on this idea would be very welcome.

Will the burqa berks just shut up?

The media is thoroughly enjoying the controversy surrounding Philip Hollobone’s attempt to ban the wearing of the burqa in public places.  A number of MPs and a great many ordinary people think the garment should not be worn in public places, because some argue it reinforces separation within society and is used by some men as a method of subjugating the females in their family.

We’ve had various interventions from people opposing Hollobone’s Private Member’s Bill, such as the lightweight Caroline Spelman, who in classic doublespeak thinks wearing a burqa can be empowering.  We’ve had Damian Green chuntering on about such a ban being intolerant and unBritish because a ban would not be mutually respectful.  We’ve also had Sayeeda Warsi saying it doesn’t prevent women from engaging in everyday life.

But nowhere in these comments is there any sign of the F word or the L word.  No, that isn’t a reference to the television shows, but rather what the burqa debate should be about – freedom and liberty.

For what it’s worth, I don’t like the burqa.  I think donning it is a political statement, an example of intolerance of the society in which these women are living and an attempt to force a cultural difference on people.  Hiding one’s face in our culture evokes suspicion.  It isn’t a cultural norm.  The fact the burqa is worn proportionately more in the UK than in most Islamic countries demonstrates it is a tool for pushing the idea of cultural dominance for political reasons.

However.

I don’t believe it is the place of the State to legislate about the clothing someone chooses to wear.  Hollobone’s Bill might be well meaning, but it’s misguided.  Making it an offence to wear a particular garment, regardless of the motives or rationale for wearing it, is fundamentally wrong.  Where would such law making end?  Such legislation would be another example of an overbearing State that has too much power over the people it should be serving.  As long as no one is causing harm to another person they should be free to wear a garment of their choosing.  The State should uphold their liberty to do so, however much I and others may dislike that garment.

It would have been nice if the politicians who commented on this matter had understood this issue is all about freedom and liberty, rather than tolerance and empowerment.  But then, this is the political class we are talking about and they would rather deal in touchy feely platitudes than make an unambiguous stand against the State erosion of personal freedoms.  As they have so little of substance to say perhaps these burqa berks should just shut up.

European Investigation Orders will erode national sovereignty

Remember all those Eurosceptic noises that were made by the Conservative Party in recent years?  Actions speak louder than words and that fact is about the brought into clear focus thanks to the planned forthcoming implementation of European Investigation Orders (EIO) reported in the dead tree press today.

For while the Conservatives chant their mantra about being ‘in Europe but not run by Europe’, they concede to every directive that emerges from Brussels that cement still further the EU’s control over the United Kingdom.  This is evident from the news that Theresa May, the Conservative Home Secretary, will announce she plans to sign up to the European Investigation Order (EIO) – a move that has been identified by Steve Peers, professor of Law at Essex University, as:

“… an attack on the national sovereignty of Member States, which would in effect lose their power to define what acts are in fact criminal if committed on the territory of their State.”

Not run by Europe?  The continuing Conservative deception concerning our relationship with the EU is exposed once again.  Many decent Tory backbenchers have again had the legs cut from under them by the self serving autocrats who hold the whip hand over party and policy.  Why these MPs remain in a party that lies repeatedly to the public passes understanding.

The EIO is an insipid instrument that builds upon the European Evidence Warrant (EEW), but crucially it sweeps away most of the grounds upon which states could refuse a request for mutual assistance in criminal investigations – thereby eroding protections that existed to ensure individuals were treated in a just and fair manner.  As Peers explains in the document linked above:

The combination of these changes [from EEW to EIO] would mean that a person who committed an act which is legal in the Member State where the act was carried out could be subject to body, house and business searches, financial investigations, some forms of covert surveillance, or any other investigative measures within the scope of the Directive as regards any ‘crime’ whatsoever which exists under the law of any other Member State, if that other Member State extends jurisdiction for that crime beyond its own territory. Note that there is nothing in EU law or any other set of rules in this area which restricts a State from extending its extraterritorial jurisdiction over criminal offences.

The effect of all this is to further erode national sovereignty and centralise power outside member states.  The systems of law and order in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland respectively, are being changed without reference to or sanction by the people who will be subjected to police action directed by a foreign power.

For all the fine rhetoric of David Cameron and Nick Clegg, pledging as they have to give people more power over their lives, the reality is people are being ever more tightly controlled by the organs of the state.  The political class has seen to it that we have no legal recourse to prevent this increase of state control and we are sleepwalking into a totalitarian nightmare.

Very taxing

Apologies once again for the paucity of posts here.  It’s been an incredibly busy week at work, and frustratingly the weekend is bringing more of the same.

Taxation has been one of the major discussion points of the week, since George Osborne’s Emergency Budget.  With the increase in VAT to 20% and other changes to allowances and tax rates that will leave many people worse off, it’s surprising that no one I’ve read has yet made critical comment about the attitude of government to taxation.

It can’t be just me who feels annoyance at the thinking that sits at the very heart of taxation today – a state of mind that seems to be casually accepted by too many of this country’s taxpayers.  For every time taxation is discussed I am struck by the sense of entitlement to our money that Ministers and some talking heads possess.

The overall tax burden continues to rise, not fall.  The percentage of our income sequestrated by the State is shockingly huge.  Before we spend a single pound of our income over 30% of what we earn is stripped from us.  Then we have Council Tax imposed on us to supposedly fund local services.  Of what remains, on the majority of purchases (excluding energy, food, books, etc) 17.5% is added to the true cost of goods and services.  But even on energy we pay hidden government imposed levies (thanks to the religion of global warming) before the 5% VAT is tacked on.  Then on essential items like petrol and diesel, around 65% of the cost of every litre we buy is duty and VAT that goes straight to the government.  These are just the very basic examples.  And do not forget the huge cost of funding the ever expanding machinery of government that administers this financial three-ringed circus.

The prevailing attitude is one of ‘you have money so we are taking it’.  There is no sense of regret or apology for doing so.  Quite the opposite.  Such behaviour is ludicrously described as ‘progressive’ and ‘fair’.  It is nothing of the sort.

The idea of taxation is to provide basic public necessities, to ensure the Realm was defended and that provisions were in place for people in desperate need, temporary or permanent.  But the bankrupt thinking that leads some people to believe that government can solve any problem and just needs funding in order to do so, has seen the state balloon in size and soak up our money like a sponge.  It is the clearest demonstration of wasteful, lazy and overbearing governance.  Of authoritarian, paternalist, control freakery that sees our money taken then used to bribe us so politicians can achieve and wield power.

Where is the outrage?  Where is the deeper thought that leads people to question why we have allowed government-by-consent to be transformed into electoral dictatorship?  Where are the people who are standing up and demanding that government only takes what is needed to fund the essentials and nothing more?  The failure to do this has allowed government to absorb our money and fritter it away on wheezes and trivialities.  It is insanity that the government gives money to groups to fund their ability to campaign for the government to spend our money on their special interests.  It is disgraceful that we indirectly fund charities and associations, that we may choose not to support, through government grants and hand outs.

Just think how much better off we would be if we kept more of our own money and decided for ourselves how and where to spend it.  Think how much better the goods and services offered to us by companies and sole traders would be.  Think how many more jobs would be created to service the needs of a wealthier population, in turn reducing the need for state help and therefore the need to tax us so much.  Consider, given our natural generosity, how much more money worthy charities would collect if we could better afford to contribute.  Consider how much more free we would be with a smaller and less intrusive government, and how much happier we could be if we were able to make more decisions for ourselves.

Having thought about that, now ask yourself, why do we tolerate the status quo?  Why do we not take back power and decision making for ourselves, rather than leave it in the hands of incompetent and self serving fools?  Fools who, despite having billions and billions of pounds of our money to hand in recent years have managed to spend it all with little to show for it, borrow billions more on top that have been also been squandered, and who have contrived to leave this country deep in debt, supposedly necessitating the picking of our pockets to harvest yet more of our meagre incomes to repair the damage.

I describe them as fools.  But in reality, who are the real fools in all this?

More state intrusion proposed by NICE

We seem to be one small step away from having government bottom inspectors telling us to spread them.  The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), the same body responsible for deciding which life saving medications can be dispensed by the NHS or withheld from patients, is reported as recommending that parents should allow health inspectors into their homes to check that windows, doors, cupboards and stairs do not pose a danger to children.

The draft proposal says that every family with sons and daughters under the age of five should agree to a home safety assessment. The thinking behind it stems from fears over the rising cost of treating injured children on the NHS. Professor Mike Kelly, of NICE’s Centre for Public Health Excellence, said that serious injuries can have a profound effect on a young child right through to adult life.  But in a clear example of doublespeak, he said:

“Our aim is not to promote a nanny state where children can’t have fun or lead normal lives, but there is an important balance to be struck between good and bad risks.”

It’s doublespeak because such a balance can only be determined by agents of the state going into people’s houses and conducting risk assessments. Under the proposals, all families with children aged five and under would be offered the checks (you can be sure there would be pressure on parents to accept them, lest they are preceived to be trying to hide something or considered not suitably worried about their child’s safety), which will cover a range of domestic hazards, including windows, stairs, taps, heaters and cookers. The proposals recommend checks on smoke and fire alarms should also be included.  One can only guess at the cost to taxpayers of such a system.

The capacity for mission creep is huge.  The proposals represent the next stage of the state’s desire to supplant parents and assume responsibility for the raising and development of children.  What next?  Inspectors visiting houses where children say parents are not convinced by arguments about global warming?  Let’s see where these ideas fit into David Cameron’s vision of a Big Society. 

Somehow I doubt the state is going to get any smaller when its agents are coming up with new ways to confer on themselves power over ordinary citizens.  Ronal Reagan hit the nail on the head when he said the nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’  Like Reagan, I don’t believe in a government that thinks its role is to protect us from ourselves.

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