Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Statists all

I have never been happy with the authoritarian streak in Conservative thinking in Britain. The Conservatives are only marginally less inclined to tell us all how to live than Labour. This item from their website is typical of their defective thinking. They want to save "binge drinkers" from themselves by controlling the behaviour of all of us. What's wrong with simply punishing those who break the law when drunk, leaving the well-behaved majority to their pleasures? What's wrong with removing or adjusting the liquor licenses of those publicans and restauranteurs whose clientele cause a persistent problem, rather than controlling all licensed premises?

This is nasty populism in an ageing society which is increasingly less tolerant (and correspondingly more in need of protected civil liberties than ever). Sadly, Michael "something of the night" Howard is very much on the authoritarian wing.

Conservative Party - News Story


Anonymous said...

This sort of thing reminds me of class detentions at school. The authorities can't, or won't, punish the people who are behaving badly, so they just punish everybody instead. Curfews, ID cards, restrictions in the drinking hours make us all suffer when only a small number of people misbehave.

Tom Paine said...

Exactly. The model in Britain's schools is generally leaking out into society. The badly-behaved are too tough for the authorities to take on comfortably, so they hassle the rest of us to show they "care" or at least that they are "doing something". Meanwhile resentment grows...

Albion Blogger said...

On a practical level you just cannot police every juice bar in town and deal with each incident as it occurs. To have any practical effect on binge drinking some aspects of the behaviour's source need to be addressed.

I like a good beer; none of the Conservatives' proposals are going to prevent me from having one.

Steve - ID cards make nobody safer while curfews aren't - so far as I am aware - being suggested as a means to control binge drinking.

A few restrictions to prevent excess results in greater freedom for everyone except the yobs. In other words, a plan with no flaws.

I just hope it works...!


Tom Paine said...

I can't agree with you AB. 90% of police time is wasted on bureaucracy. If we could get officers back out on the streets, both patrolling and responding to calls from people in trouble, we CAN target the bad 'uns and leave the rest alone. Those "few restrictions" accumulate over time, until there are no freedoms left.