Thursday, April 27, 2006

The way it is


Boris Johnson, despite the odd shenanigan here and there, is a man of wisdom and sense and a cohort of well turned phrases.

The following strikes me as about the best summary I have seen of the Case of the Vanished Liberties - or how New Labour Murdered Liberal England:

About turn! Labour has changed the law, and free-born Englishmen and women can no longer walk a few hundred paces down the Queen's pavement to Downing Street to protest at the closure of their local hospitals.

Actually, I had to bawl the message at the top of my lungs, because Labour's new measures against civil protest mean that you cannot use a loudhailer. As we all saw at the Labour Party conference, you can't heckle a cabinet minister any more without the risk of being arrested under section 44 of some swingeing new anti-heckler act.

You can't smoke in public. You can't legally hunt foxes, in the way that people have been doing in this country for hundreds of years. Naturally, I lack the courage to smack my own children, but anyone who is forced to that regrettable expedient will find that new laws proscribe any chastisement that leaves bruising or discoloration.

If you try to stop an inspector pushing his way unexpected into your kindergarten, you face a fine of £2,500. You can have your DNA held on a government database, and very shortly you will no longer be able to apply for a new passport without being obliged to fork out vast sums for an ID card. You can't replace your own window in your own home without some kind of inspection, and you certainly can't change a switch in the kitchen.

You can't put a union flag on your locker without the risk that you will be prosecuted for racial discrimination. You can be extradited to the United States without any prima facie evidence that you have committed a crime at all, let alone in America. You can lose your driving licence for a collection of comparatively trivial speeding offences, provided that they have all been recorded on camera.

You can't say anything that might be construed as inspiring "religious hatred", even though the Koran is full of stuff that plainly falls into that category. You can't "glorify" terrorism, even though there are plenty of people in this country who have just celebrated the anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916. You can't even say that a police horse is "gay" without being arrested and prosecuted for homophobia.

Read the whole thing here. There you have it - it was Tony Blair, in the library with the red tape who dunnit.

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