Wednesday, February 15, 2006



1984 is closer than you think.

I have never been more unhappy about the way our country is going than I have been after the votes in the House of Commons recently.

In the space of just a few days we have lost the right to be free citizens -at least if you want to travel abroad, that is.

Under the ID cards bill in future you will HAVE to be registered in order to hold a passport.

So not only will it be almost impossible to carry on a day to day existence without an ID, (in spite of assurances to the contrary) it will be impossible to travel without one.

It's already a legal requirement to offer proof if identity for a daft range of activities, including instructing an estate agent or applying for a childs piggy bank account.

Add to that the rather Orwellian concept of making the 'glorification of terrorism' a criminal offence and the fact that MP's have now made a perfectly legal passtime illegal anywhere but in your own home (smoking, and no -I am not a smoker) and our legislators have clearly got themsleves into a very illiberal state.

We alre also subjected to the nonsense where Police Officers, who refuse to respond to shoplifting offences of less than £75 (as reported in some parts of London) arrested a protester in the Mall for reading out a list of the Iraq war dead.

Worst of all, we seem to have lost our liberty without complaint or protest. I just hope that an incoming Conservative Government will be prepared to give is some of these liberties back again.

9 comments:

Barrie Wood said...

I mostly agree with this thread Marcus and your statement on the Tory position. Theresa Vuilliers MP sounded pretty flakey on 'Any Questions' recently and seemed more vexed by the issue of cost than principle.


The smoking ban is a tricky one. Like you I am not fond of the state banning things.

I guess this issue is about reverse freedoms, freedom from the effects of smoking on non-smokers and those who can't avoid passive smoking, such as bar workers.

Anonymous said...

If smoking really is so dangerous that you can't work in a place where smoking is going on then smoking itself should be banned.

How on earth did people of my generation survive in the days when the majority of adults smoked (everywhere) - howcome all of us aren't riddled with deaseases caused by our parents smoking?

The whole secondary smoking risk has been blown out of all proportion.

The nanny state gone mad.

Barrie Wood said...

The Observer carries more news of how the Conservative Party is drifting towards open revolt over David Cameron's opportunistic plans to run to centre ground and rebrand them as liberal. They report that a wealthy Tory donor is to cancel a pledge of £250,000 amid growing unrest on the right of the party......


...... it reflected 'concern and unhappiness' over Cameron's policy shifts in a number of areas, including a downgrading of the party's commitment to reduce taxes and the abandonment of long-held Tory positions....

Still such Tories might be cheered by the neo-con love-fest that was the Tory meeting with leading US Republican neo-cons. The crafting of a moderate public image is for home consumption only then !

Barrie Wood said...

The Observer carries more news of how the Conservative Party is drifting towards open revolt over David Cameron's opportunistic plans to run to centre ground and rebrand them as liberal. They report that a wealthy Tory donor is to cancel a pledge of £250,000 amid growing unrest on the right of the party......

....it reflected 'concern and unhappiness' over Cameron's policy shifts in a number of areas, including a downgrading of the party's commitment to reduce taxes and the abandonment of long-held Tory positions.....


And, we saw the 'real' Tory party last week in Washington with the neo-con love-in when meeting with hawkish US Republicans.

So the 'liberal'(sic) and 'moderate' image is for home consumption only then !

As I keep saying look at Cameron's voting record - he's no moderate and certainly no liberal.

Eric Cartman said...

So as comments need ypour approval now are you censoring critical opinions ?

Marcus Wood said...

No Eric, I am just sick of spam entries which are sent by computers, the security is just to stop them, most other bloggers do the same.

I will moderate rude or offensive posts from anyone, or any posts I think may be libellous.

David Hughes said...

Will the Conservatives reverse some of this legislation though? In my experience it's easier for Parliament to make laws than to undo them.

Look at the dangerous dogs act brought in a few years back when there was a spate of attacks by rottweilers, since then the whole issue has died down but the laws are still there, even if everyone has forgotten.

It took decades to unravel all the rules, laws and regulations introduced during WW11 - in fact many of the things Mrs Thatcher took credit for in the 1980's was really only rolling back state powers taken during the war.

You are quite right to say that this Government is very authoritarian and I agree with your letter in the Herald as well on this subject.

Just promise me that the Tories would actually get rid of some of them!

Andrew Zalotocky said...

I don't think that 1984 is the right metaphor for the NuLab state. For one thing, opponents of the ruling party are not tortured and executed, and it would be irresponsible to ignore such a fundamental distinction when there are still plenty of genuinely totalitarian states where that does happen.

Secondly, the government of Airstrip One was highly ideological whereas Blair positions himself as an ideology-free pragmatist.

Thirdly, Big Brother's regime was ruthlessly efficient at controlling every aspect of life. Big Blair is nowhere near as effective at making anything actually work.

A better term for Blairism is "Kafkaesque". In works like The Castle, Kafka describes the effects of living under an authoritarian bureaucracy. The centre controls everything, but the centre is incompetent. The individual may be threatened by arbitrary or absurd decisions against which there is no appeal, but mostly his spirit will be crushed by endless petty regulations.

The essence of the NuLab state is centralised bureaucracy, and its natural endpoint is total bureaucratic paralysis.

islingtonian said...

Are the Conservatives going to say "We will abolish ID cards"? It's simple enough. Either they intend to keep them or they intend to abolish them. I Think We Should Be Told.