Tuesday, April 24, 2007

"No Policies"

They just don't get it, it is such an alien concept to Labour that, when one tries to explain to them that the State cannot regulate every single aspect of people's lives, their first reaction is "yes, but you are not proposing any policy!"

Well, that was the whole point, wasn't it?

The latest example was David Cameron's assertion that thousand of ASBOs, countless police targets; an avalanche of new laws; and, generally, a legislative hyperactivity; were doing nothing to make our society more secure - in fact, by clogging the system and drowning the police and the judiciary in mountains of paperwork, they were causing more harm than good.

So he suggested removing all the bureacracy and meaningless ministerial targets, setting clear guidelines, streamlining the criminal code, and then expecting people to follow those guidelines by acting responsibly. Or else.

To me, that sounds sensible stuff - if you want someone to act responsibly, you must give that someone some responsibility; or they'll never ever learn how to.

Take ASBOs, for example (those are "Anti-Social Behaviour Orders:" essentially, restraining orders placed mostly on mis-behaving youths and banning them from being out after a certain time or being in certain areas or associating with certain people).

They are hailed by the Labour Government as a big success and one of the main means they have reduced local crime and vandalism.


However, it recently emerged that, far from being scared by them and cowed into leading a quiet and tranquil life as moody teenagers, actually many of these "looting youths" see ASBOs as a badge of honour and they actually seek to get them and then brag about it (whilst at the same time, happily breaking them all the time, because there are obviously not enough police resources to keep tabs on them all).

And similarly for police targets: excellent idea, in theory; in practice, they require such huge effort and time wasted in paperwork that, effectively, the very existence of targets causes a drop in police productivity.

And I could carry on, talking for example about the literally thousand of new laws introduced by Labour over the past 10 years: each one of them perhaps excellent and laudable, yet their collective effect causing such confusion, so as to reduce the effectiveness of the judiciary system overall.
And that not according to some opposition MPs or libertarian activist, but to some very senior judges.

I believe the time is now right to reverse this lamentable state of affairs and recognise that the State cannot regulate and oversee over all of society's activities: people don't always eat as healthily as we would want them to, they don't seem able to quit smoking, they are not always as good parents as we would wish them to be, and they not always seem to want to work as hard as we'd expect them to.

Well, maybe that's life and one should accept it.
Or maybe they would behave more responsibly, if, instead of treating them as toddlers throwing tantrums, we were to give them the opportunity to learn and accept their individual's responsibilities.

So, yes, less policies. Or no policies at all.

And that's exactly my point.

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