Peter Oborne in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph fires off a robust tirade against the Nanny State – plain packaging for cigarettes, health warnings on wine bottles. Bravo, Peter! UKIP agrees with you.
There is a growing mood of opposition in the UK to the ever-increasing intrusions of the Nanny State. I’d like to think that Peter’s article was prompted by my own July 16 Blog on the subject. But many people are talking about it — it’s an idea whose time has well and truly come.
Peter takes the view that some Conservative ministers (and former ministers) still take a proper conservative (small “c”), Jeffersonian attitude, and support freedom, and limited government, and want to get the State off our backs. He cites Michael Gove and Owen Paterson. But he singles out Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt for criticism. Perhaps driven by his bien pensant civil servants, Hunt appears to be backing (or failing to rein in) many of these interventions.
I was cheering Oborne’s piece until I got to the last paragraph. It reads: “It has traditionally been the job of the Conservative Party to defend British citizens against state intrusion. It would be a disaster if that task fell to UKIP and Nigel Farage ahead of next year’s General Election”.
I’ve got news for you, Peter. That task has fallen to UKIP and Nigel Farage, and you have presented the evidence for it. It’s certainly not a disaster. You should be rejoicing that there is at least one voice, one party on the British political scene that is prepared to stand for personal freedom, and against an overweening state.
In UKIP, we’re prepared to trust the voters to make their own decisions. Driving cars, skiing, paragliding, bungee jumping, smoking and drinking are all risky activities, but grown-up people are entitled to assess those risks and reach their own opinions.
The fact is that Labour, Conservative and Lib-Dem are all essentially social-democratic parties. They are all tainted with this metropolitan intellectual arrogance. Like Jeremy Hunt’s civil servants, they believe that the bureaucrats know best. The State knows best. And above all, the State is entitled (they think) to impose its opinions, its prescriptions, and frankly its latest politically correct fads and fantasies, on the rest of us. After all, the average voter is too stupid (they think) to realise that some activities carry risk, so the state has to step in with coercive measures “for our own good”.
Mr. Oborne, you should recognise that there’s at least one UK party prepared to speak out for common sense and personal freedom. A party that recognises that government exists for the people, not vice versa.