Disaster, Peter? What disaster?


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.

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39 Responses to Disaster, Peter? What disaster?

  1. Thomas Fox says:

    It’s beyond belief that our well educated leaders should have such muddled minds when a lesser cluttered brain can find practical common sense solution almost instantaneously ?

  2. ian wragg says:

    Roger, when they started after the smokers, everyone knew the drinkers would be next. The only problem is France and Germany produce and export alcohol so this will be a non starter (unless the Frau wants it). The Limp Dumbs which this government actually is, is neither liberal or democratic and seeing they have nothing of substance to legislate on they will continue to talk drivel as usual.

  3. barrymx5 says:

    Don’t overlook that Hunt’s civil servants have at least a smidgen of self interest. Bigger interference by state equals more jobs

  4. catalanbrian says:

    I do agree that the nanny state is to be avoided but I cannot see how putting warnings on cigarettes and alcohol is anything other than wise. A real nanny state would ban them. You state that grown up people should be able to assess the risks involved in doing certain things and having done that deciding whether to go ahead or not. I agree, but surely a responsible state should make sure that the facts surrounding risky activities are made easily available to the public. After all you cannot rely on the manufacturers/providers of risky activities to undertake this unless you legislate for it.

    • Roger Helmer MEP says:

      It’s the unwelcome intrusion, Brian. I have no problem with the government issuing advice. And you can’t pick up a lifestyle magazine without finding warnings about all sorts of things. But if I’m having a pleasant evening sharing a bottle of wine with an agreeable companion, I really don’t want a picture of a diseased liver on the label.

  5. Stuart Todd says:

    Thanks Roger…we are always on the same wave length and today at nearly 70 years of age I intend to go Mountain Climbing, Para Gliding and White water rafting. Later in the week I will get smashed out of my mind and re-start my 1980s 40 a day smoking habit (OK maybe not the last one) I spent 26 years overseas in the oil industry, Avoided a kidnap attempt (or worse) in Nigeria (where I am an honourable tribal chief incidentally) a bomb attack in the Yemen, an aircraft fire flying to The Ivory Coast, I know good from bad, right from wrong, recognise dangerous situations when I see them and I still use the brain God gave me. so please everyone STOP PATRONISING ME and telling me what is bad for me. I WILL DECIDE!

    • ps3person says:

      Good for you Stuart! Sadly these career politicians haven’t done a real job, perhaps if they had they would realise that the vast majority of ordinary people do not have to be wrapped in cotton wool, and then helped to sue the manufacturer if it feels too soft!

  6. ps3person says:

    Excellent comments Roger, and could not agree more with them. Just like the charade of Cameron pretending to stand up for Britain in Europe, when all the time he is a dedicated Europhile, desperate for Britain to stay immersed in this awful and anti democratic EUtopian experiment, so the Tories pose as spokesman for the people, while they conspire with Labour and the Lib Dems to deny any of us our right to a democratic voice on Europe

  7. Me_Again says:

    Stopped reading the Telegraph a while ago, May to be precise. I discontinued my subscription because of their appalling commentary about UKIP before the elections. I could access the online one still by simply deleting my cookie history but some of them are more useful than the Telegraph so I can’t be bothered.

    Oborne as you quite rightly point out, has only got half the point and he’s peeing into the wind if he thinks Dave and Co are going to go for a smaller state.

    Still, anyone who inhabits number ten and has the notion they want to trim the state had better watch ‘Yes Minister’ to see how that’s likely to end up after Sir Humphrey Appleby has finished with it.

  8. Jane Davies says:

    I don’t think anyone should enter into politics until they have done an apprenticeship in the real world. We can see the disastrous results when we have career politicians, still wet behind the ears, who come straight from elitist public schools and think they know best when it comes how “the working folk” should live their lives. The arrogance of these out of touch idiots beggars belief. We have just had Webb, admonishing the hard working, but still struggling to make ends meet, majority that they have to save more for their senior years! Once out of the EU and with the billions saved there, and reducing the overseas aid (£11.4 billion plus the generous overspend of another £500 million) I would expect the next government to look after it’s own seniors and increase the lowest pension of all the G8 countries and stop this constant pensioner bashing that this government seem to be intent on doing. Oh yes, and this lot hate expats, so I’m not only discriminated against by my location by having my state pension frozen I’m also getting threats that UK banks will no longer serve overseas customers and am facing more taxation from the UK government for having the temerity to retire to a place of my choice.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Pensions …I paid rate 3’s as annual lump sum for about 15 yrs as UK non resident for tax purposes. That continued my state pension pot. Whats happened to you?

      • Jane Davies says:

        State pensions are frozen in some countries, mainly the Commonwealth, no cost of living increases, ever. The majority of expats are not frozen but those that are have suffered this blatant discrimination for decades. ALL by virtue of paying into the NI scheme all their lives are entitled to be treated the same, so this theft of thousands over the years goes on and Webb who tabled an EDM about this injustice and proclaimed the unfairness of this “anomaly” (his word) when he was in the opposition has done an about face and not only ignored the plight of the frozen 4% but has included clause 20 in the new pensions bill so that this discrimination will carry on! What a hypocrite! Then we witnessed Cameron et al spouting on about fairness and equality and witnessing the Queen sign the new Commonwealth Charter last year which proclaims that ALL Commonwealth countries are “implacably opposed to ALL forms of discrimination” all the while her Majesty’s own citizens are being treated in this disgraceful way. We too carried on paying our NI contributions after we came to Canada to join family in our fifties so as to ensure our state pension would be fully paid for, all the while not a peep from the DWP about this injustice. Had my family settled in the USA, we are just a few miles from the border, we would not have a frozen pension. This is theft and because it is by government they get away with it.

      • Jane Davies says:

        Many people do not know about this injustice so you can learn about it here. The ICBP (International Consortium of British Pensioners) want this to become an election issue. Many thousands of expats who still have the right to vote will vote for the party that vows to end this outrage. Take note Roger!

      • Jane Davies says:

        Silly moo forgot the link!


      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        These guys are working well. And they are right. It’s outrageous that those who have paid for a state benefit (as nearly all of us have) should find they’re second class citizens.

      • Jane Davies says:

        So we can count on your support Roger, but just a little niggle. The state pension is not a state benefit but something we have a right to as we all pay for it. Benefits come out of general taxation as I’m sure you know.

      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        Pensions are a right not a benefit, says Jane. Benefits come out of general taxation. But so do pensions, Jane. As a famous post-war Labour politician once said “The secret of the National Insurance Fund is that there is no National Insurance Fund”. I take your point Jane, but you can argue that we’ve also paid, through tax and national insurance, for other benefits too. So are they rights as well? I suspect it’s a distinction without a difference.

      • Me_Again says:

        I take your point Roger but whatever the semantic split, it is grossly unfair not to pay the same pension to all. In some ways it would be fairer to not pay a pension to anyone who moves away because a. they choose to move and b. They couldn’t possibly be moving and be dependent on that pension, they’d have to have state independent means. So I’d say [no doubt un-popularly with Jane et al, that it should be all or none.

        [Please bear in mind that my fantasy has always been to buy a little place near Carcassone and preferably next to a nice vineyard which invites me to tasting every few days, so I’m giving myself both barrels a la pied, and a reload]

      • Roger Helmer MEP says:

        Just checked that quote. It was Nye Bevan. “The secret of the National Insurance Fund is that there ain’t no fund”.

    • Jane Davies says:

      I have said the same Me_Again, that all expats should get annual cost of living increases or all are frozen, including those in the EU countries. To uprate the majority and freeze the minority is grossly unfair and discriminatory.
      Roger, when one googles the NI fund we find there is a fund with a current surplus of around £20 billion. https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/269311/ni-fund-ac-gb-1112.pdf

      • Andy Robertson-Fox says:

        Spot on Jane – it is remarkable how many politicians make the mistake of claiming that the State Pension is paid from general taxation. The surplus in the NI Fund from which claims under the NI Scheme, and which ınclude the State Pension, are met was, at the end of July 2014, approx GBP19.3 billion. The Fund is a “pay as you go” but nevertheless carries a surplus which covers at least one sixth of the estimated annual expendıiure as a precaution agaınst the unexpected – currently about GBP15 billion. The dıfference between the Fund and General Taxation is that contributions can be voluntary – missıng weeks or payments when abroad are acceptable but optional – try telling the tax man about that paying tax is optional!
        Of course the quote from Nye Bevan is often taken out of context; he was makıng the poınt that, unlıke other pensıon plans, the contrıbutıons were not ınvested to establısh an ındıvıdual pot…not that the scheme dıd not really exıst and contrıbutıons earned qualıfyıng years whıch when the pensıon became payable would be converted to pounds and pence.
        Still good to learn that Roger is a supporter of the campaign against the frozen pension policy.

  9. Flyinthesky says:

    The real problem arises when a government department, a “pseudo” charity, a quango or other NGO sees the opportunity to build a self or government sustained empire out of it.
    The innaity of it’s continuous proclamations is an insult to our intelligence.
    The whole thing is not driven by the government as desire to protect the people but an inferred way to mitigate it’s liability.
    My mother in law went to see the practice nurse the other day, another “service” that has morphed into an “authority”, she said you seem in good health, blood pressure’s ok, you seem fit enough. I hope you don’t drink too much or smoke and are eating enough fruit and vegetables.The inanity! she’s 83 FFS! and has managed this far.

    • Jane Davies says:

      This nurse meant well no doubt but failed to see how this comes across as patronising. Something I was very aware of in my NHS days caring mostly for seniors. It’s a fine line and takes a modest degree of intelligence. Sadly many don’t have it!

      • Flyinthesky says:

        I’ve no doubt at all she meant well but she’s asking questions she has been told to ask to tick boxes that have to be ticked. Notwithstanding she has been summoned to the surgery, not out of concern for her well being but to trigger payment to the surgery under the Quality Outcome Framework. You can be summoned at the will of the surgery for their next earning opportunity but try and get an appointment.
        The thrust of my argument remains the NHS is no longer a service it has morphed into an authority.
        Our borough council has signs on it’s vehicles “we work for you”, they don’t, the unsaid bit is: so long as you do what we tell you. All our so called sevices have gone the same way. They no longer serve, They direct.
        All these entities have the same motivation, to aggrand, expand and empower themselves, We’ve allowed them.
        The missing element is democracy, it’s been slowly eroded and taken away for decades, for our own good of course, and they’re not for giving it back.

    • Jane Davies says:

      Inventing a slogan to replace what was once there as a given can only go so far, I would hope that the time will come when people rise up and declare enough is enough. We all can surely see through the favourite one of Cameron et al who try to tell us “we are all in this together” when the complete opposite is the truth. Do they really think we believe this garbage? MP’s and councilors are elected to SERVE the people not the other way around. As Roger say’s above they are all tainted with this metropolitan intellectual arrogance but to their cost they will find out that not all of us are taken in by this patronising attitude.

      • Me_Again says:

        I wouldn’t include councillors in the net Jane, not most of them anyway, I think at the local level most are there to serve and they work in the main without pay. The problem ones are those who are on a path to a higher political position because they don’t self serve so much as serve the party.

        Rising up is always a tricky one I think, whilst the narcotics of the masses are still out there [footy, sky sports, corrie, eastenders, bingo, lottery, rock music, video games] it just isn’t going to happen. That’s the first problem with an insurrection. You have to remove that which a large segment of the population see as their right to have.

        The second problem is that they probably won’t agree with your aims or each other and then instead of a united front -like ISIS- they appear as a disjointed rabble -as in Syria and Egypt, don’t forget they were secular uprisings initially- and civil wars are the worst wars of all.

  10. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Wonder exactly when alcohol/nicotine becomes a controlled substance. Then start taxing homebrew (tricky).

    Meanwhile prepare homebrew stuff, collect fruits (elderberry perhaps), purchase diesel gen set and huge tank of diesel. Switch off TV/Radio and enjoy.

    Vape as required till they knock that on the head.

    Await moderation ?

    • Jane Davies says:

      Enjoy? No no no enjoyment must be taxed and warned about. The plebs must be told the error of their ways and having fun is not on this governments agenda unless they can make more money out of it.

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        I have to and do enjoy threatening the DWP with harassment and now driving the local Tory MP at them for mishandling my late mothers estate assessment (18 months of it). Parliamentary Ombusdsmen coming their way fairly soon..if they are not very careful!

        I have a French Canadian (now Brit) next door to me, so I shall consult on this pension thing. I thought it was about reciprocal agreements?

        Supposed to be the modern world…PC’s and mobile phones is about it for those in Government. And to think I was a civil servant for 10 yrs – not public facing. Its a case of pay peanuts and seriously get monkey’s on the public side. Seems the lack of quality goes right up to Ministry level.

      • Jane Davies says:

        No reciprocal agreements are needed Colin. That was a lie sent out for decades by the DWP and they, on answering an FOI request, had to admit this was not true. In trying to justify an injustice the DWP and the pensions department, including IDS and Webb resort to lies and bluster.

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Jane..if you have paid into the system as I have then it must be the case that you receive the same benefit. The qualification to gain the standard pension right was years of employment or NI payments – Rate 3’s etc. As I understood it? Anything more took it to a pension+.

        Anyway, it needs MPs to correct this and the current bunch won’t. Perhaps UKIP can bring it to the fore, but they will need MPs in place. We have to wait unfortunately. Too many VI’s in this country……and I think the slag-off of UKIP is beginning again.

      • Jane Davies says:

        The International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) have a facebook page and I have posted this blog on it. Thanks for your support Roger and fellow bloggers I hope there are enough opponents to this scandal in the next government so this outrageous state of affairs ends. Each expat pensioner saves the UK economy £3,700 a year and there are 1.1 million of us, that adds up to quite a saving. If the 500,000 frozen pensioners decided to return to the UK and apply for all the seniors benefits available to them then that would reduce the savings by a huge amount. Something that Webb is aware of but too arrogant to admit.

  11. catalanbrian says:

    I am with you Jane on the question of state pensions. It is outrageous that some expatriates are treated so badly and I really cannot understand why this is so. I am also an expatriate and I will receive a full state pension (I am not quite venerable enough yet) and all the various annual increases just as UK resident pensioners do, because I have chosen to live where I do, yet you, along with others who live elsewhere have frozen pensions. That is just not fair. We should be treated equally (and equally with anyone who continues to live in the UK).

  12. Mike Stallard says:

    What right have the government to claim the high moral ground? Go on Guido Fawkes and see Mrs Speaker of the House of Commons drunk with a friend showing her knickers in the back of a car. Listen to the radio and hear about the drunken orgies where the Deputy Speaker went to pick up the occasional Spad. Hear how Mr Johnson inherited Mr Livingstone’s wine cellar. Need I continue?
    It is this sheer hypocrisy which repels not only me, but many other voters.

    • Jane Davies says:

      Here, here! So true.

      • Me_Again says:

        Mrs Bercow isn’t an elected representative of the people so her inclusion is entirely spurious. Still, if I were him [Bercow] I wouldn’t be so keen to have a high profile job while she’s out there swanning around with Paddy Doherty and, as you say, flashing her knickers.

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