I have decided to vent my spleen, by way of this article, against the Nanny State.
Thank you for your indulgence.
Britain has over the past few years allowed the "claw like" grasp of the Nanny state to take hold, and to stifle individual freedom and liberty. A Nanny state exists where the state believes that it knows what is in the best interests of those who it was elected to govern, and takes it upon itself to interfere in the minutiae of their daily lives.
Britain's Nanny state, by means of legislation and media propaganda, has set about its mission to control our daily lives with a messianic zeal. It has taken upon itself the right to lecture the British public about every aspect of their daily lives on subjects including; smoking, drinking, eating, exercise and health.
Many commentators ascribe the rise of the Nanny state in the UK to the rise of the blame and compensation culture, that has crept in from the USA.
To my view, whilst this may be a symptom, it is most certainly not the cause. The blame for the rise in the Nanny state rests "Full Square" on the shoulders of the state itself, ie the government.
Nannyism affects every aspect of our daily lives. Not one of us can escape the media onslaught that the government has subjected us to over the recent years, in respect of issues as diverse as; smoking, drinking, exercise and salt/sugar intake.
Aside from this media onslaught, the dead hand of bureaucracy has been toiling to produce an avalanche of petty rules and regulations; designed to control our every action, and to restrict our freedom.
I present a few examples below of Britain’s Nanny state at its worst:
- The omnipotent Health and Safety executive ensures that every task that we undertake, even those as simple as raising a flag or climbing a ladder, cannot be performed without the requisite "jobsworth" training course being undertaken and certified.
- Councils fell trees in the fear that, if they don't, people will slip on the fruit that falls on the ground. Wyre Forest Council, in a display of Orwellian control freakery, outlawed harmless words and phrases such as "Bristol fashion" because of an ill informed study suggesting that they have connections with the slave trade.
- The government, in order to ensure that their pledge of "higher education for all" is achieved, manipulates the pass marks and the exam system so that all who take them can pass; witness the absurd media studies exam, where candidates will be given the paper one month in advance.
- John Prescott, as though he has not got enough to do as he demolishes hundreds of thousands of houses in the North so that he can build new ones in the South, has taken it upon himself to regulate the temperature of hot water in our homes; lest we scald ourselves when taking a bath. He plans to legislate for thermostatic mixing valves to be fitted in all new homes as from 2006, these valves will prevent the water temperature rising beyond a pre-determined Nanny level.
- Gloucester Local Education Authority have banned children from wearing safety goggles, as they present a drowning hazard. Seemingly the LEA believes that teachers will be distracted from the cries of drowning children, as they attempt to aid others put their goggles on.
- The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust has banned Gideon bibles from patients’ bedsides, as they believe that they will offend non-Christians.
- School children are now restricted from taking part in field trips and off site courses, for fear of some dreadful calamity that might befall them. In my opinion, this risk aversion does the children more harm than good, the only way that children can learn and develop into mature and responsible adults is for them to be exposed to the risk of failure and danger. Life and risk is not to be feared, but to be embraced.
It is only through risk taking that mankind develops; from the first tentative steps that a child takes, when it is learning to walk and to fall, to the development of revolutionary new products such as aeroplanes and IT systems. Nothing in our history has been achieved without risk and failure.
We are now faced with the third term of the Blair government. This promises to bring in yet more legislation aimed at governing the minutiae of our lives; smoking, id cards (allegedly to protect us from id theft), religious bigotry and the never-ending campaign against certain proscribed foodstuffs will all be featured in this third term.
Many say that they do not mind or care as, for example, they don’t smoke or eat fast food. That argument was used once before, and led to disaster. I would remind you of the following, which was written by a far wiser person than myself:
"First they came for the gypsies, but I did not speak up
Why should ?
I am not a gypsy.
Then they came for the communists, but I did not speak up
Why should I?
I am not a communist
Then they came for the Jews, but I did not speak up
Why should I?
I am not a Jew
Now they are coming for me
Who is there left to speak up for me?"
The Nanny state, by over regulating our lives brings both the state and the law into disrepute. Nanny’s much vaunted ASBO's are rapidly becoming a mockery. No one can take the law seriously, when ASBO's are given to farmers because of the actions of their livestock; as happened when Brian Hagan was issued with an ASBO, by Norfolk constabulary, to prevent his pigs from escaping. A society that has no respect for the law becomes ungovernable, and faces destruction from within.
The Nanny state by regulating people's lives, and by robbing them of the responsibility for their own lives, makes the population reliant on the state. Britain now has over 7 million people working in the public sector, ie they are working for the benefit of the government not for their own advancement. They are now totally dependant on the state for their livelihood, the perfect bedrock for the foundation of a dictatorship.
The opposition parties are, and have been for a number of years, paralysed. The Tory Party is selecting yet another leader, yet it has still not worked out what it actually believes in. Whilst the Liberal Party has deluded itself into thinking that it did rather well at the last election, and as such has taken an undeserved holiday. It is now down to the people of Britain to take a stand against Nanny, and to say enough is enough.