Thursday, November 22, 2007


Martin commented on one aspect, Dandelion another. As I wander through the blogsphere it seems many are waking up to faces of what our government has been up to. In New Labour we have a government of conviction. You can say that is no bad thing, but the problem with conviction is it rejects compromise. It knows better than convention and other wisdom and treads a path it knows is right. Sometimes that is necessary, only conviction can oppose conviction.

The problem is conviction doesn’t sit well with a modern democracy. Ours is a style of government based on checks and balances, on old old ways of doing things that ensure a middle road is walked, that safe routes are taken. It takes time, it compromises, it listens to opposing view points and incorporates bits and pieces. Both have their place. Conviction wrote the US constitution that is a thing of beauty. Compromise wrote the EU constitution that is a monster that destroys what it attempts to protect.

However, at the moment, we have had a government of conviction. It has alternatively tramped wholesale through opposition, then weddled and whined and spun to try to convince. It is a government that gets confused that “the people” don’t actually believe as it does, and as a result occasionally jerks in reaction to opinion with disastrous consequence.

One of the things that has scared me the most about our current government is its conviction that it has the mandate to change, well, anything. The British constitution, in a way completely different to the US one, is a thing of beauty. It is a combination of lore, precident, ancient and modern. It has given us centuries of stable safe government. It has enshrined the rights of the individual with balance and justice. Yet our current government believes it can change this constitution as it knows better.

Let me outline just a few of the changes this government has wrought:

So children, without quite realising, like the boiling of a frog, the body of law around us has radically changed. Radically. We have sleep walked into a state where what we believe to be our personal rights and freedoms are not really there any more. The term “Nanny State” is used humorously, but is none the less true. We do not have the control of our lives we thought we did.

Be afraid children, be very afraid. Conviction has brought us to a point where conviction may yet again have to rise to fight it. Freedom must be earned…


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