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I hope he is right

William, Lord Rees-Mogg in The Times says:

In Parliament, particularly in the House of Lords, there is a growing reaction against such social control [as identity cards]. Most of us think policemen should not be turned into busybodies, warning people not even to discuss adoption by homosexual couples; arresting them for any trivial offence; threatening smokers and publicans; and galloping after fox-hunters. We resent this on behalf of the public, but we also resent it on behalf of the police.

In the history of Britain there have been many periods when liberty was threatened. The immediate threat is a government with a lust for control, with little respect for liberty or for the House of Commons, but enjoying the opportunity of using new technologies for social control. The British are certainly less free than we were in 1997 or 2001. The fightback will be laborious and difficult, but there is a new mood.

There is small sign of such a new mood on the Government benches. Is there one in the country?

11 comments to I hope he is right

  • Nope. None. For every person who rails against one infringement you’ll find, in my experience, that the next day that same person is muttering about the government’s failure to act on a point where he or she personally feels the government ought so to do.

    We have a government incapable and unwilling to think things through from first principles, and the populace at large is likewise handicapped. I mean occipitally confronted.

    Besides, Rees-Mogg is a pompous ass. Just because he’s woken up to what’s going on doesn’t mean the rest of the country will.

    Sorry to be so lugubrious but liberty to the British means ‘what can I personally get away with?'; which is a sought of fell-off-the-back-of-a-lorry-trader’s perspective, of no broader value.

  • ‘Sought of’?

    ‘Sought of’???!!!

    Also, we can’t spell.

  • The fact that the thrust of the opposition to id cards is currently a matter of cost should show you how little importance we give to liberty.

    The fact that there is some opposition, is on the other hand at least reason to hope.

  • Verity

    I second Edward Lud’s comment. The British really don’t care. If they did, they’d have stopped the encroachment four or five years ago, when it started to become very apparent. Instead they just shrugged and demanded that more money be lobbed over to the NHS.

    They don’t like Tony Blair – although they did once – and they don’t believe him. They know they have an utterly dishonest, over ambitious, ruthless, lying prime minister, but they don’t really care.

  • zmollusc

    Maybe they have realised that most politicians are “utterly dishonest, over ambitious, ruthless and lying” and that they are powerless to do anything to change the situation?
    I am off to the circus now to feast on Wonderloaf and forget my worries.

  • Verity

    zmollusc – V good!

  • RAB

    Gosh are they still allowed to sell Wonderloaf, Zmollusc?
    I thought the health dept had made it illegal.
    Go carefully, or you may find yourself frogmarched by the food police, to the nearest Wholemeal bakers and forced to buy stone ground ciabatta.

  • Bernie

    I think there is a mood against ever increasing state control and it has been there for at least a couple of decades. It isn’t vocal and it doesn’t do very much as it is pretty much in apathy but I suspect they are there. You can see them in the voter turn out for general elections. Or rather you can’t see them in the turn out as they don’t turn out. But there is a large number of them that are thoroughly disillusioned with the electoral process. The BBC is an agent of statism as is most of MSM so when they say “most people” you can’t take them seriously.

  • Paul Marks

    Verity is correct.

    The great majority of people do dislike Mr Blair, even many of his fellow leftists dislike him (and not just on things like Iraq – although they do not like to pretend that he is not really a leftist, Blair is “really a Conservative” and so on).

    However, most people do not really care about liberty. They dislike things like I.D. cards, but they are not going to do anything about them.

    What they care about is their material well being.

    If there was mass unemployment and other negative economic factors then people would dislike the present government enough for Labour members of the House of Commons to get worried.

    Then we would see big revolts in the House of Commons (which is what matters – not the House of Lords) on things like I.D. cards.

    Not because many Labour M.P.s care about liberty (they do not), but because they would be desperate to find some point of difference between themselves and the government (in the hopes of keeping their seats).

    A strong oppostion might help. The trouble with Mr Cameron is that he is like late (not early) Blair in the eyes of the public.

    The people know that he is just a good performer who does not really believe in anything (for years they thought that Blair had strong beliefs – Mr Cameron starts off with everyone knowing he is a shit).

    As such they may prefer the new Blair to the old one (a fresh face and all that), but they will not really place great weight in the things he and his party says.

  • If this is the same Rees-Mogg who helped write “The Sovereign Individual”, he has put his opinions on the line, although that book doesn’t convey much optimism that the government will do anything about threats to privacy or freedom. It pretty much advises: You’re on your own, so better make the best of it.

  • Verity

    I agree with Paul Marks. They may vote for Cameron because they find Gordon Brown repulsive, but they won’t give any great weight to what he says.

    The only hope on the horizon is, if Cameron really is playing a long game. I don’t think he’s that bright, but if he promises everything Labour promises, and professes a willingness to take an interest in tranzi balderdash, and he gets elected … he can then go back on all his promises with “we had no idea how bad things are. We based our calculations blah blah blah on figures provided by the government that we have since found had been so manipulated they are not even a pale shadow of the true situation.

    “Therefore, we are being forced to take harsher measures in the short term to shore up the economy [the NHS]; [the benefits system]; [you name it]. For example, if you have been on Jobseeker’s Allowance for longer than six months, you had better find a job before next Friday, because that’s when your benefit ends.”