We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Gibberish

Yesterday Chris Grayling unveiled a new Tory slogan, which must be the worst offered by a British political party for a while, despite the impressive competition provided by “Forwards, not backwards,” “British jobs for British workers,” and “The real alternative.” It is:

Fewer rights, more wrongs.

OK, so I am a bit of a weirdo, and I do not always take the same view of what is right and what is wrong that most people do, but when I say something is wrong I do not want more of it. I am fairly sure the general public is against wrongs, and expects politicians – however implausibly – to advocate reducing them.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Share on VK

15 comments to Gibberish

  • Weird. Is there some word play I may be missing here as a non-native English speaker?

  • Bruce Hoult

    Alissa .. if so then it’s certainly eluding me. But then I’m a kiwi, not a pom.

    This is some kind of a put-on right? Right?

  • Scramaseax

    I would presume that it is more of a warning than a promotion. Fewer (individual) rights lead to more wrongs. Under Labour, we have fewer individual rights and more wrongs in society.

    In understand the meaning, but if it takes explaining to people interested in politics it will surely be lost on the average person, therefore making it worthless as a slogan.

  • Scramaseax: sounds like this is it.

  • Did a British political party really use the slogan Forwards, not backwards?

    My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball, but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward, upward not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

  • Gareth

    If it’s a slogan you have to explain, it ain’t working.

    Grayling is the Shadow Home Secretay. He means this: ‘Fewer (criminal) rights, more (tackling) wrongs’.

    A reasonable stance to take but utter pap for a catchphrase. ‘Fewer rights, more responsibilities’ perhaps. Can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

    On the issue of criminal rights I think this country has done with the Human Rights act what it does with everything else – bureaucratic gaming of the system. How we treat criminals is something of a yardstick for the nation. Consequently to be seen as super-liberal and decent we bend over backwards to protect the rights of criminals. There are advocacy groups ready and able to be interviewed by the BBC for it. The taxpayer pays Cherie Blair to defend the rights of criminals against abuses.

    Yet the Government never gets around to standing up for everyone’s rights.(And frequently rides roughshod over them)

  • Sunfish

    For the Tory slogan, I’d have thought “Same shit, different day” would be a better fit.

    Don’t blame me, Ted. I voted for Kodos.

  • Linda Morgan

    The Spectator reports that “fewer rights, more wrongs” is Grayling’s

    contraction of the sentence, “It’s time we dealt with the wrongs against society – not just the rights of their perpetrators”

    My God what a clumsy encapsulation. Amazingly, it’s even more ominous when you get the gist. By recognizing “fewer rights,” society will be able to deal with more (but not yet all?) of the wrongs being perpetrated against it — not against individual people.

    Geez, it makes you wonder how long until really bad sloganeering bottoms out somewhere down around the level of “Arbeit macht frei.”

  • Jordan

    They should just be honest and change it to “Fewer rights” or “(You have) No rights.” Then Labour and the Democrats and Republicans can borrow it too.

  • Nuke Gray!

    Even I can come up with a better slogan- “Vote Right for more rights!” And how about ‘Don’t tarry- vote Tory!”
    But what we should be doing is getting people to think libertarian. There is a British Libertarian party, isn’t there? How about ‘Vote for Freedom- whilst you still can!’

  • Giles

    For some reason, “fewer rights, more wrongs” reminds me of Chris Morris. I can imagine him trying it out on a vox pops segment, with viewers expressing their confused support (Link). Perhaps Davey C and co could modify this video (Link) for their next TV spot?

    On the other hand, at least we can be grateful that it’s not “less rights, more wrongs”.

  • Richard Thomas

    More like “Time to give up on us, we’re done”

    I’ve known the Tory party were out of ideas for a long time but this is the equivalent of raising the white flag, turning the lights out and calling your parents for a ride home.

  • guy herbert

    Gareth is right about the context, but wrong to endorse the underlying populist bollocks. The idea that “criminals” shouldn’t have rights undermines the idea of rights and liberties altogether.

    “Fewer rights, more wrongs,” is in that sense consistent: fewer individual rights do imply more wrongful use of arbitrary power.

    It is a common authoritarian assumption that officialdom is a sort of all-wise all-merciful power that can be trusted to pick on the wicked (as identified by right-thinking people) and desirably punish them with condign cruelty. It’s fearful aggression, garnished with the sadistic thrill of exercising power by proxy, dressed up as principle. Supporting that pseudo-principle leads one in the end to hold the actions of the powers-that-be as defining morality and truth. With the late Lord Denning, you’ll end up regretting that the wrongly accused cannot be executed because their subsequent exculpation and freedom might undermine faith in the system.

  • Paul Marks

    There is, of course, no contradiction between CORRECTLY DEFINED rights and punishing crime.

    For example, Johnathan Friedland (of the Guardian newapaper) had a recent “In the long view” radio show on B.B.C. Radio 4 – comparing how two child killings were dealt with in Liverpool, one recent the other in 1883.

    Whatever point he was trying to make – I was struck by the fact that Victorians did everything better.

    The arrests (of the right people not “the usual suspects” style arrests) were made within a day – even though the killing was on Christmas Eve, that is right the arrests and the paper work was done on Christmas Day.

    The people who had kicked the boy to death were tried for manslaughter not murder (because the police accepted that there was no intent to kill).

    The trial was in a week or so – and lasted an hour or so.

    As opposed to the trial being X months or years after the event (when no one can really remember anything clearly – so everyone is basically making up their evidence) and lasting for ages.

    And (oddly enough) the sentence was about half as long as the modern sentence (of course had it been murder the punishment might well have been the rope) although, of course, getting time off for good behavour was a lot harder in 1883 (everyone had to behave well in prison – there was no reward for not being trouble).

    The Victorians were not soft – but they (at least in the later Victorian period) did not believe in streaching the law to try people for a bigger offence than they had actually committed, or in disproportionate punishment.

    Nor was a prison in 1883 a worse place than now (the reverse in some ways such as in terms of overcrowding and random violence – although it was strict).

    What modern people call “rights” the Victorians would have called “Hapsburg Red Tape” (we just say red tape – the Hapsburg Empire had lots of different colours of tape to up different sorts of documents – and had about two million non military “public servants” by 1914) – administrative form filling, time wasting and expense.

    And what the Victorians called “rights” modern people would call “libertarian extremism” – such as considering firearm ownership and drug ownership private matters.

    Is Mr Cameron serious about restoring Victorian conceptions?

    Of course not – it would not occur to him do so.

    He will just change the titles of various forms and perhaps the colour of the paper.

    “Blue tape rather than red tape”.

  • Paul Marks

    There is, of course, no contradiction between CORRECTLY DEFINED rights and punishing crime.

    For example, Johnathan Friedland (of the Guardian newapaper) had a recent “In the long view” radio show on B.B.C. Radio 4 – comparing how two child killings were dealt with in Liverpool, one recent the other in 1883.

    Whatever point he was trying to make – I was struck by the fact that Victorians did everything better.

    The arrests (of the right people not “the usual suspects” style arrests) were made within a day – even though the killing was on Christmas Eve, that is right the arrests and the paper work was done on Christmas Day.

    The people who had kicked the boy to death were tried for manslaughter not murder (because the police accepted that there was no intent to kill).

    The trial was in a week or so – and lasted an hour or so.

    As opposed to the trial being X months or years after the event (when no one can really remember anything clearly – so everyone is basically making up their evidence) and lasting for ages.

    And (oddly enough) the sentence was about half as long as the modern sentence (of course had it been murder the punishment might well have been the rope) although, of course, getting time off for good behavour was a lot harder in 1883 (everyone had to behave well in prison – there was no reward for not being trouble).

    The Victorians were not soft – but they (at least in the later Victorian period) did not believe in streaching the law to try people for a bigger offence than they had actually committed, or in disproportionate punishment.

    Nor was a prison in 1883 a worse place than now (the reverse in some ways such as in terms of overcrowding and random violence – although it was strict).

    What modern people call “rights” the Victorians would have called “Hapsburg Red Tape” (we just say red tape – the Hapsburg Empire had lots of different colours of tape to up different sorts of documents – and had about two million non military “public servants” by 1914) – administrative form filling, time wasting and expense.

    And what the Victorians called “rights” modern people would call “libertarian extremism” – such as considering firearm ownership and drug ownership private matters.

    Is Mr Cameron serious about restoring Victorian conceptions?

    Of course not – it would not occur to him do so.

    He will just change the titles of various forms and perhaps the colour of the paper.

    “Blue tape rather than red tape”.