Labour legislation: police, hunting, government agencies …

Labour legislates, then we try to work out what the law is

Boris burgled? Well, here is his description following a visit from the local wealth redistribution agency

burglar bill.jpg
So you get back from that delightful Christmas break with the in-laws and the first sight to greet your jaundiced eyeballs as you turn the key in the lock is the smashed pane in the kitchen window; and just as your tired and crapulous brain is trying to work it out, you notice the gap on the shelf where the television used to be, and the straggle of possessions on the stairs.

Yup, you say to your loved one: whaddya know. It’s happened again. You’ve had a visit from the local wealth redistribution agency.

So you ring the police station to report this banal event and, whaddya know, they haven’t got enough manpower to attend the scene. No time to dust for fingerprints; no time to take your statement; no time to collar the local thugs who are almost certainly rejoicing in the possession of your laptop, laughing like hyenas at the embarrassing love scenes in your unfinished novel.

And why, you ask, choking, is no member of the constabulary able to come immediately to the scene of the felony? Well, dearie, says the lovely policewoman on the switchboard, they’re all off at the hunt, aren’t they?

I don’t know how many burglars are thinking of trying their luck over the New Year holiday, and I don’t want to encourage them, but it seems to me that in rural areas they will have an unrivalled opportunity. Not only will the British people be in their habitual state of hangover, but the poor old police force will be asked to cope with another colossal insurrection by what was once a quite innocent sector of society.

We all saw, on Boxing Day, how many hunt supporters turned up to thumb their noses at the law: 4,000 at the Beaufort, 2,000 at the Bicester, and across the nation we saw thousands of Jilly Cooper heroes and heroines, pink of coat and cheek, actively exulting in a sport that is meant to be banned.

In the Parliamentary Labour Party, and in the breasts of the antis, there is incontinent rage. Gerald Kaufman MP dances from one tiny and elegantly shod foot to the other. What is going on? they shriek. What are the police doing?

And, sooner or later, the good and loyal police – the police who would far rather be attending your crime scene – will be obliged to take action. The cops will be sent to the copses. The fuzz will lurk in the furze. Every bush in Britain will bristle with baffled bobbies, licking their fingers and methodically turning the pages of the ludicrous ban on hunting with dogs, and trying to work out what exactly constitutes intent to kill a fox.

Before we know it, the police will be telling us that their powers are inadequate. They will need new rights to enter private property and take down statements, if necessary from the horses’ mouths. Look here, they will tell the Labour politicians, this law you have given us is hopeless. How are we supposed to tell the difference between a group of people cantering pointlessly around some muddy fields, shouting incomprehensible slogans, and a group of people engaged in a dreaded field sport?

And they will have a very good point. My only experience of hunting was a day of terror in the company of Charles Moore, in which I saw my life flashing past me and the ground hurtling toward me, but I saw no fox all day. If the police had arrested me, I could have told them in all honesty that I had not the foggiest idea what I was hunting, where it was, or whether it had knocked off for tea.

All this the police will say to their political masters. At which, the Labour politicians will stamp their feet the harder and shout, never mind! You have the law! Get on with it. Make them stop it. Arrest someone! Arrest anyone! Make an example of them!

There, it seems to me, we have the crux of the matter, and the real injustice of the hunting ban. It will be up to the overworked police forces of this country to decide which of the thousands of potential culprits they are going to prosecute, and they are likely to decide in a way that is completely arbitrary.

The problem with the hunting ban is that it is like many other pieces of government legislation: drafted with such vagueness that the citizen does not really know where he stands.

The law, above all the criminal law, should precisely delimit courses of conduct in such a way as to make it easy for the individual to do the right thing. Labour’s approach is different. The intention is not to set exact boundaries to human behaviour, but to emit a kind of cosmic squawk of parliamentary disapproval, and leave the rest to guesswork and the vagaries of enforcement.

One might compare the religious hatred Bill, with its provisions against language that might be construed as inciting hatred of believers in a certain religion. Or one might compare the terrorism Bill, with its ban on disseminating terrorist literature.

Time and again, the Government has been told that these Bills are so loosely drafted that they amount to huge erosions of free speech, or that they damage academic freedom. The Government’s response is always the same. Only deserving cases will be prosecuted, it says, and these will be determined by the Attorney General or the Director of Public Prosecutions.

This is simply not good enough. In its time in office, Labour has produced more than 700 new criminal offences, criminalising behaviour at 10 times the rate of any previous government, and in far too many cases we cannot be entirely sure who is meant to be affected, and what conduct proscribed.

The effect is very sinister: it leaves the interpretation of the law up to government agencies or, in the case of the Attorney General, government ministers. It leaves us all with a sense of free-floating dread that we could be pounced on, at any time, for doing something that thousands of people are doing every day.

It is government by bullying and threats; and, in the case of hunting, it clearly hasn’t worked. The hunters will go on until the wretched police are forced to the random enforcement of a law so mad and bad that it should really be put down.

44 thoughts on “Labour legislation: police, hunting, government agencies …”

  1. I couldn’t agree more, between the loose wording of the government’s seemingly endless succession of new offences, the terrible drafting, and the latest bright idea of making all offences potentially arrestable, the liberty of the nation is in a worse state than I ever imagined growing up that it could reach.
    We seem to be in the grip of a group of idiots who seriously believe that criminalisation and rampant legislation is the cure for societies ills, or at least the tonic that staves off the knee-jerk reaction from certain elements of the press.
    Here are the imbeciles that believe by taking a zero-tolerence approach to prostitution that the problem of poor girls smuggled in from eastern Europe and made slaves to the sex industry will simply vanish under the sudden pressure of the law. For God’s sake, perverts (and I mean perverts not the old slap and tickle brigade) in counties with more open laws on prostitution come to England to get their warped pleasure from our illegal brothels. They can’t be got half as readily at home simply because the system of regulation in those countries actually works.
    On issue after issue our beloved government mirrors this work of genius, blindly lashing out to fight crime, missing the target and instead twatting the innocent (or at least harmless) while letting the gutter scum who are (I hope) the intended target, escape through the maze of beaurocracy that they leave in their wake.
    What shocks me more is the level of indifference a lot of people I know seem to regard this incoherent and domineering approach to rulership. So often I hear the line: “Oh it’s needed for the prevention of terrorism”, or “Well it’s needed to fight crime”. Despite my protestations it seems that at least for now, in these circles, the idea of ‘civil liberty’ has been sucessfully spun into ‘weak on terror and paedophile-crack-addict-granny-raping ganster apologist’. Thank you Boris for again providing me with some amunition in words more eloquent than I have at my disposal to once more attempt to persuade them of my folly.

  2. I have no experience of hunting, and little of riding horses.

    My principle memory is of once being helped onto a horse, and left to my own devices. I shook the reins in what I thought to be the approved manner. I urged the horse to walk forward. Neither had any effect: the horse stood stock still.

    I decided then that a slight nudge in the ribs from my heels might effect a little forward motion. But the effect was explosive. The horse took off at full gallop. And I could only stay in the saddle by holding on with both hands to the pommel, and my heart in my mouth.

    The effect of dropping the reins and grasping the saddle was to give the horse its head, and it continued to career at full gallop along the country road, until a gate loomed up ahead, barring the way ahead. I was praying that the horse would not take it into its head to jump the gate, and fortunately the beast was equally disinclined, and came to a halt.

    I gingerly picked up the reins, and turned the horse around, and gave it what I hoped would be the slightest touch to its ribs. At which the horse once again took off at full gallop, with me clinging to the pommel, utterly terrified. Until after a mile or so we came to another gate barring the way, and the horse came to a halt again.

    I turned it round, and gave it the gentlest possible kiss with my heels. Alas, the beast once again took off at full gallop, and once again I clung with both hands to the pommel, wondering how many times we would go careering up and down the lane.

    Fortunately, the same idea had occurred to the horse, and when we reached the farm house, the horse slowed of its own volition, and stopped outside. With profound relief and gratitude, I got off.

    I don’t know why people want to ride these terrifying beasts, and leap over hedges and walls, in pursuit of foxes. I have no wish to do so myself. But the fact that I don’t want to do it, and perhaps even mildly disapprove of it, is no reason why it should be banned.

    We should not be making laws to ban activities of which we disapprove. This is a misuse of the law. We should only ban activities which cause harm to other people: activities like murder, rape, theft and the like.

  3. I almost didn’t bother because Boris, Greg and Idlex have said it already. A smaller set of laws enforced rigourously. No more giving in to pressure groups which, if not terrorist themselves, don’t seem to be able to give an unequivocal condemnation of terrorist elements fighting in their cause. I refer of course to the animal rights fascists.

    I long ago struck a bargain with the equine world – I wouldn’t bother them by getting on their backs and they wouldn’t bother me by throwing me on mine. Not my cup of tea. But good luck to every pink coated person, toff, trucker or tinker. Keep the b*****s annoyed!

  4. Sorry to hear you’ve been burgled Boris, and I agree that I’m sure the local plod would much rather have been round your place taking your fingerprints than being out in the cold chasing horses.

  5. Another bad law that the antis are determined to foist on the English people is the law that will most likely ban smoking in all pubs and restaurants.

    If Englishmen have been hunting on horses for a thousand years and more, they have been smoking tobacco for 500 years, apparently without ill effect, until the medical establishment determined that not only did smoking cause cancer, but that “passive smoking” was just as bad. Hence the ban on smoking in pubs – one of the few places left for people to smoke, now that it has been banned nearly everywhere else.

    I had hoped that the anti-smoking zealots were largely confined to the Labour benches, but alas it is not so. It was reported today that Tory whip Crispin Blunt has said, “We will have a free vote, but I will vote for a ban … so that people know that they cannot go into a pub and smoke.”

    It is normally an inappropriate insult to refer to people as Nazis, but in the case of “passive smoking” the description is accurate: it actually is a Nazi idea.

    Fritz Lickint was the first to use the German term passives rauchen (passive smoking) in 1939, while working for Hitler’s anti-tobacco league. In his 1200 page book Tabak und Organismus (Tobacco and the Organism) he describes numerous diseases. He knew already that tar was more hazardous than nicotine. From 1938, anti-smoking regulations began to be implemented by the Nazi regime in Germany.

    The proposed legislation is a piece of totalitarian Nazism, and furthermore the ‘research’ underpinning it is no better. The sensible thing to do, if people don’t like smoke, is to have smoking rooms in pubs, or smoking and non-smoking pubs. But this is not enough for the totalitarians among us.

  6. Idlex

    Whilst agreeing with the main thrust about taking health concerns to an extreme, I must take issue with your description of the ‘theory’ of passive smoking being a Nazi idea. The reasons for proposing and presumably testing the hypothesis, or set of hypotheses, may have been to fit in with Nazi ideas about health for the master race etc.., but it seems like a reasonable hypothesis for testing. The ethical issues of how they did the testing are of course another matter.

    I sometimes point out to animal rightists that the Nazis banned hunting with dogs but actually it’s a bit below the belt!

  7. Oh dear, Boris !! You’re brain is obviously as befuddled as your speeches ! The law is quite simple, dear boy – it is illegal to chase and rip to pieces a fox by a pack of hounds !! Got it now ?

  8. I must take issue with your description of the ‘theory’ of passive smoking being a Nazi idea.

    Well, it was a Nazi idea. They first dreamt up the idea of “passive smoking”. It’s simply the historical fact of the matter.

    I dread to to think what sort of ‘experiments’ they tried. I agree it’s a reasonable hypothesis, but I do know that most of the subsequent studies of “passive smoking” have turned up nothing. Even the WHO 1998 study:

    THE world’s leading health organisation has withheld from publication a study which shows that not only might there be no link between passive smoking and lung cancer but that it could even have a protective effect.

    The astounding results are set to throw wide open the debate on passive smoking health risks. The World Health Organisation, which commissioned the 12-centre, seven-country European study has failed to make the findings public, and has instead produced only a summary of the results in an internal report.

    Despite repeated approaches, nobody at the WHO headquarters in Geneva would comment on the findings last week. At its International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, which coordinated the study, a spokesman would say only that the full report had been submitted to a science journal and no publication date had been set.

    The findings are certain to be an embarrassment to the WHO, which has spent years and vast sums on anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigns. The study is one of the largest ever to look at the link between passive smoking – or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) – and lung cancer, and had been eagerly awaited by medical experts and campaigning groups. (Sunday Telegraph, March 8 1998)

    The subsequent story is even more disturbing.

  9. Trying to get this straight. A law is bad if it is unenforceable. That is, if it requires too many policemen to put it right. So burglary is OK, because by your own example the police can’t deal with it. However, if the government is authoritarian enough, then all laws are enforceable. Secondary picketing for example. I like the way you say things, Bozza old bean, but can’t quite follow the argument. Some one help me out here please.

  10. It seems that the Government’s priorities a propos being, “tough on crime “,do not coincide with those of the Electorate.

    For example,if some measure of law enforcement can be SEEN to be applied, say, at the local hunt, then there are police available. For such a bagatelle crime as a burglary, (which is not in the public domain), there are not enough police to make an appearance.

    It seems to be a question of attention to the audience figures, rather than the content of the show.

  11. Vicus

    I think it is about the Government being too meddling in our lives and trying to run every ounce of our activities. He shows that Labour ministers are confused in their nannying state aims because they aren’t effective and the hunters can go on ‘cos the police can’t really enforce their madhat laws.

    In fact he says that all this red tape is going nowhere and ought to be put down.

    You say >A law is bad if it is unenforceable – that is a correct conclusion.

    However >So burglary is OK, because by your own example the police can’t deal with it
    – that cannot be ok because the only reason that the police aren’t there to help is because they are so distracted trying to run around on useless other interests.

    Get rid of the red tape – get some proper priorities in place and keep the multitudinous govt agencies at bay. A lot more law and order is likely to follow…

    ps and a Very Happy New Year Vicus

  12. Oh no, Boris, did you really get burgled…

    That is really hard – probably worth getting a housesitter next time. And as Thalia said – keep plenty of back-up discs

  13. I’m so sorry you were burgled Boris (can I be your house-sitter please?)

    On the rest of your post – well said Boris!! Bloody well said! Talk about a police state – and I was investigated for something someone THOUGHT i’d said – I hadn’t even said it!!

    Put me on a horse Boris, go on, find someone with a spare ride and put me in a hunt. Ha!

    PS Happy new year y’all.

  14. Vicus – I’m a bit bewildered too. But I think what Boris meant to say was that a law is bad if it isn’t clear.

    On the whole, I imagine the law against burglary doesn’t include too many grey areas. But the anti-terrorism bill and the religious hatred bill and god forbid we’re still arguing about it the fox-hunting bill and probably even the smoking bill contain so many loopholes and potential for legal nicety that no-one has the faintest idea what’s going on. Least of all the police.

    Stale government, stale legislation. If you’re thinking about banning smoking, then ban it. Don’t allow it in certain places, so the argument can rumble on for ever. If you want to stop foxes being torn apart by dogs, don’t say it’s OK so long as you use a bird of prey instead.

    There’s another slght error Boris is making here: he seems to assume that if we replace Labour with another kind of government, we won’t see this kind of law introduced. He’s wrong – legal interference is part of our culture now, in politics, business, and social services alike.

    Welcome to another exciting aspect of 21st century life.

  15. Dear Boris & Family,

    @#+$%*!! (parentally controlled expletive!).
    So sorry to hear you have been burgled again, and even more sorry you have to endure the ultimate frustration of the current standard of total lack of law enforcement support. Like all too many of us, this is what we would require police for in our otherwise normal happy-go-lucky law-abiding lives, and priviledged to pay taxes for such service. Much like our annual contribution for the same sense of security from Mr AA or Mrs “the gas-boiler has packed up again!”. However with Policing we have no alternative, no option to shop-around for the service we actually need, no input to suggest what we would want or like, just a “like-it or lump-it attitude”.
    The, our, Police today do not attend car crimes, break-ins, and all too many incidents so important to us ordinary citizens; It is a disgrace. I think it is time we pay some serious attention to this issue in real practical terms, and start demanding!

    In the meantime Boris, post a detailed inventory of the stolen items so we may all keep-em peeled and who knows when someone from the LWRA tries to flog us a listed item, we may hopefully get some stuff back for you.

    Difficult as it is I’m sure, please try and have a great change of year and may 2006 be safer and mor secure for us all!

  16. Been thinking (sadly along purely practical lines rather than finding any more substantial solution for the greater good)

    In my manor, the unfashionable end of Bermondsey, the police haven’t come out for a burglary in years. The only reason the weary locals bother them about such things is to get a crime number for their contents insurance company so they can replace their stolen possessions.
    Everyone knows this, including the jolly fellows in the stripy shirts and bags marked “Swag” who have a nasty habit of giving their victim a few weeks to wring the dosh out of Direct Line or whomever and go shopping, before swinging by a second time to collect the new stuff.

    Please be aware of this.

    Tiresome though people are who go around offering blindingly obvious good advice to others after their misfortunes, I cannot recommend the joys of a burglar alarm highly enough. This is because I am the only person on my street who has one, and, coincidentally, the only person on my street who doesn’t have crowbar marks on her front door (yet anyway-touch wood)

    This displaces the problem rather than solving it, rather like those nifty “mosquito” devices they are trying out in shopping centres in Wales that emit a high pitched noise that anyone over thirty can’t hear, but drives teenagers nuts and displaces the “hoody” problem to somebody else’s street, but sometimes that’s the best you can do in the short term.

    Alarms aren’t as expensive or as complicated as you might think if you find a good firm.

    As far as the remote possibility of getting anything back goes, you can hang out in local pubs a lot and hope somebody tries to flog you your own stuff, or offer any internet savvy teenagers of your acquaintance a small reward if they find anything on Ebay.

    Hope you have a rather better New Year.

  17. You should check what it looks like in Preview first, perhaps.

    Am I the only one to wonder whether the multiple burglary of a rising and popular Tory MP might not be part of an intelligence “fishing expedition”? Who was it that “bugged and burgled” his way around London years ago, and whose book Thatcher tried to ban?

    Bush illegally spies on his own people using the NSA. Would Blair do the same? You bet he would.

  18. With regards to creating lots of stupid laws criminalizing just about anything,
    the “crazy lady”, Ayn Rand had something suitable to say about it:
    There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws

  19. Yeah. I think Boz is a threat to National Security.

    He thinks for himself, after all.

    Happy New Year.

  20. I totally Previewed it!

    Owing to the fact that I am the grateful recipient of a free state education I can’t actually spell so type out in Word 2000 for Mac to utilise the spell-check (to avoid more embarrassment than is strictly necessary) and copy and paste. I think it’s some sort of HTML formatting thing that is messing with my apostrophes but I can’t be arsed at the moment to figure out how to fix it so I now forswear apostrophes for the time being on this blog.

    Whilst being paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you, I suspect that in this instance Boris is no more unfortunate than the rest of us in his misfortunes and am still of the opinion that it may be the same folk as last time, much in the manor of milking a cow as the cow, in these trying times, has little comeback. Which is not to say Idlex that your suggestions are insane.

    Let us not underestimate the assault on our little freedoms that is now the norm. Round at a friends house for New Years Eve we were watching the truly wonderful fireworks on the London Eye from the roof before trooping back downstairs for a refill and a warm up and radio 2 was on (they were playing our tunes) before cutting to the news which was basically “Happy New Year – we can now arrest you for anything- no evidence required-drink up-message ends”

    Gosh, what fun!

    Oh, there was a bit about the Ukraine being cut off from their main gas supply in the dead of winter for dubious money-making political ends too – but that’s just a sign of the times!

    Wille – I was very interested in the Ayn Rand quote as it has the doleful ring of logic. I shall check out her books, she looks like an interesting person.

  21. Oh come on! I got told off for saying Bugger or I wouldn’t have posted the pre watershed version!

  22. Just been catching up on previous posts and caught idlex’s equine experience:

    The effect of dropping the reins and grasping the saddle was to give the horse its head, and it continued to career at full gallop along the country road, until a gate loomed up ahead, barring the way ahead. I was praying that the horse would not take it into its head to jump the gate, and fortunately the beast was equally disinclined, and came to a halt.

    hee hee, did that to my sister once. Met the family at a watering hole on the boxing day ride and my sister sat on my horse as I stretched my legs. I encouraged the horse a little with a mighty smack on it’s arse. It still makes me smile to this day. Oh the fun we have with our families at xmas time eh?

  23. Happy New Year one and all!

    I suppose this discussion is a particular aspect of the wider question of what the state is for. Some feel that there is nothing that the state is for and it should be dumped forthwith, along with the apparatus such as police and courts. I believe this is an ideological position which does not take account of problems in the real world. The state is a necessary evil if we are to have some form of reasonably civilised society. If there were no laws then obviously there would be no crime but also no hope among the citizenry that they could get on with their lives however humble or exalted. If there is no apparatus of course then laws are more or less useless. Only those who abide by laws will obey them, and will become fast dwindling. Laws plus enforcement are what are required, to ensure a reasonable expectation of safety and contractual arrangements being honoured.

    The problem is then what laws? Those as decided by parliament in our society presumably. But it at this point that the legislators have a duty to make sure that laws are there to forbid ‘bad things’ happening without causing ‘worse things’ to happen. We get to decide on their stewardship every 4 or 5 years.

    The government didn’t have much of a plot to begin with but it seems to have lost it, along with any idea of what it should have been about. Giving extraordinary powers of arrest to the constabulary, whilst moving more and more to recognising burglary as a promising career option by removing disincentives seems to be moving in two directions at once, and both away from where we should be. Using the police as social engineers to go around sternly lecturing folk on the evils of homophobia seems rather grotesque. I’m all for people be encouraged to confront their irrational fears if it might help, but I’m not sure it’s Mr. or Ms. Plod’s job. Nor, with the greatest respect for those police people who showed great courage in promptly attending the scenes of the London bombings, is it their immediate concern to give counselling. I suspect the majority of them feel much the same.

    Just because a law is broken a lot doesn’t mean it is a bad law. If a minority is persecuted greatly by a amjority, and this persecution takes the form of physical assault then that is no reason for the governement to repeal laws against physical assault. Indeed it makes the point that democracy is not simply rule by the majority but that the rulers get put up for election at reasonable intervals. The law against fox hunting is a bad one for any number of reasons, not least because the animal welfare argument is applied partially – ritual slaughter and factory farming are still both legal. As my previous comments show I’m one of those who think that a drag hunt involves pursuing Julian Clary dressed as a pantomime dame. (I hasten to add this is not my cup of tea either! No offence to Julian who has now come out after they discovered his wife and two children living in Luton). But the idea of the constabulary being hectored by a bunch of animal rightists to go around arresting people in pink coats is quite sickening.

    Crudely it seems that all the (potentially) useful aspects of the state are in a miasma about what they are for and yet seem to be given more powers to not know what to do with. Perhaps it is time that a sensible party was prepared to do some downsizing on the laws front and clarification of the ‘mission statements’ of the various bits of apparatus?

    I recall an idea from one of R. A. Heinlein’s books. Don’t pass a law unless you have 2/3s support because passing any law has a cost in terms of curtailing liberty, so it better have a good reason – pragmatically good enough to get 2/3s support. Repeal a law if 1/3 of the legislature oppose it because if it can upset such a significant minority it’s probably not a good one.

  24. Democracy : the original definition of a Democracy: its constituent parts are; essentially; government of the People; by the People , and for the People.
    If the People are prepared to accept any ill thought out schemes , wrapped in the guise of Law, then the People will get what they deserve. If the People do not agree with a particular measure however, it does not necessarily have to be tolerated.

    Take the Poll Tax for example. Some found it totally acceptable that each should pay his / her fair share of the local tax burden. The majority, however, found this was not acceptable, and the net result was that it was repealed. This should , in theory , apply to all unpopular laws, the key word is UNPOPULAR, since this represents the People. We, the People, are not ruled by a Dictatorship: until that unhappy circumstance should come to pass, the People in a Representative Democracy are free to rid themselves of the offending Party at intervals of between 4 & 5 years, by exercising their voting rights, taking everything into consideration, and voting for the least worst Party Manifesto.

  25. Dear Thalia – my sister is alive and well and cooked a truly fabulous Christmas dinner. Know that she is intelligent, accomplished and robust of spirit, older than me and, like all the family, has a VERY well developed sense of humour. Also know that it was my first pony and only 12.2hh. In fact it is usually she that remembers that particular story and tells it as a notable happy memory, along with the time she put a cigarette in my mouth at around age 7 and said ‘here, suck on this’ and I went green and promptly threw up. Happy days.

    I wonder what stories Boris could tell, or do you think characters like Boris and Rachel spent their time at home sitting quietly and reading the Beano?

  26. Rachel Johnson – Boris’s famous sister: author and columnist. She did write in the saturday Telegraph but I think that was moved to Tues. Anyway, if you missed her columns they’ve been made into a book called ‘The Mummy Diaries’ and I recommend it.

  27. All these comments about our lack of democracy are very apposite but what can we actually do about it when the British people keep returning a totalitarian government?

  28. All these comments about our lack of democracy are very apposite but what can we actually do about it when the British people keep returning a totalitarian government?

  29. This Government is still under the misapprehension that it IS the people, and therefore continues to pass laws which it thinks the people actually agree with. Self satisfacion is limited by its very description.

    We , The Real People , are therefore ignored ,( our own fault , incidentally, since there are none so blind as those who WILL not see), as having no voiced opinions,and therefore being of no further value to the Government until the next election, as things stand.

    PC has usurped the position of PP,( People Power), a fact that New Labour should be ashamed of, since they claimed to be the Party of the People. Ha bloody ha.

  30. Agree Mac but will you also agree that politics in this country has become more american? In that government has become more centralised (due to Bliar) and that elections have become more about the leader than the party?

    I think local representatives are largely ignored and the people feel powerless and therefore apathetic. Perhaps if we all gave our local MP’s a hard time in the interim, when it came to the crunch, even despite the PR skills of the New Labour machine, it would be a fairer game? All the MP’s seem to deal with here are litter and traffic as if pensions and the NHS are not in their remit. I tried to contact my MP after I’d been turfed out of hospital after 6 hours in A&E, paralysed from the waist down with spinal cord shock, because they had no beds and the office didn’t want to know!

  31. Fair point about local representatives Jaq.

    Interestingly, I recently sent the same e-mail about the general undesirability of local plans to steamroller over Bermondsey with over the limit high density cheap housing in the style of multi-story car parks to keep Prescott happy, to all three main parties, and while several weeks have gone by only one has not only replied but someone actually phoned me the same day and then invited me to a meeting next week in a local pub. Not that I’m being corrupted by being invited out for a drink or anything but impressed in spite of myself.
    It was the Conservatives.

    Not knocking the Green party either who sent someone down to the Planning office with me to look at the planning applications when someone put me in touch with them a few months ago.

    Parties who appear to actually listen and try and help at the local level do attract more loyalty for obvious reasons.

  32. As for the offence of incitement of religious hatred one only has to look to Norway to see how the Muslims are the new Jews.See the site and realise we in the UK have to guard against this evil.

  33. Question to anyone. On the subject of Parliamentary Representation:-
    How could it be possible for an MP, the only one in his Party,to represent his electorate, whilst cooped up , along with other questionable ” celebrities”, in the new edition of that time wasting programme, that voyeur’s delight , Big Brother?

    Gorgeous George Galloway M.P.; that Super Ego with a tan; claims he will give his reported £150,000.00 fee to charity. ( he certainly has gall, and he at least temporarily away).

    Meanwhile , why are we , the electorate , expected to pay his salary , when he is so blatantly and publicly not available to do his job for the people who are his constituents.
    According to today’s press reports, he has now lost any last remnants of RESPECT from the voters of Bethnal Green and Bow.

  34. Good Point Mac – his salary should be suspended as if he had a sabatical from his job, as we would have to do if we went on holiday for any length of time.

    I wish they’d have put Chris Hitchens in the house with him though – I might have tuned in for that!

  35. My ideal Big Brother house:

    George Galloway,
    Chris Hitchens,
    Peter Hitchens,
    Rebecca Loos(?),
    Piers Morgan,
    Ian Hislop,
    Jeremy Clarkson.

    hee hee hee

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