Monday, 18 February 2008

A permit to allow you to do lawful things the ruling political elite disapprove of

It is arguable that Professor Julian le Grand a lecturer in social policy at the London School of Economics, is a very scary person.

Why? Because of some of the more sinister methods of state control of the individual that he advocates, coupled with the fact that, as a former aid to Tony Blair and chairman of Health England, a ministerial advisory board, he has the ear of those in power, so wealds undue influence.

He is advocating the introduction of licences to permit people to purchase perfectly legal goods.

He proposes that the licences should be made as difficult as possible to obtain, with complicated forms to fill out and that they should cost between £10 and up to £200 (presumably to penalise the better off) and be renewable annually.

You know it must be something to concern citizens of every political stripe when both the Telegraph and the Guardian have commented on it detrimentally.

He is talking about smoking in this case and the permit would be to purchase tobacco products – but the principle is dangerously easily applicable to anything the state, as the tool of the ruling political elite 'disapproves' of.

But hey! The money would all go to the good old NHS, so that’s OK then – Right?

Once the principle is accepted and applied to a limited hate group, who many non smokers will not worry about, it can be rolled out further.

Alcohol? All those binge drinkers disrupting society, it would keep underage kids away from the stuff right? Stop those middle class wine lovers inadvertantly drinking themselves to death right? Probably not…

‘Unhealthy’, ‘fattening’, food and drinks like burgers, or even tea? Apparently drinking bottled water is ‘immoral’ now. How about that?

A petrol/diesel permit?

What about certain activities like taking a cheap flight, or maybe taking a foreign holiday?

This is actually pretty scary stuff - and by no means beyond the realms of possibility.

In a truly bizarre piece of convoluted newspeak he attempts to brand this classic example of fascist thinking as “libertarian paternalism". An oxymoreon if ever there was one.

It is certainly a fine example of the Political Patrician classes mental processes at work. Showcasing the patrician view of the lower orders he feels and possibly intends this to impact more on poor and less well educated, justifying it on the grounds that it should contribute to a reduction in 'health inequalities'.

It clearly about as diametrically opposed to actual Libertarian thinking as it is possible to get.

One wonders if this may be deliberate on his part, in an attepmpt at black propaganda, targeted at the political ‘meat and two veg brigade’, to put them off realising what Libertarian ideas are really about, given that those ideas are such a threat to his way of thinking.

2 comments:

jams o donnell said...

It's a pretty dumb idea if it is intended to deter smokers. Thinking back to when I used to smoke myself (I gave up on health grounds - I liked breathing more than smoking but it was a hard choice!) I'd just buy them off the black market or just go to France and load up a van load. Either way, the Exchequer loses

Phil A said...

It is a dumb idea in that respect. Someone will supply the need to cut round the red tape and in doing so as you say cost the exchequer. They can’t stop people who want to using cannabis by making it illegal, they are unlikely to have any more luck against tobacco with permits.

What gets me is the sheer effrontery of the idea of the state interfering with and regulating the individual’s private commerce, in such a way, simply because it disapproves - and the extent to which they can potentially apply it.