February 16, 2006


A gallop down the road to serfdom: ID cards and smoking bans are only the tip of British servitude (Theodore Dalrymple, 2/17/06, Times of London)

I HAVE LIVED under a Latin American military dictatorship where daily life was freer than in Britain today. Of course, you couldn’t go out into the street and shout “Down with Señor Presidente”, at least not without dire consequences; on the other hand, you were considerably less surveyed, supervised and harried as you went about your business than you are in contemporary Britain. [...]

The pettiness of this official persecution of smokers (who are not prevented from paying a lot of tax) can hardly be exaggerated. The hospital in which I used to work instituted a no-smoking policy, so that smokers had to leave the building to smoke. To do this, one orthopaedic patient needed a wheelchair, but to hire a wheelchair he had to pay a £60 deposit, which he did not have. He grew so angry that he needed sedation.

Tony Blair and George Bush have the near magical ability to turn otherwise sensible men into raving loons.

'More people hunt and more foxes killed' since ban (Rachel Sylvester and Alice Thomson, 17/02/2006, Daily Telegraph)

More people are hunting with hounds and more foxes are being killed than
before the hunting ban came into force a year ago, Kate Hoey, the chairman
of the Countryside Alliance, says today.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Miss Hoey, Labour MP for Vauxhall,
admits that the law is regularly being broken, inadvertently, as hounds kill

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 16, 2006 11:19 PM

"Otherwise sensible...raving loons"

That's a terrible thing to say about the good Dr. Why is it you on the left can't disagree politely with those of us who are conservatives?

Posted by: Carter at February 17, 2006 1:16 AM

The notion that America and Britain have become fascist is a Left meme here, a Right one there, but the disease is the same.

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 7:30 AM

... otherwise sensible men into raving loons.

It's a gift.

Posted by: erp at February 17, 2006 10:21 AM

Dalrymple knows a lot about the excesses of the the UK's socialist government (and about opressive Leftist regimes in general). It is not 'lunacy' for a conservative to oppose socialist, pro-homosexualist, multiculturalists.

Which of his complaints do you disagree with, by the way?

"When, as rarely happens, a Chancellor of the Exchequer reduces a tax, he is said by almost every commentator to be giving money away, which implies that we all accept, like the good slaves that we are, that the economy belongs to the Government"

Do you disagree with that?

"This official invitation to atomise society further by sowing mistrust among the population has not yet been entirely successful; but posters such as the one I saw last weekend in a bookshop Racism is a crime. Report it! engender a vague but nevertheless all-pervasive anxiety"

Perhaps this is what offends you? Most pro-immigrationists favor criminalizing 'racism', and favor government indoctrination of people who the Left considers 'racists'.

Posted by: Carter at February 17, 2006 2:01 PM


Yes, the idea that when a democracy taxes itself it is like a dictatorship is asinine.

Yes, the idea that you need to tolerate hate or you're unfree is idiotic.

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 2:20 PM

Since you agree that the economy belongs to the State and that the State should coerce approval of leftist approved victim groups, why do you continue to insist on calling yourself a conservative? That's what baffles me.

Posted by: Carter at February 17, 2006 4:28 PM

the uk isn't a democracy, it is socialist. the people there have no more control of how they are taxed, than over how their health services are run.
they put people in jail for defending themselves against violent attacks, and award the criminals damages. you of course, would already be in jail for the things you say here. but hey, anything to score cheap points.

Posted by: toe at February 17, 2006 4:30 PM


I don't believe either.

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 4:34 PM


What industries does the state own?

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 4:49 PM


It has aspects that are socialist, just like we do. But they have too much of a tradition of freedom to be a truly socialist nation. Just look at the uproar that ensued when the postwar Labour government issued orders that theoretically gave them the right to tell people which jobs they were to perform.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 17, 2006 5:00 PM


You need to grasp the distinction between "irritating government measures" and "dictatorship." Dalyrmple is right that referring to tax reduction as a monetary giveaway is irritating, as it implies that the government controls everything. That's not the same as living under a truly oppressive regime, and Dalrymple knows that -- he's just playing for effect.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at February 17, 2006 5:04 PM

health care for one. self defense for another. given that the overall amount of GDP tied to the state is > 45% you could say they own almost half of everything.

Posted by: toe at February 17, 2006 6:01 PM

There's private health care if you want it. The state exists to provide defense, but Britain has security firms.

We don't, of course, consider ourselves to be 33% socialist.

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 6:14 PM

We're not socialist thanks to the timely arrival of the cavalry in the person of Ronald Reagan.

Posted by: erp at February 17, 2006 7:36 PM

the private care is no better than the public. you would not want to have a sick child in that miserable country.

Posted by: toe at February 17, 2006 8:35 PM

But we can put to bed the silly notion that it's socialist.

Posted by: oj at February 17, 2006 9:26 PM

they self identify as socialist so i take them at their word. as per usual, you are of course welcome to coin and use your own definition for a word.

Posted by: toe at February 18, 2006 10:25 AM


Blairism began by ceasing to identify Labour with Socialism and they haven't been moving in a scialist directiuon since before we stopped--Maggie having preceded Dutch. You're not free to change the language to suit your prejudices.

Posted by: oj at February 18, 2006 10:29 AM