Thursday, 11 March 2010

Labour’s Biggest Flaw Is Trust (Or The Lack Of It)

Aside from Iraq, the legacy of this Labour Government will be its relentless attacks on our civil liberties via a bloated encroaching state, which continuously seeks out new and novel ways to interfere in, and legislate, every aspect of the our lives.

A product of Labour’s (and the EU’s) mentality that the state knows best, and individuals, if left to their own devices, cannot be trusted to make anything other than selfish ‘wrong’ decisions. In short we have to be saved from ourselves.

This has manifested itself by the introduction of performance targets, regulating professionals such as, nurses, teachers, social workers, to within an inch of their lives, ID cards, the ContactPoint database, and even telling parents how best to bring up their children - to name but a few.

The Spectator today highlights another example of this lack of trust (my emphasis):
The winner of the education debate on Newsnight was a woman called Lesley from Yorkshire. Her local school is being closed and so she, along with other parents, want to set one up themselves. Her case for why she should be allowed to do this left Ed Balls floundering, wittering on about he sympathised but she needed to get agreement from various bureaucracies. If parents like Lesley get more time on TV, people will begin to understand how transformative the Tory policy of letting parents and teachers set up their own state funded schools will be.
Education appears to one of the few (only?) Tory policies that show genuine promise, by giving parents the right to create and run their own schools. This is all anathema to Ed Balls of course; he can’t even trust parents to educate their own children at home. The message from Labour is clear; the people can’t be trusted to make the right decisions, so don't empower them.

However, two relatively minor events occurred on the internet this week that shows that Labour are wrong not to do so.

The first case is of Nick Hogan, who was jailed for non-payment of fines which bankrupted him, originally imposed for a breaching the smoking ban. Thanks to efforts of bloggers Anna Raccoon and Old Holborn, enough cash was raised to secure his release.

I donated to the cause, because I viewed (probably like so many others who donated) both the sentence, and the smoking laws themselves, to be draconian and unfair. Nick received 6 months whereas a thief, with a string of convictions, gets 4 months for stealing poppy tin collections.

I donated despite that I have no idea who Old Holborn is, have never properly met him (I saw him in a pub once at a bloggers' meeting) and know nothing about him. I only had his word that my money would help with Nick's release. The campaign had no regulations, no red tape, no control by politicians, just a desire by a relatively small number of aggrieved people to try to do the right thing and help someone they've never met.

The second, is a lesser known but no less significant case of Lennon Woods. Lennon, a Leeds United fan, is a little lad of 5 and has endured a torrid year with his health. Diagnosed with adrenoleukodystrophy, he has undergone chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant. Leeds' fans have generously raised enough money so he can be the mascot at his first ever game. It so happens that this will be against the team I support. Within minutes of someone linking to this on our forum, suggestions were made for a whip-round to help make his day special. A couple of days later, with the bare minimum of organisation, a couple of emails and a payment process based entirely on trust over the internet, enough money has raised to buy the brave little lad a framed signed shirt, with some left over for a donation to charity.

People with their own money, own choices, making things happen and doing the right things, without the state's help. That's why Labour is wrong; Whitehall doesn’t fix society, people do. All you have to do is trust them.

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