Saturday, 5 January 2013

Labour - tirelessly fighting freedom

One of the top stories on BBC News this morning:

Labour has urged the government to consider introducing legal limits on sugar, salt and fat-content in food.

The party says the coalition's emphasis on voluntary agreements with industry is not working.

The Coalition are a sorry bunch of hypocrites. In power they have taken many illiberal steps that both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats would have condemned while in opposition. Labour, by contrast, are amazingly consistent on this point - they tirelessly fight to reduce liberty, whether they're in power or out.

I'm of the view that the Conservative party needs to die in order for freedom to progress, and I've said that I'm prepared to endure another 5 years of Labour rule if that's what it takes, but when you see stories like this, 5 years seems like a long time. The Coalition are going slowly and surely in the wrong direction. Labour would race along that same route.

I still think Sean Gabb's fears about Labour, expressed ahead of the last general election, were comically paranoid:

why do I propose to vote Conservative? The answer is that a Conservative Government would probably continue with most of the suicidal or simply demented policies of the Blair and Brown Governments. But, at the end of five years, it would then allow a free election as these things have been commonly understood in England. A re-elected labour Government would not. When these beasts in human form lied their way to office back in 1997, they came in with the same assumptions as Hitler had in 1933. They did not regard themselves as having acquired a limited and renewable leasehold interest, but as having inherited the freehold. They and their clients would never again have to sell their services in any open market. They would reorder the State wholly to their own interest. No private sphere, no ancient and immemorial rights would stand in their way. 1997 was Year Zero of their Thousand Year Reich.

Perhaps I'm just naive, but I don't think the British people would stand for that, even if it is what the likes of Ed Balls secretly desire. Many of our police officers are deeply corrupt and politicised, especially in urban centres, but even among those natural authoritarians, I don't think a majority would go along with it. Then there's the military. If reports from the Olympics are to be believed, our foot soldiers are a generally good natured bunch who identify more with the common people than the political class.

Having said all that, it's frightening that the Labour Party exists, and that it still draws so many votes. This latest nannying idea is as absurd as it is illiberal.

Will they ban the sale of sugar, butter, and salt? If not, it will be easy enough for people to compensate for the fact that their ready-meals are suddenly tasteless.

Or if people don't feel sated, they'll simply eat more, or find more satisfying alternatives. Will the Labour health nazis shut down every chipshop in the land? Will they reintroduce rationing?

Are cheap, calorific carbs like bread, pasta, and potatoes really so good for us? Might saturated fat be the wrong target? Shouldn't grown-ups be free to choose their own food?

According to the BBC, the Labour objective is "to help parents who are trying to do the right thing". Think of the fat kids! But it's already trivial for parents who care to do the right thing. And nothing but a totalitarian system of government child rearing will prevent parents who don't care from neglecting their children.

If the problem of childhood obesity needs to be tackled, we should consider why neglectful parents are having children in the first place. I'm sure we'll find some state interventions that reduce the natural disincentives.

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