It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. The former because today marks the publication of Chris Snowdon’s second annual European Nanny State Index – demonstrating once again why our cause is just and must be pursued.
The latter because the index also shows how big a hill free thinkers have to climb; particularly in Britain, which came second out of 28 overall and – thanks to this month’s introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes and baccy – was runaway winner on the regulation of nicotine-delivery.
The index leaves your jaw on the floor. It has even attracted attention in the US media, so absurd are some of its features (soda refills banned in France, booze ads banned in Austria, restaurant salt-cellars banned in Hungary). And it’s a sobering reminder of the state we’re in.
‘Britain,’ as Ben Spence says in today’s Independent, ‘was once a land where unless something was explicitly forbidden, it was permitted – but as time has worn on, government zeal for banning, controlling and nannying has led us down a very dark path, where legislation exists at every turn, ostensibly for our own good. ’
One obvious cause has been the European disease of social-democratic paternalism. But now we have Brexit, we can dare hope to eradicate that. And then, perhaps, we can change the mood-music: help people wean themselves off victimhood and into self-sufficiency, stop all this interference in people’s lifestyles, even roll back legislation – if Mrs May allows it.
The signs are, she just might. Raising the repeal of the hunting ban may not be to everyone’s taste – but it does at least show a willingness to challenge PC shibboleths. And who knows? Maybe she’ll save the corner shop industry, and pubs and clubs and off-licenses, by repealing or blocking more meddling in everything that we eat, drink, inhale or drive.
Surely that’s got to be worth mentioning to the canvassers when they come round to ‘count on your vote’? Whatever your party of choice, let the candidate know that in five years’ time, we want to be bottom of one European league-table. And proud of it.