Strangling Freedom

by Robert Henderson

Over the past sixty life in Britain has become so hemmed about with laws and regulations that the individual is increasingly at risk of committing a crime without even knowing it. Britons are also subjected to unremitting political propaganda in the politically correct interest by politicians, the mainstream media, public servants, teachers and the major corporations, be they public bodies, non-profit making or private enterprise.

Such intrusion into the lives of Britons is unprecedented. Consider this list of the things that sixty years ago you could legally and without great bureaucratic fuss experience or do ; things which are now impossible because of new laws or changed circumstances :

Say and write whatever you wanted within the limits of libel, slander and obscenity

Employ whoever you wanted to employ

Rent or sell your property to whoever you wanted

Put a property on the market without the need for an Energy Certificate

Buy a property if you were earning the average male wage

Be free of elite haranguing about being green and man-made global warming

Live without the need to sort rubbish into different “green” defined bins

Associate with whoever you wanted without fear of being called “racist”

Be free of elite haranguing about being “racist, homophobic or sexist”

Live almost anywhere in Britain without immigrant ghettos impinging on your life

Live without laws such as the Race Relations Act which privilege minorities

Drive without an MOT hanging over you

Drive without being faced with a breathalyser test

Drive without being expected to “belt up” or have a children’s seat if carrying children

Park a car without having to use a parking meter or being at risk of being clamped or given a penalty notice

Take a one part driving test without the need for a separate theory exam

Ride a motorbike without a helmet

Smoke where you wanted to

Sell and buy vitamins and herbal remedies at will

Buy any non-prescription medicine without restriction, e.g., aspirin

Own a gun

Carry a knife without it being treated as an offensive weapon

Go bird nesting

Take a wild plant

Take most wild animals either year-round or in season

Kill vermin

Purchase exotic animals like tortoises and parrots

Use drugs which are now illegal, legally

Have a reasonable expectation of a secure job regardless of class or education

Know that all your laws were made in your own Parliament

Have a jury trial for any offence carrying a penalty greater than six months

Exercise a right to silence when cautioned by the police without incurring disadvantage if brought to trial

Know that you were free from arbitrary stop and searches

Live without being subject to administrative justice such as police cautions and on-the-spot-fines

Live without state surveillance through the widespread use of CCTV cameras

Engage in voluntary work or paid work in professions such as teaching without being subject to a police check

Live without the risk of being held for 14 days without charge

Live without the threat of an ASBO which is a civil court order, the breaking of which results in criminal penalties

Be able to raise a family on a single wage

Live without the fear that social workers would interfere with your family for anything short of serious criminal behaviour

Exercise reasonable discipline over your children

Allow children to go to school on their own, play without knowing exactly where they were and once they were of a reasonable age, say ten, stay in the family home without adult supervision for a reasonable period without risk of being accused of child neglect.

As a man, assist a strange child in distress or stop a child not your own from misbehaving without fear of being called a paedophile or of running the risk of being charged with assault

Bank without any fear that the bank was legally obliged to inform the state about transactions over a certain amount

Defend yourself against an intruder in your own home without risk of a criminal charge

Go to a school in which children behaved and were taught at least the three Rs

Run a business without being besieged with health and safety requirements

I dare say I have missed other freedoms which no longer exist, but that is a formidable enough list. The important lesson from it is that Britain existed perfectly happily without these now supposedly essential social constraints. The reality is that the majority have been introduced not from any need but because of ideological commitment or entanglement in Treaties most particularly those tying Britain to the EU. Others, such as the absurd price of housing and the inability to raise a family on a single wage are indirectly due to the ideological commitment of governments since the 1979.

The accretion of laws eroding our freedom, both petty and great, will continue unless political action is taken because there will always be politicians, mediafolk and interest groups with axes to grind which result in more and more laws designed to deal with a specific alleged ill.

5 responses to “Strangling Freedom

  1. Interestnigly enough though, all this had already started then. It has been building up for a long time. This is the fall of the last strongholds, not the start of the invasion. I recommend G K Chesterton’s

    Eugenics And Other Evils which nicely catches the process in formation (it covers far more than Eugenics).

    GK tried to get an Anti-Puritan League going. He was an insightful chap. Unfortunately, most everybody spent the past century shadow boxing with Communism, and thus entirely failed to identify the actual enemy.

  2. Here’s one I really miss;being paid in cash!. “I promised you £200 for you labour, and here it is”. Not, “I sent your pay to the bank. If you want it you can get it from a cash machine in the street. There should be one working,oh, sorry the weather is bad and you have to queue. If there are any problems you can talk to the bank, don’t bother me with it”

  3. I’ve just finished reading the recommended Chesterton’s Eugenics And Other Evils. Never read him before- what an intelligent,interesting and witty writer-full of insight. If I didn’t fully understand anarchy before I do now. And how right he was as we now have fully fledged government by anarchy. I’m thinking in particular of the laws on incitement and radicalisation. No-one now can be held responsible for their own actions; we are incited to do something or radicalised, by something we have read or heard on the internet or we have ourselves radicalised someone else. There is no exception to the rule which would provide clear definitions with which to distinguish innocent or guilt in a way that the majority of us would understand through common sense and experience as there is no rule.(the heart of Chesterton’s criticism I believe through his discussion of the laws regarding ‘Feeble-Mindedness’) Without clear definition it is so much harder to defend ones self . At the same time it is easier for those who wish to apply the policy to avoid being challenged, or to provide proof that they are immune to the danger of said threat of radicalisation and incitement and are therefore fit and proper people to implement the law and make judgements on the rest of us.

  4. It’s a wonderful essay, isn’t it Daisy? I return to it again and again. I think it’s one of my “Desert Island” pieces of writing.

    Chesterton’s description of the anarchy of mind is a great elucidation of the mindset of the current state. It’s unfortunate that it clashes with the use of “anarchism” as a political concept preferred by some libertarians. But reading his “Anarchy of the mind”- basically when a person has lost control of their own thoughts and behaviour- fits the current mob of Statists to a tee.

    I also very much like the essay because it’s an historical artifact. Whenever I find somebody saying that everything was fine until 1997, or until the 60s, or what have you, I always like to point them at “Eugenics…”; which he started writing before the Great War and revived and completed in 1922.

  5. Enlightenment and entertainment all in one,what a genius. I’m already trawling for more.