Monday, January 01, 2007

2007: No Reverse Gear And Heading Our Way

Ah, the Open Road!

2007 began with hearing the result of the R4 Today listeners' vote on repealing a law. And the winner was.... the ban on fox-hunting.

Now clearly that doesn't fit with the metro vibe, so Ed and thingie spent most of the programme discussing how the result was deeply suspect because the Countryside Alliance had fixed the result by... er, actually getting people off their butts to vote. Duh.

All very reminiscent of their last vote, where listeners voted for the Tony Martin law, only to be told by that notorious humbug Mr Punch that he was jolly well taking his ball home because the listeners had offended his refined sensibilities. So much for democracy.

The reality is that repealing any law in Britain is incredibly difficult. This morning, Lord Holme, Chairman of the Hansard Society, pointed out that while our legislators like to add laws alright, they have absolutely no appetite for the much less glamorous job of repealing them. He likened the whole legislative process to a car with no reverse gear.

No reverse gear. A familiar ring... why, isn't that exactly how the Beloved Leader recently described himself?

And come to think of it, isn't that the entire government thing? With a small handful of notable exceptions, people just don't go into government to engage reverse gear: they go into it so they can have their turn at the steering wheel:

'The poetry of motion! The real way to travel! The only way to travel! Here to-day— in next week to-morrow! Villages skipped, towns and cities jumped— always somebody else's horizon! O bliss! O poop-poop! O my! O my!'

What bliss. Can we honestly expect our Mr Toads to give up such sheer intoxication? The ultimate place-in-history-ego-trip... the ultimate five-times-night aphrodisiac... the ultimate beach-front booneroonie!

Which is precisely why we need rules. Rules of the road that force them to take us where we want to go. Enough of ditches.

And enough of Big Government that goes on getting bigger without any any hope that those agency problem politicos will ever engage reverse gear.

(For more on rules vs discretion, see this blog).

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