THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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"Let Unsound Money Wither Away"

They work for you? Ha!

Simon Clark - Taking Liberties - How stupid is Plain Packs Protect?.

I have never smoked (apart from the occasional celebratory cigar). However I do not understand the current campaign to denormalise (or is it demonise?) those who enjoy a legal, if dangerous, pleasure. Lots of pleasures are dangerous. I never know why smokers choose bungee-jumping or mountaineering as examples when they want to make this point. Going for a walk is dangerous. So is sex. Most accidents happen at home, so we should probably all go out for a drive. Except that driving's dangerous too. Essentially life itself is dangerous and ultimately 100% fatal.

The plain packs project is a particularly dumb example of the campaign's tactics. For once even the police, who are normally enthusiastic about any initiative that brings them closer to the role of their Saudi Arabian colleagues the mutaween, are pointing out the assistance it will give to forgers and smugglers.

More sinister however is the insight it gives into how our modern "democracy" works. The campaign to resist a damaging new law is understandably led by the trade associations for the shop owners and the manufacturers of the products concerned. This is sneered at as interference in the democratic process, though it's a weird democracy where people are not permitted to speak up in their own interests as long as they are open about their funding so that a suitable discount can be applied to their views.

The campaign for the law, however, is paid for by the taxpayers - including those whose commercial interests are to be damaged, those whose freedoms are to be curtailed and those of us who simply don't want our tax money wasted on lobbying for more laws! And the Minister concerned has been so indiscreet in expressing his own views during a public consultation as to which he claims to have an open mind that the campaign group we are being forced at not-entirely-metaphorical gunpoint to fund is boasting of his support.

As Lenin said, the only question is Who? Whom? I am pretty sure I am among the Whoms here. And so are you. And the Who in this case is not a rock band, but a bunch of self-interested statists whose contempt for us is total.

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