I really don’t want to denigrate our tribunes of the people, but I do despair that half the time they don’t understand what they do…
In my opinion, one of the ways of connecting the population with those who would govern them is to go back to the principle of a smaller society, not the big society that Cameron so naively proposed. We need a geographic connection between the governors and the governed; those in charge must be directly answerable to the electorate. You want those who provide services to do so locally.
Yet what do the SNP do? They take eight police authorities and combine them in one centralised authority. To make matters worse, they then appoint a Chief Constable who must surely be a bear of little brain for announcing recently, while declaring war on motorists, that there was no such thing as an accident when driving - which is palpable nonsense.
TIME FOR A RE-THINK?
Perhaps Sir Stephen House should try a little introspection and ask himself what his police force is actually for? I suggest it is not for hounding motorists, nor for having heavily armed police on public view, but for serving and protecting the community.
Quite what our armed police, at airports for example, are supposed to do in a crisis I have no idea. Shoot a few passengers? Behave like actors in a bad movie? Because those are the choices...
In the event of a terrorist attack at an airport there is presumably (but I am not entirely confident) a plan to bring in a few officers highly trained in fire fights – something I can say with some certainty does not exist. This is not to denigrate the police. I’m simply pointing out that the training required to achieve the necessary expertise cannot be carried out in a couple of months.
Of course, not everything is Sir Stephen's fault The average speed cameras on the A9 from Dunblane to Inverness, approved by the Scottish Government, result in everyone driving a few miles an hour less than required. What purpose do they serve except to further perception that we are living with the nanny state?
Likewise the new drink-drive limit. What is the objective? Not to catch habitual drunks, to whom it will make little difference since they’re unlikely to stop at one drink anyway. The previous limit just one glass of wine. And of course, expert opinion varies as to the effect alcohol has on individual reaction.
A LAW TOO FAR…
Now our MSPs are considering making it a criminal offence to smoke in a car containing children. I must make it absolutely clear that I believe it is wrong to smoke near children in a car or anywhere else.
I do not believe, however, that it is the government’s business to legislate. Society can show disapproval of those who smoke in front of children and society can turn them into pariahs, just has it has done with those who wilfully drink or take drugs and drive.
By the same token, may we expect Holyrood any day to legislate against obesity? The EU now claims obesity is a disability, which it is for an unfortunate few. But for the most part it is because people eat too much of the wrong food. Look at any photograph of the late 40’s or early 50’s – a time of post-war austerity - and there are no obese children. Stand in any street today and the picture is very different...
We need solutions to society’s problems, but I firmly believe governments – of whatever hue - must curb their instincts to micro- manage through law-making or we will soon have no area of our lives where individual responsibility remains.