Friday 7 November 2003

Another menace that needs to be banned

The Blair government prefers to ban weapons instead of bringing perpetrators to justice. We have seen this with guns and now, as David Carr has pointed out on Samizdata, the same "logic" is being applied to fireworks:
If, as Mr.Watson avers, unruly teenagers are using fireworks as weapons, then the problem is not a lack of law but a notable and palpable lack of enforcement. If the police are either unable or unwilling to enforce the laws that already exist then why does Mr.Watson or anybody else assume that they will suddenly spring into action to enforce new ones? The problem is not that the state has 'come down hard on misuse' but, rather, that the state's agents clearly cannot be bothered to 'come down' to any measurable degree at all.

I therefore predict that the new regime of which Mr.Watson is so proud will make not a jot of difference. The thugs who terrorise their elderly neighbours with firecrackers will simply carry on regardless and that will cause a whole new round of hand-wringing and cries of 'something must be done'. Sadly, it will add impetus to the already vocal lobby demanding the nationalisation of fireworks or their outright prohibition. As with firearms, rather than bring the full force of the law to bear on those who misuse, it is easier to simply abolish all use. This is another 'thin end of the wedge'. Not because it achieves the desired objective but because it won't.

Mr Carr is quite right, though if it is Labour's policy to crack down on all potentially anti-social devices we must pay attention to this story:
The controversial deal to select Holyrood as the site of the Scottish Parliament was cooked up in a chance meeting on an evening commuter train to Glasgow, it emerged yesterday. John Clement, a surveyor and property fixer, found himself squeezed next to Anthony Andrew, a senior Scottish Office civil servant, when he travelled through to Glasgow one evening in late September, 1997.
So it seems that we are spending £400 million on a Scottish Parliament building as a result of a "chance meeting" on a train. Clearly this sort of thing can't be allowed to happen again. BAN TRAINS NOW.