This government and the last one are/were fond of gimmicks. After all, they have no real ideas, no proper policies – they just react to what the papers say. Today, Nick Clegg announced that there would be a ‘bonfire’ of unpopular laws. The right wing press is full of approval, while the few left-leaning dailies (there are only 2 of them, count them) have barely mentioned it. The Guardian appears to have ignored it altogether but the fact that the right-leaning papers have picked up the story should set off some alarm bells. So what is this all about? Will some laws be repealed or will some of the more unpopular ones like the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994) remain on the statute books? The Criminal Justice Act, as it is popularly known, was the work of the last Conservative government. Remember, this is the party that claims to have discovered ‘libertarianism’ in the last few years.
But what exactly is freedom? Is Nick Clegg’s idea of freedom the same as David Davis’s idea of freedom? Freedom, like choice, is an illusion. Often when people talk about ‘greater freedom’ and the ‘cutting of red tape‘ they usually mean that they want to further enrich themselves or, they already have the money to live a freer life than those who exist on the minimum wage.
So be suspicious, be very suspicious when Nick Clegg or the rest of the coalition talk about ‘freedom’. They’re free to do what they want and you’re not. Have a look at the 10 Downing Street site, there’s a link to another site called “Your Freedom”, Clegg is pictured seated at a desk telling us that this is the ‘first day of freedom’. It’s all smoke and mirrors. This coalition talks about how the last government spent money but, already, it has shown that it can do the same thing while pretending that it is part of an exercise to ‘cut red tape’ and give you more ‘freedom’. The Your Freedom website is a waste of taxpayers’ money.
We don’t need politicians to ‘free’ us. As the Situationist graffito said “Don’t liberate me — I’ll take care of that” (May 1968).