If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Good Grief!

Courtesy of Al Jahom, an article by Simon Jenkins (Not every adult is a paedophile, a terrorist or a mass murderer) in The Guardian that I agree with, every word. That has to be a first.

There is now a widespread belief that the bonds of private responsibility that should tie together neighbourhoods and nations alike have eroded. This is put down to everything from the nanny state to benefit dependency, risk aversion, disrespectful youth, too much money and obsessive security. When the bossy Labour minister Ed Balls banned pictures of children in schools and vetted parents for sex crimes, the bounds of public sanity were strained. Yet no one stopped him. People muttered, "Well, you can't be too safe."


The public should be invited to reject the politics of fear, that sees life as a perpetual terror of what might happen and a perpetual investigation of what has. It should not be asked to regard every child as a victim and every adult a paedophile, a terrorist or a mass murderer. The government should stop spending stupid amounts of money on a security lobby now running amok through the public sector.

There is no such thing as safe. There is only safer, and safer can require the greater watchfulness that comes with taking risks, witness new theories of road safety. Removing risk lowers the protective instinct of individuals and communities, and paradoxically leaves them in greater danger. But there is no government agency charged with averting that danger. There is no money in it.

Go and read it. It should be required reading for our new coalition government, too. Light is dawning in all sorts of unexpected places. Perhaps it's the good weather.

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