Tuesday 8 January 2013

Do What?

People don't like being told what to do, as Labour's Andy Burnham found out the other day when his reasonable suggestion that we should be concerned about nationwide obesity turned very quickly into Frostygate. In 1981, after the Brixton riots, when Norman Tebbit said "I grew up in the '30s with an unemployed father. He didn't riot. He got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking 'til he found it." this anecdote was seen as a direct suggestion to the unemployed of that day. They didn't take kindly to it.

Eat like this, live like this, don't do that. Be like her, don't be like him, don't drink, don't smoke and sit up straight. Work hard and stay out of trouble. Don't drive too fast, you can't park there, disperse, desist and don't put THAT in with the whites! Even Frosties come with serving suggestions. Watch out - the coffee's hot, beware - it's slippery out there... and wrap up warm - you'll catch your death.

The world is full of rules to keep us fit and well and happy and busy. The Nanny State they call it and boy, do we object to being nagged and prodded and cajoled and adjured, like those distant teenage days when in response to our listlessness a helpful parent would suggest we did any one of the things that we would normally do without prompting but today sounds, like "soooo boooriiiing" in our ennui-soaked pubescent lethargy.

So, yeah! Butt out, government! Who are you to tell us what to do with our lives? Away with your rules and your laws and your la-di-dah lifestyle suggestions. We're not teenagers any more! And shut the door on the way out! Ha ha, good riddance!

Now what? If there's one thing that people hate more than being told what to do it's not being told what to do. What's good, what's bad, what's acceptable? How many units? You boil an egg for how long? But where do I park? Is it safe? Is it good? Well I didn't know - nobody told me!

Please sir, may I have some rules?
I just don't know what to do any more!

Your average human is a helpless animal, dependent on raw instinct to survive, dependent on the herd to thrive. So, unless you're one of the very few top dogs out there, who make their own rules, plough their own furrow and stand on their own two feet, you're stuck with it. Today Labour, the party of the workers, will vote to protect benefits against inflation, but they won't have to pay for that; you will. 

They have the numbers to bring that about because too many of you were happy enough to accept their rules in office. Benefits were extended too far, to too many because as long as they told you it was affordable, you never thought to question it. So what do you really want? If it's not independence and self determination then do as your told, stop grizzling and hope against hope that what you get doesn't end up being bad for you.

STOP PRESS: Update at 1917 GMT: The government won. It's a step on the way

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