Don't Make the Same Mistake Again!

Why Blair won't be getting the Curmudgeon vote

If you've followed this page over the past few years you will have realised that I hold no brief for the present government. I didn't vote for them, so you can't blame me. The current General Election gives a golden opportunity to kick them out. So, in case you've forgotten, here's a selection of some of the worst things they have done.

  • Banned pistol shooting - outlawing a legitimate and law-abiding Olympic sport on a tide of irrational hysteria stemming from the isolated actions of a lone madman, Thomas Hamilton. This was one of their first actions and put down a clear marker for the future that they would be petty, authoritarian and give in to the baser instincts of the mob. Fortunately they have not so far succeeded in doing the same to foxhunting.

  • Threatened to reduce the drink-driving limit, thus putting the future of twenty thousand pubs in doubt, despite there being no remotely convincing evidence that this would make any difference to road casualties. Even when they had effectively shelved the plan, they fudged the issue and refused to admit it openly, which has undoubtedly inhibited the formulation of effective policies to combat hard-core drink-driving. At the same time they took no effective action against the drug-driving problem which is now more serious than alcohol and getting worse all the time.

  • Reneged, just like their predecessors did, on an election promise to introduce 100% full measures in pubs. While they made sympathetic noises, there was a marked shortage of action until the last days of the Parliament, and even that now seems to have been derailed. If they had grasped the nettle of 100% liquid pints and oversize glasses from the start, by now we'd be used to it and wondering what all the fuss had been about

  • Sought to ban tobacco advertising, thus restricting freedom of speech and preventing the dissemination of information about a legal product used by millions. Mark my words, pubs and alcohol are next on the list.

  • Took no action to bring tobacco and alcohol taxes closer to Continental levels to cut down on smuggling and organised crime, and in doing so deliberately ignored expert advice. By increasingly putting the trade in the hands of criminals this undermines efforts to promote responsible drinking and enforce age limits for both drinking and smoking. Gordon Brown raised beer duty in three budgets out of four and the level of tobacco tax is such that 80% of the trade in hand-rolling tobacco and a third of that in cigarettes is in the hands of the smugglers

  • Banned beef on the bone and threatened hotels and butchers with vindictive prosecutions despite no evidence that there was any meaningful risk to public health

  • Prosecuted a Sunderland greengrocer for having the bare-faced cheek to sell bananas by the pound. There was a time when Welsh people were punished for speaking their native tongue - is banning the use of traditional British measurements any different?

  • Jacked up road fuel taxes to punitive levels, bringing about the 4 gallon, yet invested less and less of the proceeds in roads which are now in the worst state since records began. Not surprisingly, this eventually resulted in an unprecedented upsurge in grass-roots protest

  • As part of what can only be described as a multi-faceted anti-transport policy, encouraged the continued conversion of perfectly decent roads into dangerous obstacle courses through the installation of road humps. Nobody should fool themselves that these things improve safety - they damage vehicles, delay the emergency services and encourage accidents by distracting drivers' attention away from real hazards.

I could go on, but that's enough to give a good impression.

It's outside the scope of this website to pass judgment on Labour's economic competence - suffice to say that I seem to pay an awful lot more tax than I did four years ago, across a whole range of areas, and I don't even smoke! Their basic guiding principle seems to have been "if you can't ban it, tax it to death!"

So somehow I don't think Blair, Johnny Two Jabs and the rest will be getting my vote this time either. And if they win a second term, and you don't like what they're doing, don't blame me!

(May 2001)

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