Saturday, 15 December 2007

Prussian Polly - the nanny from hell

It was Human Rights Day on Monday. I know because Polly Toynbee told me in her Guardian CiF article. She turned up to protect Jack Straw from that nasty man Henry Porter, who was unkind enough to point out some of the reasons why Jack's claim, that this country has never 'ad it so good liberty-wise, is a bit thick.

Polly's happy to concede a few faults from her fellow travellers on the road to utopia:

"My argument with Jack Straw is against the number of despotic gestures made purely to appease public opinion."

So, even when its a Labour Government doing it, the blame lies elsewhere. Jack plays the despot like Pilate washes his hands, a sign of weakness in the face of a baying mob.

She chides against the "silly anti-protest laws that make rather happy martyrs out of mild protesters." No doubt it helps her to think that these people enjoy having their rights infringed. She also ignores the effect of such 'silly' laws on the great many people who do not relish a night in the cells for their troubles, and instead find themselves slowly cowed into silence, keeping dry what little powder they have for the one big issue they can't dodge, whatever that may be, but in the face of the incremental fabian advance, that day may never come.

Polly's never happier than when she's playing on the heartstrings, for this is ever the justification for the authoritarianism she espouses: The state as father-protector. So she digresses into the misery of an underclass, of exploited immigrants, malnourished asylum rejects and struggling families. This done, she can belittle the subject matter in hand: Porter's critique of the Government's stasi-esque tendencies. Well, indeed. People are starving round the world, so why complain of anything?

"The Porter view has become fashionable because it allows the middle classes to pretend to be victims, too."

Notice her phrasing: The view is 'fashionable' by which she slyly acknowledges it is widespread, but it's an affectation, merely something people repeat, a vogue for the shallow middle classes, (Polly's favourite whipping post) eager to enjoy the fruits of victimhood, now thanks to Labour scattered so abundantly. So, the middle classes 'pretend' to be victims, perhaps by 'pretending' to protest, while the police 'pretend' to arrest them. Whilst it would be ridiculous to equate this Government's record with the tyranny of North Korea or Burma, it is indeed a mistake to allow the state to continually encroach into areas where heretofore they had no business. In fact, rather than being an example of 'obsession' to object to omniscient CCTV cameras, DNA databases and ID cards, it is a civic duty to act as a check and balance to the state's propensity to expand.

Polly's enemies are not just reading the Daily Mail, some are reading the Guardian:

"The Porter view turns the state into public enemy number one. That is the traditional rightwing view, but many on the left are buying into this creed of individualism against the collective."

For Polly, believing in individual rights is a rightwing 'creed'. But she's no mug. She knows there are many who consider themselves on the left who have just as strong an aversion to authoritarianism as any on the right. To them comes the message: the collective is the state.

All that's left to do is fling a few more strawmen from the ring. As before she does not attack an opinion she doesn't hold herself, but a mindset. She steps past the political disagreement, and ploughs straight into the (irrational) psychology of those that think differently to her :

"This is the same mindset that sees taxes as an infringement of liberty and an Englishmen's property as his inalienable untaxed castle to hand down, untaxed, to his children."

This is no 'mindset,' merely a knowledge of the laws and traditions of this country. Our liberty was not a gift from this Labour Government or their 'human rights' laws. Limitations on the power of the state predate Parliament. Private property is just that, and is not to be confiscated or trampled upon at the whim of the state or its agents. 'To the king, his own' contains within it the equal meaning 'and he can leave my stuff alone.'

Such ideas have no place in Polly's Prussian wonderland, where there is no such thing as society, only the state, and a belief in individual rights is seen as a psychological flaw. No matter how prettily she embroiders her velvet glove, the system she supports will always need an iron fist beneath it.

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