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Nanny State & Capitalism

By Saturday 28 November 2009Political

I have decided that we in England live in a Nanny State.

Nanny State Definition

patronizing government: a government that brings in legislation that it considers is in the people’s best interests but that is regarded by some as interfering and patronizing

(From, Last Accessed: 28th November 09)

I say England because I am aware that Scotland and Wales have their own parliment and I can’t really comment as I have only lived in England.

I’ve thought this for a while, but it’s become more apparent to me after digesting the recent Queen’s Speech a few weeks ago. The government decides what is acceptable and not acceptable in society by legislation, which is ever increasing. This legislation is usually around capitalism and helping capitalists make money.

If we look at the Banks as a recent example following the capitalism model. They’ve become vast money-making machines making billions of pounds doing dodgy deals. When they messed up, individual bankers who’ve made millions of pounds in bonuses aren’t bothered. They simply came cap-in-hand to government, knowing they’d have to bail them out. And somehow they’ve got away with it, how did that happen? If you or I as individuals had messed up our own finances, would the government of bailed us out? Probably not, we’ve have had to go to court and potentially prision.

While we are on this topic – does anybody remember bailing out National Rail a few years back? The private train companies had been making millions of pounds in profit and then all of a sudden didn’t have the money to pay for maintance to the rail network. We the tax payers bailed them out too, but I’ve never heard that they paid any of the money back? But I have heard that they are making millions of pounds of profit again recently in the news. Everybody just seems to have forgotton about that.

The common denominator seems to be that the few people in power politicians (who usually have stakes in big businesses, if not own them) can bend, change or ignore legislation to suit them. Giving them the power to do what they like with no accountability. Indeed they’ve set up systems and processes that work for them. The regularatory bodies (such as the Financial Services Authority for banks) have no power. And in the political system in order for an MP to advance their career they have to vote for legislation that may not be in the best interests of the people they supposedly work for (the tax payer). They have these “chief whips” people who state that they will let MP’s sit on certain committee’s (to advance their carrer) if they vote for certain legislation. These systems and processes need to be changed, but this isn’t going to happen when it suits the capitalists and the pro nanny state politicans.

All these systems and processes seem to disempower the average person from making a difference and making changes for the better to their local community. They also seem to have created a culture of as long as I’m ok. The legislation also helps to supress freedom of speech and our option to voice our honest thoughts about things. We are less likely than ever to stand up and say: Hey I think that’s wrong.

Of course we can’t blame it all on the government and legislation. The mainstream media plays it’s part too. Always negative and with it’s own slant. How come we never see anything positive in the media? Is it perhaps another way of trying to control or suppress expression of our opinions? Over the last few years several people have been branded racists, homophobic, etc. for using a politically incorrect term. I often feel sorry for these people. Usually they have used the wrong words to make their point (a thing we can all be guilty of at times?), but their intention was not in anyway to be racist, homophobic, etc. Surely we need to look at their intention rather than the word they have used that might of offended a minority?

In summary two phrases come to mind:
“Devide and Conquer” and “Power to the few”

Is it just me who feels this way? Perhaps if we all get together we can make a positive change?

Thinking Politically,


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  • Sye says:

    Really your raising two issues when it comes to the media (the area which I study,) one is that the media will only publish the bad stuff because that is all they consider news worthy. It is only my opinion of course but people are far more concerned in this country with things that make them worry or angry, that disenfranchise them or make the scared because it also gives them something to think about. However in the same vein, we DO see some nice things in the news, not a lot, but if I go to the BBC news website (and I’m going to, right now!…

    There we are see, todays news features Prince charles saying “Jolly Good” to the cumbrian spirit and the proposal of a climate fund between us and france to hel poor nations. Those are the nice stories, perhaps the not nice stories seem more justified, or simply seem ‘bigger news’. And to be honest, the story of a war widow finding the truth of how her husband was killed is probably more justified to reach the masses.

    The other issue is of course reporter bias, the BBC and SKY and ITV and all those other tellybox companies will have their own bias, but really its up to the viewer to form an opinion from their sources. For exampe you yourself up there are spouting a lot of politically controversial ideas around which a lot of people share, but its up to me to do my research before forming my opinion, and its the same with these news companies.

    The good thing about the larger companies such as aunty beeb and Sky is that they are so renowned and watched careful by trading standards and OFFCOM and other such companies that they are almost universally bound to report just the facts, and have even reported on their own mistakes in the past.

  • Mike says:

    England is certainly becoming a Nanny State! It’s not just that the health-and-safety fascists are interfering in every aspect of every day life; it’s that they are stifling creativity and innovation. We are becoming bland and grey.

    If capitalism has to work (as I believe it does and must) then people must be free to suffer the consequences of their actions. The banks would certainly have cleaned up their act if they thought they would be allowed to fail. The moment we spent, staggeringly, 100s of billions bailing them out we confirmed their belief they operate in a risk free environment. I know I’m free to sleep on the streets, go to prison, etc, if I am not careful. But apparently bankers are always fine!

    You use the example of National Rail; in Germany the railways are privatised; they work fine. In France they receive massive state investment; they work fine. The railways here are in a state due to decades of underinvestment caused by two things. Nationalisation, which turned privately owned railways from the best in the world to the worst because politicians don’t lose their homes if nationalised railways go down. Railway owners, however, would (look at what’s happening to Stagecoach). And also US, voting for lower taxes that restricted investment in infrastructure for 40 years.

    You are spot on when you identify apathy as a real problem. Why aren’t there riots in the street over the recent expenses scandal? Why are people tolerating a government that locks people up without trial? Why is the next Government likely to be formed by a party that set up – not joined, but set up – a far-right wing alliance with parties from Eastern Europe in the European Parliament?

    Freedom of speech is an absolute right; call me names by all means but be prepared when I prove you wrong! It’s easy to get involved. Join a political party, stand for parliament, start a petition, go to town hall meetings, write to your MP!! I do wish there were more people like you. More power to your blogging arm, Anthony.

  • Antony says:

    Sye – I agree occassionally I do seem some good news. No often though, which is a real shame because there’s a lot of good in the world.

    I also agree that it is up to you to make your own judgement and I always try to express my own views, which I try to keep balanced at times.

    Mike – I agree that we are stiviling creativity and innovation. I’m also glad you agree that we are struggling to have apathy for others….is the route cause of this potentially institutionalism?

    Freedom of speech is an absolute right, but what is the point of freedom of speech if your opinions, values and attitudes can’t influence your life and the community you life in?

    You can join a political party (if you believe in any of them?), stand for parliment (are you going to be able to make change with a system that’s wrong?), start a petition (done that one!), go to town hall meetings (do they have them?) and write to my MP (do they actually read the emails/letters they recieve?).

    Thank you both for the comments.

    A x

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