Wednesday, 13 January 2010


As I was dancing the Bolero on the roads in my crapmobile this morning, I could have sworn I heard Andy Burnham say something like "it's not the job of government to decide social norms".

You fucking what, I thought to myself? But then I wasn't listening too intently. No, what I was doing very intently, was studying the road in front of me to spot any small gaps in the black ice, towards which I might direct my almost constantly spinning wheels.

I was concentrating so much on that, that the words I heard must have jumbled up, and re-arranged themselves into something quite breathtakingly brazen. I mean, Burnham, of the Labour party which has been dictating just about every aspect of our lifestyle and behaviour for the past 12 years? The party which invented the policy of 'denormalisation' of smokers and is now using the same tactics on drinkers, foodies and motorists? For such a man to utter something so surreal would take quite some brass neck. I must have misheard.

Then I read the BBC.

A spokesperson from the Department of Health said it was "not the government's role to dictate social norms".



Oldrightie said...

In a dictatorship social norms are to be eradicated so in a way he's correct!

Dick Puddlecote said...

Good point, how could I have been so naive? ;-)

Frank Davis said...

But a couple of days back, Call Me Dave said:

When there are more than 120,000 deaths each year related to obesity, smoking, alcohol and drug misuse. When millions of schoolchildren miss out on learning because their classmates are constantly disruptive. When British families are drowning in nearly one and a half trillion pounds worth of personal debt.

And then ask yourself: do any of these problems relate to personal choices that people make? Or are they all somehow soluble by top down government action, unrelated to what people actually choose to do? Can we hope to solve these problems if we just ignore character and behaviour?

The answer is blindingly obvious. We have a whole host of severe social problems that are caused in part from the wrong personal choices so who can seriously argue that the state should continue to just treat the symptoms of these problems instead of the root causes

The state has to tell people how to 'make the right choices'. i.e. it's the state's job to define social norms.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Yes, Frank, and there was Burnham this morning saying he disagreed with that. It was surreal.

Tories saying norms need to be dictated and Labour, who have done nothing but dictate norms, saying that they didn't agree.

Could be why we hate all of the fuckers.

Anonymous said...

Cover-up at Westminster regarding their members-only smoking rooms.

Courtesy of Nick Harvey MP (North Devon, Liberal Democrat) we now have full confirmation that they do exist:

“Members and their guests have access to all the bar facilities listed above. Also, the Members’ Smoking Room is provided for the exclusive use of Members of Parliament….”