Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Madness of Crowds

Here comes an association between the Radio 2 debacle and the disappearance of pubs. These are very strange phenomenon. The common feature is that the decision making in these cases is influenced by people who are fundamentally not involved. It reminds me of the response given by an Italian Roman Catholic woman, when asked about the Papal stance on contraception said "He doesn't play the game, so he doesn't make the rules."

So, when the infamous Brand and Ross broadcast was made, there were two complaints. After the red tops (British popular tabloids) got hold of the story it escalated to tens of thousands of complaints. The media and political bandwagon rolled, as did heads. Now please don't get the impression that I approve of the broadcast, but surely there is a strange effect going on here. These complaints are coming from people who are only involved third hand. Do they have a right to express an opinion? Certainly. Do they have right on their side? Well, I doubt it really.

Let's look at the pubs. Since the banning of smoking in British pubs I have seen many of them close. The argument was that when smoking was banned, the non-smokers would fill the pubs. This has been demonstrated to be wrong. What has happened? Well, the non-smokers wanted to be able to go into pubs without being assailed by cigarette smoke. Seems reasonable, except it is pretty clear that they aren't going into the pubs - otherwise they would not be closing. All they wanted was smoke free pubs - not to go into them.

The danger here is that we moving into a society where decisions are made by our political classes doing that which seems popular. This may be a worse expression of vox populi than a society where decisions are made by referenda - and that would be a truly frightening society. The deprecated term is plebicite. The UK has developed a concept of "representative democracy" - where our elected representatives are expected to make up their own minds on matters - not purely reflect the opinions of their electors.

So what next? Well, on the current pattern we will end up with public floggings and hangings. All I can say is watch out. Good people must speak out against this appalling trend. If we remain silent then we tacitly approve of it.

So, so take the cockspiracy analysis, there is no conspiracy to drift towards a fascist state, just a series of cockups removing our traditional attitudes, institutions and freedoms.

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