Legislation Overload

Politicians seem to think that they think they can make the world a better, safer, fairer, cleaner, greener and healthier place by producing an unending flood of new legislation.  Top down solutions seldom work and you only have to look at the sheer volume of recent lawmaking to understand the extent of the problem.  It was said that New Labour introduced a new law every three hours and the pace has hardly slackened since.  Even though a high percentage of new laws come from Brussels, our legislative record is appalling.

Hard cases make bad law and examples abound.  The draconian Criminal Records Bureau has dissuaded many thousands of decent people from becoming involved in children and special needs groups.  Health and safety fears have decimated outdoor activities, insurance liability has frustrated community initiatives and human rights legislation has denied the majority the right to see justice done.  No stone is left unturned and no activity, leisure pursuit or business venture can escape the army of self-righteous do-gooders who seek to impose their beliefs on everyone else.   

The most common flaw in new legislation is that it is minority driven.  Not only does it often fail to protect the very people it sets out to help, it inevitably comprises the freedom of everyone else in the process.  Their methodology is depressingly repetitive.  A pressure group will lobby politicians who in turn commission loaded research to prove that a problem exists and can actually be remedied.  Legislation is then drafted and any dissenters accused of being disinterested in the welfare of others or in the pay of vested interests.  The recent vote to raise the price of alcohol in Scotland is a prime example and, once again, it will be the poorer people who will be hardest hit.  Lowering the drink diving limit is their next target, a move which will hardly impact on Scottish Ministers in their chauffeur driven limousines.

If we continue to raise people who do not know how to act in a civil society, who are ignorant of the difference between right and wrong, have no conception of responsibility and no desire to work, then no amount of legislation or regulation will help. Increasing the number of police, jacking up penalties and churning out volumes of legalese will continue to be a complete waste of time and money. 

We can achieve all of the above good intentions, and more besides, but we will not do it by treating the symptoms.  We must restore the foundation blocks of a civil society, strong families, quality education, personal responsibility, willingness to work and peer respect.  We might even manage to inject some sanity and joie de vivre back into our lives by no longer treating everyone as a potential criminal or congenital idiot.