I am writing an important letter to William Hague on his proposed inquiry into torture (via my MP to make sure an FCO bureaucrat does not bury it). I am marshalling my evidence but trying to keep it short, plain and unemotional.
So no energy or time for significant blogging today. Some thoughts to keep people going.
I am staunchly against fox-hunting. In my youth I was in the Hunt Saboteurs Association and remember great fun laying aniseed trails to disrupt otter hunts somewhere near Kings Lynn. I would happily do that again. I supported the ban on fox-hunting.
But I have changed my mind. I still strongly oppose fox-hunting, but I no longer think it should be illegal. New Labour changed my mind. They opened my eyes to the dangers of authoritarianism and the criminalisation of numerous activities. The mind that will ban protest outside parliament and make it illegal to photograph a policeman or railway station, is a mind seeking to abuse the power of the state.
New Labour convinced me that excessive state power is a real evil to weigh in the balance when considering how to deal with any issue. I consider fox hunting an ill, but state interference a greater ill. Any liberal should believe that the state should interfere in liberty as a last resort.
Other forms of social sanction can and should be deployed against fox hunters. Social disapprobation, ridicule, protest, peaceful disruption. But is the crushing hand of the state really required? No, I don’t think it is.
The same goes in my view for the smoking ban. I don’t smoke and hate cigarette smoke, But should it be illegal in pubs and restaurants, which are private property? No.
Lights blue touchpaper and goes back to his letter to William Hague…