In his Financial Times Maverecon blog, Willem Butler says:
“I have become convinced that the price of freedom is eternal vigilance against the encroachment by the powers of the state on the private domain. The better-intentioned a government professes to be, and the better-intentioned it truly is when it first gains office, the more it is to be distrusted.
“After even the most liberal-minded, open-government-committed party takes hold of the reins of government, it takes never more than a single term of office, four years - five at the most - before paranoia takes over. Disagreement becomes dissent, dissent becomes disloyalty, disloyalty becomes betrayal and betrayal becomes treason. The public interest merges seamlessly with the private interest of the incumbents. The state bureaucracy, where it has not been taken over by government loyalists on day one of the new administration, is gradually transformed into an arm of the government. Some formal checks and balances often remain, parliament and the courts among them, but they too are often feeble to begin with and weaken further as the term office of the incumbent government lengthens.
“I have watched this process at work in the
There are some interesting comments, one of which, by ‘Blissex’, points out that
“New Labour’s major fault is that they are too poll driven (following rather than leading public opinion), and therefore they have been unwilling to resist the strong demand by a majority of the voters for more repression, less civil liberties, more state interference in private lives.
“If you notice, the Tories have been campaigning for the same, but even further to the right, as it were.
“The big driver is the growing number of elderly rentiers among voters, people who much prefer (the illusion of) safety to liberty, people who are just a little less authoritarian than the usual flog-n-hang them class.
“ASBOs, CCTV, detention without trial, … are all wildly popular with voters, and every time the government or the opposition want to pander to buy themselves some votes without spending they propose new nasty attacks on liberty, especially the liberty of nasty young people to misbehave and irritate their elders.
“The greatest threat to liberty is not the parties, which only do what the polls tell them, but voters, whose demand for practical fascism has driven a lot of politics in the USA and the UK (and several other countries, as in many the baby boom generation has reached middle and old age) over the past 2-3 decades.
“These voters are sitting pretty, vested in careers, pensions, properties, and their main feeling is fear; they see all change as a threat, not an opportunity, a threat to their enjoyment of all they are vested in.”
My thanks to Tyger for highlighting the above.