The nanny state has given way to a bully state in which politicians coerce the public into submission.
A new book by controversial former MSP Brian Monteith argues that the nanny state is dead but has been replaced by a much more malevolent bully state where we are not just preached at, but forced to do what the politicians think we should.
The Bully State: The End of Tolerance charts the movement from nannying health warnings about smoking, through compulsory motor cycle helmets and seat belts, to the bully times of today, when we can be fined for smoking in our own cars and Marmite is banned in schools.
Monteith warns: "We won't lose the freedoms that we cherish by a military coup or some great cataclysmic war engulfing us, but through the gradual invasion of our private lives by the very politicians we elect to protect us - and all in the cause of looking after our health.
"Today's politicians think us mature enough to elect them, but too immature to decide what we should eat, smoke, drink or drive. So they give officials powers to snoop on us, enter our homes, fine householders without trial for using the wrong rubbish bins, and make shopkeepers hide the cigarettes under the counter.
"This is not just some left-wing campaign. It started when New Labour and Conservative politicians decided that information and choice weren't enough in their brave new target-setting world. Now politicians of all colours simply bully us into submission if we do things they don't approve of."
The book traces our evolution from nanny to the bully state, with its growing intervention into the realms of smoking, eating and drinking - including some truly bizarre and absurd examples of politicians' latest bullying. An edifying and shocking read. --Booksmith, October 13 2009
To anyone who actually possesses a brain, rather than merely being fodder for the neuro-linguistic shenanigans of the righteous, the revelations within (this work) shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but Monteith does conclude in an upbeat manner, as the synopsis hints at.
Everyone has heard of the nanny state. Many object to its pervasive influence in our daily lives, some reluctantly conclude that nanny really has our best interests at heart, while others work feverishly to extend nanny's influence.
That was then, this is now. Nanny has been dismissed, sent packing. Nanny has been replaced by the bully.
Unlike nanny, the bully state is not content to allow people to enjoy their hard-fought liberties while pointing out the choices it would prefer us to make. Today, the state goes to increasing lengths to enter into our private domain. Our homes are no longer our castles as the state seeks to dictate our behaviour with intimidation and threats, backed up by severe penalties, the threat of a criminal record, or the loss of one's livelihood.
Brian Monteith, a former member of the Scottish parliament, reveals how the nanny state came to be and why, dissatisfied with our stubborn resistance to her pleas to change our behaviour, the bully state has been brought in to enforce a stricter code of conduct.
Despite this, Monteith remains optimistic, explaining how we can beat the bullies and remain free to enjoy our liberties.
And a good read it is too. It will anger you, of that there is no doubt, but don't let that put you off.
I finished the book today and all I can say is - buy it here, read it, and lend it to as many friends as you can. --Dick Puddlecote, October 2009