Children’s Car Booster Seats and EC Directive

booster.jpg

It is .. utterly incredible that the state should now be trying to prolong our national car seat agony

individual choice .. or .. international coercion

Has Labour gone finally potty in asking the cops to spend their time poking their noses into the back seats of our cars…

We need proper standing committees with the power to mandate ministers, and to refuse to accept directives even if they are decided at a majority vote

Brussels is taking a big liberty with children’s booster seats

Of all the sensations of joy and release that Nature in her kindness has bestowed on the human race, there is little or nothing to beat the moment when you get rid of the baby’s car seat.

It beats getting off a long-haul flight. It beats taking off a pair of ill-fitting ski-boots after a hard day on the slopes. It verges, frankly, on the orgasmic. As you take the wretched thing to Oxfam, you thank your stars that never again will you have to grapple with that incomprehensible buckle.

Never again will you stand sweating over your baby as it screams and writhes and sticks yoghurt in your ear. Never again will you have that struggle of wills, as the child’s efforts to escape become ever more desperate and violent, and you grow later and later in setting off on your journey.

For children and parents alike that precious moment – when it is deemed that the offspring are capable of sitting on their own in the back with only a seat belt – is one of the pleasures of growing up. It is a rite of passage, a moment of pride and childish prestige.


It is, therefore, utterly incredible that the state should now be trying to prolong our national car seat agony. How old do you think they have to be before the nanny state will let your kids sit in the back without a car seat? Did I hear six? Did I hear seven? No, my friends, we are being asked to put our children in plastic booster seats until they reach the ripe old age of 12 or attain a height of 135cm, whichever is the sooner.

When I first heard of this plan I thought it must be some garbled echo from one of Bill Cash’s froth-flecked Eurosceptic digests. But as of this week, millions of hard-pressed British families have been stampeded to the shops, where they have been forced to pay as much as £30 for these ludicrous plastic banquettes, and my feelings of disbelief have gone, and I find myself shocked by the depth of my own anger.

If people decide that they are not going to comply with this crack-brained law, and they are not going to buy a banquette booster-seat for an 11-year-old, then they will have my complete sympathy. If the overworked police of this country decide they have better things to do than flag motorists down and measure their children to see whether or not they are more than 4ft 5in, then they will have my full support.

If they decide that they are not going to waste their precious time fining parents up to £500 for driving a 134cm 11-year-old without a booster seat then they will, in my view, be exercising robust common sense.

Has Labour gone finally potty in asking the cops to spend their time poking their noses into the back seats of our cars? Why the hell are we doing this, when violent crime is going up, when burglary has been virtually decriminalised, and when the number of children killed in car accidents has been steadily diminishing for the past 20 years?

Between 1981 and 1985 there was an average of 18 fatalities per year of children aged eight-11 using roads in the United Kingdom. That had fallen to 12 in the period 1994-98, to 11 in 2002, and in 2004 the total number of fatalities stood at four – an astonishing reflection on the growing safety of cars, when you consider how enormously they have increased in number.

I would resent this law badly enough as an infringement of my liberty to decide how to convey my own children in my own car. But the main reason why I am so angry is that this stupid and impertinent law was not even generated by the British Government. It wasn’t some gentleman in Whitehall who decided he knew best about booster seats. It wasn’t even the brainchild of the UK health and safety industry. It is, of course, an EU directive, which means that elected British politicians have been given neither the means nor the opportunity to contest it – or even to debate it.

This EU directive, 2003/20/EC, arises because a few years ago some lonely and bored European Commission official was persuaded (no doubt by the booster seat industry) that in some circumstances children under 135cm would be safer with booster seats.

So a directive was drawn up. Even if any EU government had dared oppose this “child safety” measure, that government could have been simply outvoted – while looking cavalier about the wellbeing of our little ones. The UK therefore apathetically connived in the exercise, and the directive was sent for “scrutiny” before parliament’s European Scrutiny Committee.

Needless to say, there was no discussion or “scrutiny”, since the huge volume of EU legislation makes this impractical. As it rubber-stamped the directive (and bear in mind that there is no way Parliament, at that or any other stage, could have said no) the committee did ask two questions. How much would these seats cost the average family, and how many lives would be saved?

Four years later, long after this directive has become irreversible, the Government has replied. They don’t know how much it will cost, they say, but the measure “might save” the lives of 1.5 children per year. In the whole country.

OK folks: you do the maths. You think how many millions of car journeys are there involving children every day. You might decide that it is still worth installing booster seats for all under 135cm. But with odds like that it should surely be a matter for individual choice and not international coercion.

What enrages me is that this was not even discussed in one of the Commons’ three European Standing Committees, and what enrages me more is that even if it had been discussed, it would have made no difference.

We need proper standing committees with the power to mandate ministers, and to refuse to accept directives even if they are decided at a majority vote. Otherwise we will find that the law of this country – the law affecting the personal lives of millions, and their children – is not made in this country; and that is a perfect and justifiable reason for massive civil disobedience.

130 thoughts on “Children’s Car Booster Seats and EC Directive”

  1. Sandwich

    Handsome wants to show me
    How to make cucumber sandwich
    Like the English do…

    – Cucumber and nothing else.
    – What? No meat?
    – Darling, that’s how they do!

    – I’m no cook- it’s such a fright!
    – Don’t worry. I’m right behind!!!
    You Demi. Me Patrick ( starts humming )

    – Unchained Melody, innit?

    Eliza, 21 Sept 2006, for my Boris, the one with strong, protective hairy arms…

  2. Boris blames Brussels for the Regulation, but it is the British Parliament which insists that Britain remain in the EU. And Boris is a Member of Parliament. So unless Boris campaigns for Britain to leave the EU, Boris is part of the problem. Thus by his own pen does he condemn himself.

    As David Cameron has said that no member of his team is permitted to campaign for Britain to leave the EU, Boris should either resign his post, or stop blaming Brussles when he himself does nothing about it.

    He should sign up to the Better off Out campaign (www.betteroffout.co.uk).

  3. Even as a non-parent, this does seem ludicrous to me. Rather than peering into car windows to look at the seats, why can’t the police, (as they’re idly looking through everyone’s windows), prosecute the horde of people who continue to use hand-held mobile phones while driving? I see multiple instances of this every day on my way to work and back.

  4. Good article – but a surprise at the end: Boris said, “Otherwise we will find that the law of this country …is not made in this country…”

    Wrong tense, Boris. Surely you must realise that the law of this country has not been made in this country for some number of years now.

    I suspect this is why so few people give any credence to those who inhabit Westminster: MPs can make no difference because they have given away great rafts of our sovereignty. This is the elephant in the politicians’ room! Perhaps, Boris, you should focus more on how we can get back what rightfully belongs to the British people and certainly not to MPs – that is, our sovereignty.

    For example, I do not understand why this Parliamentary Scrutiny Committee does not block all new EU regulations until they have at least (a) read and (b) understood them. Otherwise, what use is this Committee?

    Yes, yes, I know what you’ll answer to this last question – and your inevitable answer, and all it implies, is right at the heart of the sovereignty problem. Is this a subject worthy of your notice? And if so, how can I, and any others who think likewise, help?

  5. You cruel, cruel man. How can you possibly denounce a scheme that will – sorry, may – save the life of not just one child but 1.5 childs (advice on the plurality of partial children, please someone).

    The £100 million cost to parents – chicken feed compared with the expense of bringing up a child – will quickly be recouped in fines anyway, so what’s the problem?

    This has echoes of the last topic about political correctness. See how it works? Present a noble, hard-to-challenge statement like “If it saves just one life, it’s worth every penny”. Then, if anyone dares to question the notion they immediately become wanton child-killers.

    Boris avoided that rather well by the sheer force of his argument. Superb stuff.

    Addendum
    Ha! That started out as a notional quote. I just found the real thing (Cambridge Evening News).

    “But Mrs Spence (Chief Constable Julie Spence) says the law will be worth it, even if just one life is saved. In the podcast, which will be released on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website, she says: “Even if just one child’s life is saved then the law will have been proved invaluable.”

    You couldn’t make it up!

  6. 1 CHRIS- see my reply your recent remarks on previous thread

    2 JT- What a good point you make , I have tried to argue that beneath the cloak of artful buffoonery Boris slips in the chilled steel but you are right this is sloppy thinking . I struggle to keep up with you but I’m certain I recently heard a respected commentator say. `If all the good guys left then we’d be even worse off` .I wonder if Boris is in that position and I wonder if in fact political decisions are a great deal more complex than you would have us believe . If I could only recall who gave me the quote we might discuss self contradictory positions further. Perhaps you would remind me .

    ELIZA – I must apologise for the wrong assumption made by some that you are in fact me . I brought this upon us I`m afraid by a previous spoof containing awful poetry . Your last one was pretty good I thought, but not so keen on this one.

    THALIA THIS IS NOT ME !!¬!

  7. I was standing in the bakery, waiting to buy a cornish pasty the other day. In front of me in the queue was a woman who was probably about 40 years old, but less than 135cm (4’5” and a bit).

    Looking at the directive, which only mentions ‘children’ she will still be allowed to sit in the front seat, and will not have to sit on a booster. So basically the EU have decided that we don’t know how to look after our kids until they are 12.

    It could have been worse too, the original height restriction in the directive was 150cm, but … ‘Member States may allow, in their territory, children
    of less than 150 cm in height and of at least
    135 cm in height to be restrained by a safety belt
    for adults.’

    I wonder which police authorities will decide to enforce this sill law. Presumably to get evidence they will have to measure the child, they would have to do this on callibrated equipment, possibly down the station, for the measurement to stand up to challenge in court.

    “I’m sorry Mrs Nichol that child looks under the prescribed limits to me, we’re going to have to ask your son to accompany us down the station to be measured.”

    Or do they give you a ‘producer’ for the kid, making it a legal requirement to produce him/her within 7 days to be measured?

    If I was a cop I’d be fuming, this wouldn’t be what I’d signed up for.

  8. Steven -L Excellent stuff- and yet it will still be argued that it saves the lives of children .These arguements are as you point out capable of extension into `Alice in Wonderland` ,absurdity.I thought Ks various discussion s of the Libertarian issues around children were a good balance of concern for freedom and safety .

    Perhaps instead of picking of easy targets like this one we should have a think about the legitmacy of state control in general. Otherwise we are all a lot of Canutes as the pointelss legislation laps our feet, up our legs and drowns us . Of course had Canute worn a booster seat he would have kept his head above the water a bit longer

  9. But Canute staged his watery demonstration exactly to show how foolish arbitary edicts are. He wanted to show that you cannot simply tell the sea to stop ebbing and flowing. We need an equivalent demonstration to show how foolish many of today’s arbitary edicts are.

    Goodbye Alice in Wonderland. (As Jewel says.)

  10. Sadly I have the feeling the police may jump right on this one as it is an easy target. In my area there are is a high frequency of very serious car accidents, yet the police spend a great deal of time pulling people over to check the car emissions. The other day I passed a layby that had six policemen hanging around while a car was randomly checked. To prevent dangerous driving and speeding we have a few signs and speed cameras. I am sure that we will see a similar thing occurring with childseats as it is an easy way for local authorities (I assume that it is they who collect the fines) to make money and be as protecting children.

  11. ‘We need an equivalent demonstration to show how foolish many of today’s arbitary edicts are’ (Chris Morriss)

    The Blair government are making ‘Equivalent demonstrations’ all the time:

    Telling us not to ‘binge drink’, telling us not to smoke to name a couple.

    Then there is Red Ken telling us not to flush our toilets or have a bath during the other years water shortage.

    The worrying thing is that they actually believe that they can order to tides of tradition and the forces of habit to stop.

  12. Boris you make a number of points and I agree that

    We need proper standing committees with the power to mandate ministers, and to refuse to accept directives even if they are decided at a majority vote. Otherwise we will find that the law of this country – the law affecting the personal lives of millions, and their children – is not made in this country; and that is a perfect and justifiable reason for massive civil disobedience

    Having said that, I don’t disagree with this law. I find it difficult to see how enforceable it will be but if it makes parents think twice about those precious bundles in the back of the car it’s worth it. I admit it’s probably a bit over zealous.

    The example that springs to mind is seeing a woman with three children, including a baby/toddler, climbing all over the place as she drove off and she was shouting and turning around as she drove. Stupid. Stupid and dangerous.

    First of all don’t give a child yoghurt in the car. Secondly, make the journey and the destination attractive to them and calmly refuse to move until they put their seatbelt on. They’ll get the point if you’re consistent. Finally, if they remove their belt whilst moving or before they are told they can, stop the car (safely) and point out to them if very young that they are being VERY naughty or if older that they are behaving incredibly stupidly, explain why and refuse to move until it is reinstated. If they persist then invoke a punishment i.e. no more trips to the park etc. Easy! I never had any problems.

    The point about cost of seats would be a good one if you could give them away. I’ve tried to give my baby stuff away and it’s difficult, no, impossible. Most of this stuff gets chucked down the tip – we should have a council exchange warehouse for stuff that’s good and free but no longer wanted. In fact half of mine is still in the garage. Charity shops don’t even want it as they are offered too much. One mother not only had all the car seats (as did we all) but a £500 pram and couldn’t find a taker. Sorry Boris, you can’t give them away.

  13. It’s really good to know that our elected representatives feel just as angry, frustrated and helpless as the rest of us.

  14. Perhaps it is worth pointing out that this is something of a personal matter for Boris. The Times August 04, 2006:

      Boris Johnson could face prosecution after being filmed driving on a motorway in his open-topped Lamborghini with his two young sons wedged together in the front seat.

      The Tory MP and shadow minister for higher education was videoed by a passenger in another car on his mobile telephone, as he drove along the M6 near Rugby, Warwickshire.

      Mr Johnson can be seen smiling and taking his right hand off the wheel of his dark-coloured Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder to wave, as a man shouts from another vehicle: “I love you, Boris.”

    I mean, really, taking his right hand off the wheel and waving.

  15. I am a Boris fan but I wonder if he is properly discharging his duty as an MP. He could have blocked this legislation, instead of writing sub Wodehousian prose about it. See here for more.

  16. Idlex,

    I was waiting for someone to mention that – I even thought about doing it myself, but since he stuck up for us students in the lecturers strike I didn’t have it in my heart to.

    Mike Clement said:

    ‘He could have blocked this legislation’

    Not without consequences. If we (the UK) fail to discharge out duties under our accession to the Treaty of Rome, then we can (as a country) be hauled in front of the European courts and fined (i.e. your taxes).

    We have to implement Directives into domestic law in the prescribed timeframe.

    Having said that, enforcing them is a different matter. Other countries in the EU are notorious for just putting crap law ‘on the shelf’ and forgetting about it.

    Here, for some reason, we seem to enforce all the crap laws and let proper criminals run rampage throughout the land pretending there is nothing we can do about it.

    We can’t even deport convicted foreigners, yet a Chief Constable is quoted above saying how important it is to check people have their 4′ tall 10 year olds on booster seats – all because it might save one life.

    In terms of road traffic enforcement the priority should be to get all the illegal drivers off the road – before another one of them causes an accident.

    Problem is it’s far easier to check up on and pester people who register their cars in their own names, have a permanent address, don’t lie to policemen and have an honest income to pay fines out of.

  17. Steven L-In terms of road traffic enforcement the priority should be to get all the illegal drivers off the road – before another one of them causes an accident.
    ILLEGAL DRIVERS PAID FOR BY LEGAL ONES VIA PREMIUM LOADS
    Indeed and having been lucky to escape with my life in an accident recently ( cycling through Brixton) the bitter irony has recently struck me forcibly. The Driver was un taxed uninsured and unlicensed , of course and I was if truth be known , pleasantly surprised that he was legally in the country at all. People I know have told me the same story and although there is an insurance pool against which you can claim in effect this is another tax as clearly this will be a deficit repaid though legitimate Premiums( themselves taxed at 5% IPT) I wonder what proportion of road accidents in the figures used to justify further coercion are drivers of this sort .Does anyone know ?
    OTHER TAXES OR MARKET DISTORTERS
    Straying from the point somewhat, and I must admit I think this article is not as good as the superb boundary commission so one is tempted. We should perhaps remember that not all taxation (like the insurance pool) is passed though the front door . Nialls Ferguson points this out in the Neo Con Bible Cash Nexus that subsidised industries (which dominate parts of the UK)can be used to act on the market so at make supernormal profits and this is a tax or market distortion that redistributes income , super stealth tax. Free market economists have been astonished that with the additional load there has not been more damage to the supply side economy over nine years . Andrew Gimsons explanation was basically that with the type of Mortgage debt we now all have everyone has to work like dogs any way( Good article how do you do that link thing ?)
    SUPPLY SIDE ARMAGEDDON
    Did we all notice the inflation warning today , unemployment is rising fast as well and this should not happen at the same time . I fear the damage of the last nine years may just have been disguised and interest rates will have to shoot up over the next two years. I do agree that it is when serious news is in the air one can feel a bit frustrated at Boris’s taste for whimsy.
    BRAGGING.
    I shall on the other hand allow him to get me a drink at the Presidents Annual Gathering . Perhaps I could get a direct question in . What should I ask ?.He says hallo if you lurk about
    QUERY STEVEN L.
    Steven L – Wasn’t the suggestion that he might campaign effectively within the Party for an anti EU agenda rather the single-handedly try to dismantle our current legal and constitutional position ?

    Sorry to be dull , money is really the `main course` of politics but its terribly boring

  18. K
    local authorities (I assume that it is they who collect the fines) to make money.
    K- right on the money as usual -if you google Islington Gazette post bag I have a letter on how Consultation has been rigged for tax purposes something about speechless.( How do you clever lot do that link thing you do)This is yet another local tax con waiting to roll out

  19. Mike Clement said:

    I am a Boris fan but I wonder if he is properly discharging his duty as an MP. He could have blocked this legislation, instead of writing sub Wodehousian prose about it.

    I took a look at this committee as you suggested, Mike, and I can see no way on God’s earth that Boris could have blocked this seatbelt directive – or any other EU directive come to that.

    Committee’s composition:

    Number of committee members: 17
    Number of Labour MP’s: 8
    + Number of Nulab Ministers 1
    + Number of Treasury Officials 1
    Number of Lib Dems (proxy Nulab MPs): 2
    Number of Conservative MPs: 5

    Scots MPs comprised almost 20% of the committee’s members, although Scotland represents only c 10% of the UK’s population.

    Nulab, although they won just 37% of votes cast – representing less then 25% of the UK electorate – in 2005, comprised over 70% of this Committee’s members.

    The Conservatives – who won over 33% of the electorate’s votes in 2005 were allocated less than 30% of the places on the committee. That is 5 less, or half the number of committee seats allocated to Nulab members. How very democratic.

    This committee wasn’t just a rubber stamp, it was a complete stitch up.

    I imagine Boris recognised that he would be peeing in the wind to speak against an outcome was decided in advance thanks to a majority of Labour members.

    Remember too, that Nulab have made us the laughing stock of Europe for putting gold plating virtually every insane scheme issuing from the corrupt EU gravy train.

    And that’s just what this giant’s charter is, bloody insane. My son was head and shoulders above his peers from the time he was in his pram. His madbrained conduct while bopping about in my car s a child required more of a strait jacket than a booster seat. I, however, am petite. I practically sit on my glove compartment with my nose squashed against my windscreen to reach my car’s pedals. If the police had stopped me while driving my son to his primary school, they would have said he should drive and I should use the booster seat.

  20. FLO- Petite eh? You paint an amusing picture. Isn’t all this ignoring the point that JT made though. His complaint was not that Boris did not vote this way or that but that he did not actively campaign against further EU integration. Clearly JT is a disapprover of our position in the EU and in that his views are not untypical of many Conservatives. JT is pointing out that David Cameron has given Boris a choice to either toe his sub group-of -the -party line or get out of it. Given that Boris has caved in, it’s a bit rich for him to be earning a living moaning about exactly the position he perpetuates. I know I am a wind bag but JT `s point has not actually been answered. Can I repeat it?

    `As David Cameron has said that no member of his team is permitted to campaign for Britain to leave the EU, Boris should either resign his post, or stop blaming Brussles when he himself does nothing about it.`

    No I am not this person (or any of the other people) I just think it is a genuine problem that has no satisfactory answer so far .

  21. Newmania said:

    Isn’t all this ignoring the point that JT made though. His complaint was not that Boris did not vote this way or that but that he did not actively campaign against further EU integration. Clearly JT is a disapprover of our position in the EU and in that his views are not untypical of many Conservatives.

    To nail my colours to the mast, I totally detest the corrupt EU and want UK out of it fast. However, if I’m honest with myself, I do have a gnawing doubt about the wisdom of this. Might we be cutting off our noses to spite our faces if we pull out? Would it be better to agitate for and to seek a form of membership which does not allow the EU to invade us by stealth?

    What’s your view Paul, and what do others think about this?

  22. This is absolutely not the first time Boris has spoken out about these car seats, as you can see from this article from April of 2004. Boy, I wouldn’t want to be a Henley-based booster seat manufacturer! Note to any reading this: watch your back!

    Stand up and fight these plastic seatettes
    April 22, 2004 | Print this page
    This archived post, made by Melissa, is filed under the articles category.

    The last time this country was offered a referendum on Europe, I was one of four children under 10 lolling on the back seat of our Renault Four. It had a peculiar gearstick, and the driver could find reverse only after various undignified contortions – rather like Tony Blair. Those were the days before seatbelts in the back, and we used to bounce around so merrily that by the end of any long voyage our bench was a glorified vomitorium. We also had a bumper sticker, and it said “Yes to Europe!”

    Of course it did. It was 1975, and those were the days when saying yes to Europe meant saying yes to so many things that were obviously good and civilised. It meant yes to tariff-free French wine; yes to your right to become a dentist in Brussels; yes to spaghetti al vongole; yes to selling life insurance to the Germans; yes to the high, happy, innocent ideals of free trade and co-operation with our friends and partners.

    How changed, mes amis, is the modern European Union from that Common Market, and how it continues to octopus itself into every corner of our lives – including the back seats of our cars. Under Mr Blair’s amazing U-turn, the public will now be invited to support a new “constitution” for this country and the rest of the continent. The text contains various federalising advances that have been well-trailed, and which are likely to remain whatever is agreed in June: European presidents, European foreign policy supremos complete with European foreign policy, European judicial harmonisation, human rights charters and all the rest of it.

    You may or may not think these things, on their own, are enough to deserve a No vote; but let us concentrate for now on the way the treaty extends the system of majority voting – by which national governments can be overruled – and which I believe to be deeply corrupting of democracy.

    And so on. Can’t put another link in to the rest or the post will go to Limbo. Click through and read the rest.

  23. Spot on , Boris. Ideologically, I’m in full agreement with you. Politically, however, I have the luxury of being a retired serviceman while you are an MP very much on active service. If, say, the 1 part of the 1.5 children who were killed in any given year as a result of not being in a child seat happened to be the daughter of a constituent, I wouldn’t have to explain why I fought tooth and nail against that legislation.

  24. James L-M.
    Your argument about the hypothetical constituent is a bit of a red herring. Boris is arguing from the libertarian viewpoint that this measure should not be COMPULSARY. If the constituent wanted to fit child seats because they were concerned about their child’s safety there’s nothing to stop them doing so. Boris is not arguing that the child seats should be banned after all is he?

    It is quite right to fight tooth and nail against edicts like this seat issue, because the edict is illiberal. It doesn’t matter if it saves 1.5 children per year. The government should however be allowed to issue advice that a child booster seat is recommended to be used, but no more than that. (As they do with cycling helmets).

  25. …point out to them if very young that they are being VERY naughty [Jaq]

    And get yourself arrested in the process? Didn’t you know, Jaq, you are not allowed to call a child “naughty” any more? It is a negative label that lowers their self-esteem.

    As for Boris’s sardine episode, how else are you supposed to fit two extra people in a Lamborghini?

    On to James L-M: I wouldn’t have to explain why I fought tooth and nail against that legislation.

    The sinister side of political correctness laid bare. Backed by the “if it saves just one life” mantra, booster seats suddenly take on a divine importance. Anyone who challenges their mandatory use becomes an enemy of society and has a devil of a job justifying their position. But as Boris has shown, this regulation is hard to justify on statistical grounds. That kind of money could be used to save many more than 1 (1.5?) lives if spent wisely.

  26. I am fairly certain that the 1.5 children who died as a result of not using a booster seat died as a result of a car accident that could have been avoided. If the time and money that has been spent on this legislation had been spent on effective road saftey programmes ( for instance more police on the roads to catch dangerous drivers as opposed to cctv which can only help after the event) I think it would be likely that the lives of a lot more children would be saved including the 1.5 mentioned here.

  27. James L-M
    If an MP has to explain why he fought against the legislation then surely the parent who did not put the child in a booster seat, but then blames the lack of booster seat for the childs death has even more explaining to do.
    Stopping the legislation does not ban people from using the booster seats, but it gives parents the right to decide if it is needed.

  28. I’m just an old soldier and not up to your clever ways of arguing, I’m afraid. But I think your apparent libertarian position exposes its own problems. The libertarian view here, as I see it, suggests that legislation brought in to save lives, any lives, is the work of the nanny state, and responsibility should really be placed entirely on the shoulders of the individual. One child’s life isn’t worth the damage to libertarian freedoms, in other words. This smacks of other ideological positions which see that the individual can be sacrificed to the good of the theory. I’m all for Boris’s libertarian ideas, but they have to be tested against the real world. He is a politician who has to face up to the consequences of his theories, unlike us. I also don’t see that it helps giving warnings about – encouragement to engage in? – ‘massive civil disobedience’ when you happen not to like a law – and this from a responsible member of parliament. Is he suggesting that we shouldn’t comply with this law? Are there any other laws he thinks we should disregard if we don’t like them? The forced wearing of seatbelts? Crash helmets? Should we have the right to bear arms? Where does it stop?

    I’m afraid I served out my career in a post where, at times, I had to face the consequences of civil dosobedience – in cities like Belfast and Londonderry. Does Boris realise that it’s other people who have to take the brunt of civil disobedience? As I said before, ideologically I’m in agreement; but in reality, one has to face up to the laws, and to the consequences of disregarding those laws. And again, we who write in to this website don’t have to face real individuals with our theories and expect them to be satisfied with the argument.

  29. Don’t we? I stand by my remarks here whether I’m talking to someone in meatspace or in cyberspace.

    I, personally, can’t wait to see Boris camped out, doing his very best Brian Haw act. I recall the last civil disobedience came to an end when a policeman reminded him of the law. Let’s see what happens this time: will Boris go to the barricades to fight Blair’s Boosters?

  30. You speak for yourself, L-M. I’m all for a spot of civil disobedience if it’ll help to dislodge the shower running this country. Anyone care to join me?

  31. K….- Your second point is quite superb .I am somewhat troubled that the first( education etc.) is less reasonable than you so eloquently make it sound . I can see the balance, `I object to state control but allow the state to inform me so I can decide.` Yes but is the states information always so benign ? Information and persuasion by government departments can be a more insidious form of control that grosser measures. I`m sure you can think of places where `re-education` is more obviously misused.
    Does comparing handy advice on booster seats to being changed until you `Love big Brother` sound a stretch ? Yes of course, but the process is incremental in real life and viewed as part of the overall campaign for psychological control it is another step down the road . We did without `healthnsafety` ( now one word) until the 60s . Its importance has been the subject of non stop propaganda ever since and now it is tucked into society like a maggot in an apple.
    Aldous Huxleys witty approach was to posit a society where instead of changing things so people got what they want people are changed so they want what they get!
    I am suggesting ( not to seriously I hope) that you are in fact guilty of the Liberal error of looking at life one issue at a time and not considering the principle behind your suggestion.. Having these views you can see , I hope , why I am so enamoured of your first point on personal responsibility.

    Welcome to my world of paranoid individualism.

  32. raincoaster – I may be mistaken, but I don’t think you’re an elected politician, and consequently you don’t have to answer to your electorate for the political choices you make… And I don’t think Boris will be doing a Brian Haw, however much he might encourage us to. Here’s Boris’s comment on Brian: ” I can’t say I deeply regret the containment in Parliament Square of Brian Haw, the father of seven, anti-war loony who used to bellow at me on my bicycle. Call me finickety, but I thought his posters and general gubbins were a disgrace”. Beware of libertarians – they have a habit of being rather repressive when it suits them.

  33. P Hillman -You speak for yourself, L-M. I’m all for a spot of civil disobedience.

    Yes quite and as the governement ignored the orderly march of the million strong countryside alliance the reposnsibility is entirely theirs.

    …….And yet and yet such justifications have been used by the IRA ( The failure of peaceful protest prior to the Troubles)

    Tricky

  34. I certainly don’t have to answer to constituents, but it would be dehumanizing to the populace to insinuate that only the choices of elected representatives are true responsibilities.

    The obscure have no less a duty (and no more of one) do to obey the principles of justice and truth. Nor are our choices less intrinsically important. Your post seemed to imply otherwise:

    we who write in to this website don’t have to face real individuals with our theories and expect them to be satisfied with the argument

    Really, there’s the potential for blowback for everyone when we stand by our principles.

    Besides, by now we all know Boris can get away with anything.

  35. `Islington Conservatives President, Boris Johnson MP is hosting a post-Conference reception for Islington Conservatives members. other members of the Shadow Cabinet will attend.`

    How d`ya like me now . look forward to hob nobbing gaily with hero in real life .

  36. newmania – done that, been there, sighed the sighs. Even took photos – must give you those when I see you Melissa, Dad photoshopped them for me :-))

  37. PaulD – I don’t call my children naughty I say that was a naughty thing to do. It is the behaviour I critisise or praise. The people are simply loved, no matter what.

    There are some things that the State should take responsibility for because these things are just too important to leave to chance. The vulnerable in our society should be provided with the basics of life. For me that includes proper school dinners (I used to get free milk) and adequate provision for the elderly. The problem with this, as we have seen, is that our liberties are infringed ‘in our name’. Are we arguing here about the degree of this law regarding car seats or the fact it exists or how it exists, i.e. from Europe?

    The other side of the coin is that government uses ‘infringement of human rights’ to do sod all when it should.

    raincoaster – good ref about Boris in 1975. Sorry to bring up git-face again folks but if you watched his prog ‘This Sceptic Isle’ (asked for link/ref and will provide if I get one) he details UK admission into the Euopean Union and there was no mention of a market, common or otherwise.

  38. There is one way to tell if an edict from anyone should be resisted by those few of us around who still love liberty.
    The easy way to tell is if the ‘figure of authority’ tells us: “It’s for your own good”.

  39. RAIN COASTER- You raise my sexual orientation.To deal with this sensitive issue I have to go the bard Sir Mixalot .

    I like big butts and I can not lie
    You other brothers can’t deny
    That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist
    And a round thing in your face….

    I hope we`ve cleared that up with apoligies to any `petite` contributors .( FLO )

  40. To raise another PC issue for a mo, I see that Ruth Kelly is calling for more TV newsreaders wearing the hijab. Does anyone have a view on this, apart from “bring back Reginald Beaujolais”?

    The hijab is the covering scarf, by the way, not the peep-hole job.

  41. I don’t think Boris is too keen on Bangkok. So funny that Mark Oaten took his wife there on anniversary was it? Just popping out for a minute dear 🙂

  42. Off Topic:

    Sorry folks but this is hilarious. Just the fact that it happened is hilarious but I was crying after reading the comments. I think it’s safe to assume that ‘Alex B’ has nothing to do with Boris Johnson – Boris is FAR too busy being in Westminster and being intellectually and financially productive to spare time enough to promote some tabloid hack. Boris is on Any Questions tonight folks – R4 8pmish I think.

  43. The thing that really annoys me about this idiocy is that there is nothing wrong with the advice if given that your smaller than average kid could benefit from one of these infernal contraptions. I’m sure the manufacturers would aggresively market it and they would within some time become commonplace if not the norm.

    Instead, once again, this omnipotent government of ours at the urging of the omnipresent EU has decided that potentially good advice should become law.

    Is it really so hard for these two bodies to understand that people are not totally stupid and if the advice given out seems sound and could indeed save the life of children then a lot of parents would take it?

    Instead in their wisdom these wonderful bodies treat their populations as if they themselves needed one of these infernal booster seats.

  44. ‘I see that Ruth Kelly is calling for more TV newsreaders wearing the hijab.’ (PaulD)

    Why? Hasn’t she got anything better to do?

    ‘Wasn’t the suggestion that he might campaign effectively within the Party for an anti EU agenda rather the single-handedly try to dismantle our current legal and constitutional position?’ (Newmania)

    Personally I think Camerons idea of working towards an ant-federalist movement in the EU was a good one. Many of the new Member States are electing right-wing anti-federalists governments. It will be interesting to see what the position of Sweden’s new government is. Scandanavians are notoriously euro-sceptic, Norway won’t even join.

    I think as the EU becomes more and more federal, and as it intrudes more and more into evefy aspect of our lives, more governments will take a similar anti-federalist line.

    I’m not going to join in any civil disobedience over it myself. I can’t afford £500 fines and don’t want to spend a couple of weeks in the slammer.

    I am, however, going to start taking advantage of cross-border shopping for my fags and booze – hit them where it hurts!

  45. Ruth Kelly is calling for more TV newsreaders wearing the hijab.

    I can see the point .. Muslim leaders of a certain sort , not all , do not want the appearance of Muslims to be incorporated into images of normal Britain . They wish to retain separateness and have an active interest in keeping` low level` suspicion high .What is going on here , integration, is actually a ( justifiable) act of cultural aggression against elements of Muslim culture , not its people . Rein in criticism of political correctness against Ruth Kelly here say I. She was the one who had a reported `sharp` exchange of views ` with the British Muslim Council when they suggested we were to blame for being bombed for neglecting to ask them which foreign policy we should pursue . Good for her
    In general I think Conservatives should steer clear of attacking ethnic groups in Britain however tempting it might be on occasion .It so saps all credibility that if only as a political decision our guns would be better trained elsewhere. Certainly I would hate this place to become infested with BNP supporters who cluster around this sort of issue like yipping hyenas . Ian Dales site is .I wrote recently to him complaining that his prominent position in his own chart was obtained by accepting latrine wall filth from thugs so it was not precisely a fair competition other sites , affiliated to the Conservative party, where such material would not be accepted .

    Political correctness ,we sometimes forget , can be good thing !

    On the other hand . Woman in Burqa `Does my bomb look big in this ?`

  46. I think the Hijab, or headscarf in English, is more of a traditional thing than a Muslim thing.

    I mean my granny wears one and so does the Queen, both are devout Christians.

    Lots of young Muslims choose not to wear them on fashion grounds. Girls from the subcontinent look better without them in most cases, they often have such lovely long, flowing, jet-black hair, covering it up makes no sense.

    In terms of Asian female newsreaders I’d rather they wear bright coloured Indian satins, bollywood style, grow their hair long and show it off. Perhaps they could show a little midrif and do a belly dance before the weater report.

    These black Burkha things are so off-putting, I don’t think young women should be encouraged to wear them at all.

  47. Exactly why does Ruth kelly feel that there should be more news readers weraing Islamic headscarfs? It cannot be any sort of religious or cultural acceptance as I do not think she has not mentioned anything about an increase in newsreaders wearing crucifixs, rosaries, skull caps, turbans etc. Nor has she mentioned anything about increasing the amount of disabled newsreaders. No, this is just another case of labours elastoplast politics.

  48. Muslim leaders of a certain sort, not all, do not want the appearance of Muslims to be incorporated into images of normal Britain. They wish to retain separateness and have an active interest in keeping ‘low level’ suspicion high. What is going on here, integration, is actually a (justifiable) act of cultural aggression against elements of Muslim culture, not its people.

    Good point there, Newmania. My principal objection is that, certainly as far as the BBC is concerned, it should not have its newsreaders showing any obvious signs of religious or cultural affiliation. The pedant might argue that a guy in suit and tie is showing cultural affiliation. Tough. It represents a style accepted as neutral by the majority of the British public (although how long the majority of the British public will have a say in anything remains to be seen).

    Steven_L says: Girls from the subcontinent look better without them in most cases, they often have such lovely long, flowing, jet-black hair, covering it up makes no sense.

    Here’s why, Steven (extracts from an Islamic website)

    Basically, the dress of ladies should cover the whole body except the face and hands (i.e. palms & fingers). Hair should not be exposed because Islam considers it as half of the total beauty of women.

    Moreover Hijab also gives the women an air of authority, dignity and respect, which a non-believer can never claim to possess. Only those who are well behaved can expect admiration and high esteem from others and definitely, those who try to attract men can never be called a well-behaved person.

    Those who reject Hijab and wish to attract men are suffering from inferiority complex. They believe men are superior and in order to overcome this feeling, they use their feminine charms. But why should a Muslim woman have such a feeling when she is fully aware of her equality with men?

    Hijab is one of the commandments of Allah (s.w.t.). The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.) said that those women who do not observe proper Hijab are blatantly defying the commandment of Allah (s.w.t.). Ahl-e-bait (a.s.) suffered hardships and offered unparalleled sacrifices to bring original Islam to us. Discarding Hijab puts their sacrifices in vain. And the pleasure of Allah (s.w.t.) is the greatest bliss. But for those who disobeyed, what punishment is awaiting them but Hell-Fire!

  49. Paul,

    That’s the PC version. I had a non-PC heated conversation with a Muslim man about the middle-east when the Israel-Lebanon thing was in full swing. the conversation descended into our cultural differences.

    At one point he said ‘you like your women here, when you look at our women we want to kill you’.

    I mean it, that’s exactly what he said, word for word.

  50. I’m just an old soldier and not up to your clever ways of arguing… (James Llewellyn-Masters)

    This set me pondering over my afternoon pint and ciggie, gazing out over the little English river that slides slowly by the ancient pub.

    Why should JLM wish to severally declare that he is a soldier? Why does that matter to him? Why should it matter to us? What does it matter who any of us are, or what we have done with our lives?

    I mean, what if someone were to remark, “As a one-time rock star, I firmly believe…”?

    Or, how about, “Speaking from my experience as a mafia godfather, I tend to feel quite strongly…”?

    Or, how about, “As a retired bricklayer and handyman, I seriously doubt…”?

    In general, I have no idea what anybody who writes on these threads actually is in what raincoaster terms ‘meatspace’. Nor do I particularly care. I’m generally concerned with the cogency of the arguments they set out, or the strength of the feeling they convey. All are, in some profound sense, equal – and equally anonymous.

    Of course, over time, one gets to pick up a snippet of personal information here and there. I have learned that raincoaster is a) a woman, b) Canadian, c) a writer, d) some sort of anarchist. Does this matter? Do we need to know? Not really.

    She writes brilliantly, and that’s the only thing that really matters. And it matters because words are the only things that are here. And are words ‘things’?

    I don’t know. I gaze out on the river. And on the river, the autumn leaves are falling. And each bent leaf becomes a little sailing ship, sailing towards the sea. I watch them pass, and salute their captains, as they bravely navigate past fallen trees, and rocks, and the swirling rapids of the Styx. None of them will ever come back alive.

  51. Euro legislation isn’t just there to annoy Brits!
    It’s part of the clubs process of standardising Europe (and yes you are a full member with a voice!).
    Although you may think it statistically insignificant, if the single avoidable death per annum happened to be one of your kin, would it then be worth it?
    However, your reliance on only UK statistics in this case does present a lobsided argument and view, but if you look at the avoidable child deaths in countries such as Spain, Portugal and Greece it soon will become apparant there is a place for this legislation.
    Anyway, most healthy 7-8 year old Brits should have reached 135cm!! (Certainly if they have avoided and not succombed to crisps, chips, chocolate bars, school dinners, glue vapour, bullying, booze, fags, e, railway lines, quarries and chat rooms).

  52. i feel that any person who can only regard another person as equal if they are covered from head to foot is suffering from an inferiority complex. Equality comes from the person not the clothing they wear.
    If a person wants to cover themselves from head to foot then fine so long as they do not project their views onto everyone else.
    if a person respects someone then they respect them whatever they wear.

  53. ‘This set me pondering over my afternoon pint and ciggie, gazing out over the little English river that slides slowly by the ancient pub’ (Idlex)

    Getting one in before the Friday evening rush? Now the rain has stopped I’m going to go out and join in the mayhem, drink my weekly allowance of beer and smoke a pack of 20.

  54. Steven_L – as a tall lady with legs that go on forever and fabulous bosoms a man could happily choke on, I have to say that my studies in rocket science and time spent on the NASA Masters programme have led me to strongly believe….. so sorry, I had a ‘blonde’ moment. What were you saying about it’s the thought that counts?
    Actually I agree with you 🙂

  55. Knowing how mercilessly children will highlight the defects of others, is it wise that the cut-off age of 12 years is, in the majority of instances, after the start of secondary education. You can just imagine the taunts “Jonny uses a baby seat…”. Will the benefits of 1.5 lives/year saved in accidents be more than outweighed by the consequent loss of morale through bullying and potential for subsequent suicide bids.

  56. I have always been highly suspicious of the Muslim claim that in the context of the totality of their beliefs what appears to be a cultural loathing of women is in fact an unusual form of respect. There are very large elements of misogyny in Christianity and Judaism to. The movement from an Earth mother God to a Sky father god with all its implications is the ultimate reason the word Priestess is abhorrent to many Christians today who see the Vicar or Priest as sacra mentally representing the Father god and a female as a desecration of this holy drama by its enemy .

    Primitive societies are almost always matriarchy’s as this is the only way the line of descent can be certain and there is still an association between the pagan and the female principle . In Greek mythology it ha been suggested ( by Robert Graves) that the marriage of Zues and Hera represented the intermingling of peoples at these different stages.

    I think Steven L is describing Hindu culture as received via Bollywood . I have a feeling that this error would be highly amusing to Hindus and deeply offensive to Muslims .These are religions are on the opposite side of deep seated human divisions I have tried to hint at . Each has a very different attitude to the human body .

    Who are we to judge though as we seem hopelessly uncomfortable with our own forms. I would be fascinated to know for example why it is that in Men’s magazines the women are so quantifiably lesss skinny than in women’s magazines . I `ve heard the figure 30% , I imagine it would be an inexact study. It is often an assumption that problems faced by women are mostly caused by men and here is one at least that demonstrably isn’t ? If men don’t like it then where does the much publicised obsession for unhealthy weight loss come from.

    Me I still `Like big butts and I cannot lie ..`but JAQ obviously has many qualities deserving almost equal consideration. Why why why this odd need to be boy like and bony ?

  57. Newmania said:

    Me I still `Like big butts and I cannot lie ..`but JAQ obviously has many qualities deserving almost equal consideration. Why why why this odd need to be boy like and bony ?

    I was, in my jokey way, trying to draw attention to the point idlex was making, or rather expanding on it, that physical appearance causes all sorts of assumptions that get in the way of argument, when really listening to the words, or rather the meaning is important. Does it matter to you that raincoaster is young and beautiful? Does it matter that Melissa is young and beautiful? (Does it matter that Boris is young and beautiful?) The honest answer is yes, it does. I have seen peoples reactions change when addressing an attractive female to a not so attractive female. And I think it’s a media invention that women should be thin. This trend is unhealthy and I applaud The Clothes Show for banning size 00 models from the catwalk. It’s just too stupid. Grown women should have breasts and bottoms. Breasts are wonderful.

  58. Why why why this odd need to be boy like and bony? [Newmania]

    Here speaks an unqualified (on this subject) male from observation and bar chat.

    Men who admire large rumps also tend to like large bosoms. It is a sign of yearning to be an infant again.

    Those who prefer the skinny look (hence “boy-like”, not necessarily because they prefer boys) want to be children again.

    Either way, none of us is properly grown up.

    Anything in that theory? Perhaps we should all have booster seats.

    PS: Idlex – a superb musing. I have a story to tell on that subject but will have to think about it first.

  59. `Grown women should have breasts and bottoms. Breasts are wonderful`

    Hear hear JAQ ,like most men I couldn`t agree more . My question is why do women seem to have other ideas ? Who are they trying to attract ?

  60. `It is a sign of yearning to be an infant again.`

    The yearning to be an infant again is not the yearningI tend to expierience under such circumstance… but you know best .

    JAQ – I did understand your playful gambit. I wonder if , in a ironic way , obviously , and with the intention of pointing out some social evil naturally , there was any more where that came from ? What ?……what?

    Idlex- I laughed out loud .Saki-esque at times

  61. I think that the reason why men tend to like women with breasts and hips is because this signals that they likely to be able to produce healthy offspring. So remember this boys, next time you are admiring a curvy woman it is because you have a subconcious desire to settle down and have lots of babies!!! hehe

  62. newmania – “any more where that came from ?”

    you mean you want to know what I’m wearing too? Guess – I’m off to bed, night all 🙂

    PS: betcha can’t guess which parts of that description were true! Not that it matters in the slightest anyway – I’m 4′ tall and 4′ wide and my real name is Julian.

  63. SINNICK A MOMENT OF YOUR TIME PLEASE

    `Euro legislation isn’t just there to annoy Brits!
    It’s part of the clubs process of standardising Europe (and yes you are a full member with a voice!)`

    Sinnick you foolish foolish person, there is absolutely no meaningful way in which we have a voice in any of this .As Norman Tebbit said ` There can be no European Democracy because there is no Demos` I `ll let you follow up the implications of that devastating one liner ,if you can ,but suffice to say that democracy is a vastly more elusive creature than theoretical voting rights . Take a mental stroll around Africa and Asia and consider your failings Sinnick .They are many

    We , the English have a peculiar genius for civil organisation from the Anglo Saxon Witan through Magna Carta , the Glorious Revolution, the Series of Reform Acts and by incremental , human development aquired for ourselves a democracy that was a paradise compared to Europe. Additionally our system of civil law so vastly superior to prescriptive Napoleonic Law is another part of the package America took and redefined as a dream of the future while we define ourselves by the past. ( The Chosen People ) .

    Do you think we have a voice in the scabarorous `Regional Assemblies ` concocted by `Emporor Prescott the Corrupt` to disguise the Labour Party responsibility for housing policy decided centrally and enforced by central Planning legislation . No we don’t . These additional votes are an attack on democracy !!!Prodicus where are you when we need someone to shout RAGE RAGE RAGE!!`

    Consider Sinnick on the very day( \I think ) you post your insidious evil what we are handing over like a compliant nun
    `. The potential for damage to our freedoms if this happens is awesome: the end of habeas corpus, a threat to trial by jury and the capability of the EU to interfere in hitherto sovereign matters such as sentencing policy are but three of the consequences should our veto go`

    Simon Heffer

    I am not an anti EU obsessive and Simon Heffer drives me potty but we are allowing the precious freedoms ( oh-my-god-I`ve -never-said-this-) we fought the war for to be stolen by a subtle thief. That subtle thief has many names it is ,indifference, it is fear , it is ,quite simply

    Sinnick!

  64. FLO , sorry I was thinking also of your remark

    `Would it be better to agitate for and to seek a form of membership which does not allow the EU to invade us by stealth?`

    Trust my view on this is apparent

  65. ‘I think Steven L is describing Hindu culture as received via Bollywood. I have a feeling that this error would be…’ (newmania)

    Who said it was an error? What I was saying was if we are going to have female Asian newsreaders I’d rather they wore satins, and showed off their wonderful locks of long, silky hair than wore headscarfs.

    I can’t see it being offensive to Muslims, after all, lots of Pakistani Muslims like watching dancing Indian girls in Bollywood movies.

    In fact all the Pakistani Muslim lads I’ve ever hung around with like watching young British girls wearing next to nothing on a Saturday night. They just don’t like the idea of non-Muslim men looking at Muslim women and thinking ‘she looks nice’.

    The obvious answer would be to keep them off the TV then.

  66. Found out yesterday it’s nigh-on impossible to get three booster seats across the backseat of the car and they can’t sit in the front as there’s an airbag. Hmn, risk breaking the law or the childs neck? No contest, sorry Tone.

    And of course my name’s not really Julian, it’s….

  67. Steven L-I can’t see it being offensive to Muslims, after all, lots of Pakistani Muslims like watching dancing Indian girls in Bollywood movies.

    Do they ? I do talk a lot of rubbish sometimes I must admit.( I dont take myself as seriously as it looks )

  68. Oh dear, remember I said I’d try to find a link/ref for ‘This Sceptic Isle’? I applied to the author and it seems he won’t talk to me. Awwww. (I’m also guessing you’re not wringing your hands over this) Call me solipsistic but I’m guessing this has nothing to do with Guido’s blog. I don’t that he’s gone undergound in some eye-popping Hitch-huff. I think it’s me folks – I’m obviously a hairy scary Mary.

    Back to Bollywood then..

  69. idlex said:

    This set me pondering over my afternoon pint and ciggie, gazing out over the little English river that slides slowly by the ancient pub.

    Lovely posting, Idlex

  70. The car seat law has targeted kids up to i think 11. I think it wud be much better to do it by height. Some 11 year olds are 5’8″ and certainly dont need a booster seat.

  71. Gemma
    I think it has been done by height too. If they reach a certain height before their twelth birthday then they are exempt-do not quote me on this though. i wonder how this will work in practice though. I mean it is normally fairly obvious how old a young child is, but how can the police be certain of the ages of children say, nine and over? Is this how labour will force everyone to carry photo-id cards I wonder?

  72. Gemma – it is by height it’s 135cm I think. Any Mothercare now has a big measuring stick like those you see at fun-fairs – are you tall enough for this ride? A few of the 6 yr olds at school are only just short of it.

  73. k said:

    how can the police be certain of the ages of children say, nine and over? Is this how labour will force everyone to carry photo-id cards I wonder?

    My thoughts exactly. Will Nulab will use the same intimidatory methods that are now the norm in respect of TV licenses? If so, we, conveniently for Nulab, wouldn’t even have to have a child in our cars to fall within the scope of these regulations, as the onus would be on us to prove, if stopped, that we don’t have children and therefore don’t need booster seats. Mandatory Chip and pin ID cards for all drivers would be the only means for drivers to prove that. Another back door route for forcing ID cards on us?

  74. Good point, Flo. You can almost hear it: “For the safety and protection of children, every child will in future carry an ID card to avoid putting their own lives, and those of others, at risk by riding in a car without a booster seat when underage.

    Some irresponsible drivers are still exposing vulnerable children to danger by letting them ride without this important safety device and it is vital that the police are given the resources necessary to identify those at greatest risk.

    We are determined to reduce the number of young people killed or seriously injured on our roads. This is just one of many Government initiatives designed to eliminate the carnage…”

    See how easily the “unassailable truths” slip into place while the last vestige of logic goes out the window.

  75. I’m not sure Labour will last long enough; this kind of thing takes longer to impliment when you’re talking about children, because of the legal challenges. What will be interesting to see is how the Tories handle this once/if they form the next government. They’re going to be bound by it whether they like it or not, but I expect ID cards won’t form any part of their requirements unless Cameron gets a loud request from the voters (which Boris has already had: see Ask to See my ID Card and I’ll Eat It).

    In completely unrelated news, ATTENTION CLASSICS FANS!

    There’s a new movie about the Battle of Thermopylae coming out in 2007, and the trailer is just the coolest bit of film in the known universe. I will send you to this blog post of mine for the info, as I know you Tories would hate it if I directed you to Daily Kos, where I found it in the first place.

  76. NEWMANIA, A MILLISECOND OF MY TIME WILL I AFFORD THEE!

    To quote Victor Meldrew:
    “What language are you talking in now? It appears to be Bollocks!”

    Effective EU legislation blocking, amending and delaying have always been instigated by the British EU contingent!

    Lightheartedly I refer all to the amazingly laconic 2-year incident over choice of colour of the cover of the proposed new European passports. The British input succesfully changing the official colour choice name from “Bordeaux Red-Violet” to “RAL standard 4004”.
    This effective change saw the imperative and crucial dilution of French influence on the matter (i.e. “Bordeaux”!). However, due to possible lack of research they inadvertently approved a colour standard name of the German Standardisation Committee!

    Rule Britannia! (and Caledonia & North Hibernia!)

  77. PaulD said:

    See how easily the “unassailable truths” slip into place while the last vestige of logic goes out the window.

    Exactly. Or as my Nulab fixated friend once told me, a strategy of ‘soflty, softly, catchee monkey’.

    These seatbelt regulations are classic Nulab. A prime example of how Nulab’s spin doctored, drip, drip, drip, hegemony by stealth extends and consolidates their vice like grip on our, once free, minds and nation.

    One, seemingly benign, apparently illogical, directive after another, in a continuous stream of, apparently useless regulation, is laid down in soft, muddy layers. Few notice that this soft ooze has the properties of quicksand and hardens into sedimentary rock as enduring as granite. On that rock stands the fortress of Nulab. This is what Nulab’s ‘joined up government’ is really all about, laying down enough of the right sort of soft ooze to make their fortress almighty and impenetrable.

  78. There’s one crucial principle Nulab have forgotten in their, frantic, headlong rush to establish a granite-like, hegemonic fortress around their ruling, intellectual elite. All such hegemonies, whether Nulab’s, or prior to that, the Thatcherite establishment’s, are riddled with injustice, lies and contradictions. And these are the seeds of their own destruction.

    Such hegemonies inevitably collapse under the weight of their own injustice and lies. Which is what we’re seeing now and what we saw with Thatcherism.

    There’s always a fault in the rock of ruling class hegemonous fortresses, because they’re always untempered by reality, real consent, real democracy. And the Excalibur of real democracy is always embedded in that fault – until a modern day Arthur (or, in the case of Blair, a gifted impersonator) along with us, the silent majority, extracts it, holds it high, and the whole rotten edifice of the dying elite comes tumbling down.

    That’s why Cameron has twin dragons to slay, Thatcherism as well as Nulab. He’ll do it too. Go Cameron!

  79. Stephen Ladyman, Road Safety Minister seems to disagree with Boris’s 1.5 lives statistic.

    On his road safety website he said:

    “Small children need the protection that baby seats and child seats are designed to provide. Seat belts are designed for adults. Children who have grown out of child seats still need to use booster seats and booster cushions. We estimate that these changes could prevent over 2000 child deaths or injuries each year.”

    There is comprehensive guidance on the ammendment to the ‘seat belt’ regulations on his site. The Q&A section even covers the eventuality that your offspring has to travel in an emergency vehicle, and said emergency vehicle does not have an adequate booster seat. The answer to this ponderance is:

    “The new regulations will include an exemption for emergency vehicles, including police vehicles.”

    So there you have it. If PC Plod needs to give your kiddies a lift home, he can do so without using a booster seat!

    Makes sense really I mean who is going to pull him over and fine him £30 anyway.

    It get’s better though, as ever the regulations are completely unenforceable owing to an exemption for ‘unexpected neccesities’.

    There you have it, as usual those who know how to play the system, and don’t mind lying to the old bill, will get off scot free as always, while the honest or uninformed driver will continue to be persecuted as an easy source of government revenue.

  80. And if you have three kids, you’ll have to give one of them growth hormone or just mail him to wherever he’s supposed to be. Interesting population-control tactic.

  81. raincoaster said:

    And if you have three kids, you’ll have to give one of them growth hormone or just mail him to wherever he’s supposed to be. Interesting population-control tactic.

    Or does someone high up in the EU or Nulab have shares in people carriers?

    Conflict of interest claims have been made about a number of Nulab Ministers. Such a claim is examined by the Mail On Sunday in respect of Home Office Minister and former Blair aide, Liam Byrne. Liam has a major shareholding in E-Government Solutions Ltd, a company he founded, which has contracts with 8 police forces and is bidding for more and is interested in NHS contracts. The Home Office is, of course responsible for the police and Liam was recently Police Minister.

    Though, since the press have asked about these shares, Liam’s spokesperson has announced that he’s selling his stake, apparently.

  82. ‘Or does someone high up in the EU or Nulab have shares in people carriers?’ (Auntie Flo’)

    Someone in the car industry once told me, quite casually, that ‘Mercedes run the EU’.

    He seemed a reliable source of info as well. He also told me (much to their annoyance when we rang them up as schoolkids to enquire about it for our business studies project) about the £200million+ DTI grant Jaguar got for the X-type, 3 years before it was announced publicly.

    This was before the Audi/VW/Seat/Skoda empire really took off however. I would imagine now that the VW/Audi group have quite a bit of clout with the EU.

    I would further imagine that the industry as a whole would prefer the responsibility for ‘booster seats’ is placed on the driver and aftermarket companies rather than the manufacturers.

  83. Steven_L said:

    Someone in the car industry once told me, quite casually, that ‘Mercedes run the EU’.

    Why am I not at all surprised?

    Equally worrying is the US Carlyle Group’s major shareholding in QuinetiQ, a high tech part of MOD organisation, DERA – Dr Kelly’s former employer. Q appears to have still been part of the MOD in 1901 when it messed up the project to digitise the 1901 census. However, at some later stage Q appears to have swallowed up DERA and to have become a PFI, though it may by now have become wholly privately owned. Carlyle has, or has had, a number of former political and military leaders on its payroll, including John Major and George Bush’s father. Bin Laden’s brother is supposed to have been affiliated to the group at one stage.

    Will Cameron stamp out such conflicts of interest and the shameless mixing of politics and business which seems to be as much the hallmark of the UK under Blair and Nulab as it is in the US under Bush?

  84. “Small children need the protection that baby seats and child seats are designed to provide. Seat belts are designed for adults. Children who have grown out of child seats still need to use booster seats and booster cushions. We estimate that these changes could prevent over 2000 child deaths or injuries each year.”
    So will labour be introducing seatbelts and booster seats into school buses and public buses then. The last time I heard few school buses had seatbelts or booster seats and none forced children to wear them and public buses never have them in the first place. I heard a few days ago that a woman died from a broken neck when the bus she was traveling on braked, so obviously there are dangers on public transport too.
    Ok, it will be expensive for Labour to do, but as 2000 children a year could apparently be saved from death or injury then I am sure they would not quibble if their first aim is to protect children.

  85. Auntie Flo said:

    Such hegemonies inevitably collapse under the weight of their own injustice and lies. Which is what we’re seeing now and what we saw with Thatcherism.

    Nope, Thatcher was nobbled. Thatcher didn’t lie. She was feeling her way through the lies and always on Britains side. Whatever her mistakes, break her in the middle and she’d have the Union Jack running through it. She negotiated the 66% cap in Europe and had learned what the European issue really was and didn’t like it – NO! NO! NO!

    She wasn’t rotten, she was nobbled.

    It’s just a personal opinion Flo not backed up by links or clever quotes but Cameron is a PR pretty boy who is not fit to hold her handbag.

  86. ‘Will Cameron stamp out such conflicts of interest and the shameless mixing of politics and business which seems to be as much the hallmark of the UK under Blair and Nulab as it is in the US under Bush?’ (Auntie Flo’)

    In other words will Cameron stamp out global capitalism? I sincerely doubt it. Cameron has already signalled with his visit to India that he wants to embrace globalisation.

    In what Bush describes as the ‘free-world’, everything revolves around money. People are free to live their lives according to separate moral values, but don’t expect the cut-throat world of international business and finance to play by any rule-book other than the one they have written.

    Apparently about a third of the worlds money is now held in off-shore tax havens. Demand at home for investment, wealth and jobs controls government policy towards international business.

    I think the global village, the free world, western democracy or whatever you want to call it is here to stay.

    The most shameful thing about it all in my view is not a few politicans using their contacts and influence to make a few bob on the side, it is what has happened to peoples pensions.

    Strikes me as a bit of a rip-off.

  87. A-SINNICK

    Oh joy, someone has finally not taken me vastly more seriously than I intend. I `m not quite sure I understand what your view is though. I `m sure it’s my fault but I would be grateful if you would explain in words an idiot would understand (this idiot) what your position is.

    On the EU I think, I think this.
    1 It is an old fashioned barrier to global trade and without it the supposed threat of exclusion from trade is a myth
    2It is corrupt and wasteful
    3 It is an attack on democracy by diluting and misplacing the voter’s choices at elections
    4 It is a source of bad laws. For example the Freedom of Services (file under don’t get me started but if anyone wants to know I will explain my objections)
    5 It is against everything I prefer as a `Romantic Conservative` by way of turning delightful differences into ugly homogeneity.

    What would your 5 pointer be is your have a millisecond? I am entirely open to counter arguments

    B_RAIN COASTER – I have read and enjoyed you recent postings and wish to gratuitously praise them and by inference you. I thought your recent criticism was a bit mean but I shall continue to try to improve my input (Like the Greenham woman put down?)
    STEVEN L `it is what has happened to peoples pensions. ` Did you, like me, find the lack of fuss about this epic tax grab amazing?

    Lots of good stuff. I want to praise Conservative women many of whom I met at a super duper party last night in Fulham. Stylish, sexy, clever confident, witty, good humoured , irresistible and good at dancing . If there was no other reason ,and there are many , this would suffice for taking an active role in local Conservatism .I also want to praise the Naughty North London Rap Collective who featured at the wonderfully heterogeneous Clissold Park Fair today Went to mock and stayed to rock . Brilliant. I `ll leave you in their style

    Police aint feelin` it wit the attitude we gotta go so.. So drop a beat.. Say peace((PEACE!), say love, (LOVE!) ,check it …

    ……We out o `here .

  88. jaq said:

    Nope, Thatcher was nobbled. Thatcher didn’t lie. She was feeling her way through the lies and always on Britains side.

    I’ve a signed photo of Thatcher, which I treasure, jaq, I’m hugely proud of her for being our first female PM and for some of the, much needed, reforms she achieved. She made a speech at one of my professional organisation’s anniversaries and I shall always remember standing in the Crypt at Westminster, totally entranced, as all of those around me were, by this surprisingly tiny, beautiful little woman with such delicate hands, who’s charisma and presence filled the whole crypt.

    Like you, I cheered her on when she stood up to the EU elite and said ‘No!’. She was amazing, a legend in her own time and there will never be another like her. I almost voted for her – yet I’ve never been an Old Tory.

    So why was the great Iron Lady nobbled?

    My cat’s jumping on my key board, so will have to move her and get back to you in a while with why I believe this happened 🙂

  89. By Thatcher’s third term, in common with so many others, I so disliked her that I eventually bought one of those Thatcher portrait mugs with a dagger shaped handle in her back, the one that commemorated Thatcher’s night of the long knives.

    Why was she nobbled? I believe she nobbled herself. In a manner so very reminiscent of Blair, Thatcher became increasingly vain and arrogant, belligerently confrontational, her crude monetarist policies in the midst of a recession were more and more divisive. Thatcher transformed herself into a one woman dictatorship. Just like Blair, she would not budge an inch from the strait jacket rigidity of failed policies. She would listen to no one, lost contact with the electorate and our concerns and took huge pleasure in emasculating her Cabinet. Thatcher was the prototype for Blair’s, much greater, subversion of our democratic process.

    Cut off inside her bubble of arrogance and self delusion, Thatcher lied alright – to herself as much as to us. Everything’s great and so am I, her spin claimed. In complete denial, she neither saw nor would acknowledge, the misery she’d generated: 3 million unemployed and her Chancellors constantly raising interest rates sky high, to the point where almost everyone struggled to pay their mortgages. Did you not have a mortgage then, jaq?

    From the depth of denial as intransigent as Blair’s, Mrs T could delude herself, but she could not delude the electorate or her colleagues any longer. That’s what nobbled her, jaq, her dictatorial style and policies derived from her chilling arrogance and self deception.

    The memory of Thatcher’s divisiveness and her dismissal of centre politics is now so deeply entrenched in the electorate that, even the word Tory, evokes in UK’s collective consciousness the old memories of hatred and distrust of Thatcher. If a young Thatcher returned now, the majority of the electorate wouldn’t touch her with a barge pole. In their hearts, Old Tories must know this too, because even they have changed woken up and smelled the coffee of unelectablity, that’s why they elected Cameron as leader. And that’s why this life long Liberal will be voting for Cameron, because he’s made the Conservatives a human and one nation Party again. I trust Cameron, I could never trust Thatcher or any politician evoking the memory of her arrogance and divisiveness.

  90. FLO – I have just read your narrative of the `iconography` of `Thatcher`. I hope you won’t mind if I add a couple of thoughts . The alternative comedy `Fatcher` has grown in importance since her `betrayal` .The left via their BBC hirelings have invented a time when everyone hated this most popular Prime Minister . The truth was very different of course but this myth has a lot of currency . David Cameron by his opposition to the left wing invention has sought to reposition the Conservative party centrally and it has been understandably perceived as an especially un chivalrous piece electoral cynicism on his part. I am not much of a sentimentalist but even I gulped a bit after the 9.11 speech.

    I also trust David Cameron but you should not be under any illusions that he is other than grimly detemined man.He can only go so far treading on the toes of the people he will expect to deliver his leaflets

  91. …the misery she’d generated: 3 million unemployed and her Chancellors constantly raising interest rates sky high [Auntie Flo]

    How many would be unemployed today if Labour and the EU hadn’t created a zillion public sector non-jobs, of which booster seat monitoring is just one example (wrenching it back on topic)?

    Similarly, for interest rates read taxes. The only difference is that Gordon has done it by stealth. In that respect you can call him a clever sod than Maggie.

    And is there a Prime Minister in history who hasn’t gone out in a blaze of criticism (or a coffin), apart from, arguably, Attlee, Churchill and Lloyd George? Such is politics and the nature of being voted out.

    No, Thatcher’s downfall was a growing public realisation that Greed is not necessarily Good. It is one thing even the most ardent Thatcher fans agree on – the ones I talk to anyway.

    Serious question: Could someone remind me of some specific causes of “TBW” syndrome at the time?

  92. PaulD – “No, Thatcher’s downfall was a growing public realisation that Greed is not necessarily Good. It is one thing even the most ardent Thatcher fans agree on – the ones I talk to anyway.” Actually no, the public had nothing much to do with Thatchers downfall, her own collegues stabbed her in the back.

    Auntie Flo pretty much had it right, these things just tend to happen that way. But I maintain that she was always honest in her intention. Comparing Bliar and some of his tactics is like comparing the Devil to the Angel Gabriel.

    And yes I did have a mortgage then. Social hysteria and financial trends didn’t stop me doing my homework nor making sensible choices.

  93. Well said JAQ . I agree that MT `s faults stemmed from principle whereas TB`s stem from the lack of it.I do think FLO is saying things that a vast number of people believe though

    Gordon Brown probably does have some sincerely held beliefs but given what they are I`m no happier however hard he tries to rebrand

  94. I’ve got a better idea, forget booster seats, just ban children getting in the cars between 7-9am and 3-5pm, Monday to Fridays during term time, then they’d have to walk to school and they might get a bit of exercise and that really would benefit their well being.

  95. Yes they could walk to school past all those people who get ‘care in the community’ you know the ones who have untreatable mental illnesses and can’t be detained, housed, or cared for in any way. Then there are the peadophiles who’ve gained anonymity to protect their human rights. Oh and the bullies and drug pushers. Nutters who just won’t go away. Belligerent drunks and gangs of the youthful unemployed. Yes let’s get more kids out on the streets. Where I live they’d get quite a lot of exercise, unless they were below the age of about 14 when they’d be caught pretty quickly. You’ve got to love England, if only because it’s not Darfur.

  96. Slightly off point here, but I recently heard that if someone commits a crime while on probation they can still be considered a success of the probation system. Apparently if the conviction or arrest takes place after the probationary period then they are not considered to have failed despite the fact that the crime was commited while on probation. Remember the men who kidnapped, raped, tortured and stabbed to death a sixteen year old schoolgirl while on probation-well they too are considered by labour to be successes and form part of the statistics that labour use to show how successful probation has been.

  97. Steady on, Jaq. Things aren’t that bad. You’re playing into the hands of those whose livelihoods depend on the scare tactic that “something must be done”.

  98. Well, blow me down with a stealth tax, old Gorgon Brown’s a BSL signer!

    ‘This is the Britain I believe in’, wild eyed Gordon told us, in his newly Anglised, Blairised and hyperventilated voice. All the while crushing a tiny, imaginary, globe in his, pitifully gnawed and bloodied, paws, before greedily clasping it to himself.

    Good grief, I thought, the man’s having a Barbarella style orgasm on power. Any minute now and his hair will frizz.

    ‘Where the strong help the weak’, he continued, as he made the the BSL sign for ‘give it to me’.

    Not much doubt who the weak one is in your book, or what the strong will be giving you, eh, Gordon? Money and power driven orgasms.

    ‘Whereby all contribute’, he said, as he made the BSL sign for theft and drew the proceeds lustfully to his breast.

    ‘Whereby our society becomes stronger’, he added, as he made the sign for war, divorce and violent upheaval.

    Bloody terrifying, I call that performance. The man’s lust for power knows no bounds. Batten down the hatches and prepare for the worst, world out there.

    I’m not joking about the BSL signing – I sign. Would anyone happen to know if Gordon has or had any deaf friends or relatives? A hearing person who signs, or has signed, a lot often finds it spilling over into their conversations. Though, in his case, there is another explanation…

  99. newmania, I have no malice against you but I appreciate the greater restraint you’ve shown in the comments lately. Effusive compliments are not neccessary, although they are always appreciated.

    Never have I thought you were Eliza. She’s been around off and on for months; besides, her poetry is much filthier than yours!

  100. Are we back onto poetry raincoaster? I’m bored, I could write a poem. I haven’t written one for ages. Here goes:

    Now Boz was a tory MP,
    As blue as the antarctic sea,
    He rose near the top,
    But only to drop,
    A clanger on Papa New-Guinea.

    Now the isle d’nt apprec’ate the joke,
    Some wom’n went chatising the bloke,
    She said ‘it’s sheer rot’,
    ‘We cook people in pots’,
    ‘Like you we’re just ord’nary folk’,

    The media reaction was quiet,
    No-one knew whether to buy it,
    But Boz did annouce,
    ‘I read every ounce’,
    ‘Humans form part of their diet’.

  101. You do spend time moaning about poetry raincoaster, could it be more than everyone else spends writing it?

    A poem for Gordon
    How doth the little chancellor,
    improve his shining tail,
    And pour the waters of the Thames,
    On every golden scale!

    How cheerfully he seems to grin,
    How neatly spread his claws,
    And welcome all your taxes in,
    With gently smiling jaws!

    With apologies to Lewis Carroll.
    (see I don’t write the stuff, I just steal it)

  102. I’m not anti-poetry at all. Nobody’s a bigger Mac fan than me. My objections to verse in the comments did not begin until we began to be treated to poetry that was apparently written by the zygotes, rather than the neurons. Every new outbreak of poetry carries with it the risk of inflaming the already highly flammable dreadful erotic poetry impulse to which more than one of the commenters have fallen prey.

  103. What have you got against sex with rhythm?
    And I refute any hint of a charge, the nearest I’ve got to writing erotic poetry is one about a bacon sandwich. I can be serious about some things but I have a firmly juvenile approach to anything erotic.

  104. I like Steven-L’s and jaq’s poems, Raincoster. Though I do echo your fear about awakening that lunatic…shhh, you know who..

  105. Can someone settle an argument: is this the same Boris Johnson who discussed beating up a journalist with a fellow public schoolboy a few years ago?

  106. Spot on Boris. Tell it how it is and how this useless bunch of has beens drop their pants to whatever madness the EU thinks up next. I wonder now as ever if half the legislation pumped forward by Brussels and I wouldn’t mind if it was good legislation, isn’t created by over inflated half wits who have to justify their existance at the trough.

  107. According to the Department of Trade and Industry, statistics, 18 people were injured by artifical grass in their own home in 2001.

    In the same year, 71 unfortunate souls were injured by cattle grids in their gardens.

    I fear brussels has a fair bit more legislating to do!

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