Here is Cameroonian Conservatism in action. If people are inclined to avoid paying for goods, get taxpayers to pay for them, so they appear to be "free" at the point of consumption, in order to reduce the temptation to commit unlawful acts.
The specific example is that Eric Pickles, the Conservatives' Shadow Local Government Secretary, thinks it is wrong to charge people proportionately for the waste-disposal services that they require:
"We all want to increase the level of recycling but bin taxes will harm the local environment by leading to a surge in illegal dumping and backyard burning. Whether they can't pay or won't pay, many irresponsible people will dump instead."
Having discovered this radical, socio-centric approach to law & order and public welfare, there is no limit to the ways in which this logic can be applied in other fields. The Tories will doubtless wish to propose:
- The extension of this model to all other waste producers. The image (right) associated with this article in The Times illustrates that fly-tipping of commercial and industrial waste is a more common problem. Shouldn't we also relieve businesses of the temptations of illegality, in the interests of society?
- As many burglaries and thefts are committed in order to fund drug habits, we should legalize drugs, and if that doesn't make them sufficiently cheap, provide them free to ensure that junkies are not tempted to steal to fund their habit.
- Provide free snacks and drinks outside convenience stores, so shoplifters are not tempted to steal. The same, of course, will go for a selection of the latest fashions outside clothes stores, and phones and ipods outside electrical-goods stores.
- Make cars and motorbikes freely available to young people, so they don't have to hotwire someone else's vehicle.
- Free taxi-rides from pubs and parties, so no one is tempted to drink and drive.
The opportunities are endless, now that we can forget about economics and focus on the good of society.