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Justifying the nanny state by Caroline Flint

27 Jun 2007 - JG

There is an extraordinary article in today's Times about the Public Health Minister Caroline Flint, aka Supernanny. It seems to be justifying some of the more draconian and nannying legislation that this government has put upon us. Those not familiar with Flint will be with her proposals. She is responsible for patronising campaigns such as the labelling of wine bottles and specifically telling middle-class wine drinkers that they should moderate their drinking. She is also behind the smoking ban. She has stated that children should dance to improve their physical fitness and psychological health. She is one these self-righteous interfering ministers that have come to symbolise everything New Labour. Yet, apparently, she has good reason to be an interfering nanny type. Apparently she had a tough upbringing.

Her drinking proposals are a direct result of her mother who died of an alcohol related illness. Now at the risk of sounding unsympathetic, what has this got to do with making laws on the rest of us? There will be casualties from drinking, but having a go at the middle classes or pregnant women for having a glass of wine can not be justified by your personal experience with your mum. If governments were run like this (and many are I fear) then we would all end up with the same moral values as Tony Blair or George Bush. What is it with politicians setting out the sob story to justify imposing laws on our every day lives? Just because your mum died as a result of alcohol, doesn't mean that the rest of us need to be nannyed day and night by you.

The whole article is quite unpleasant really - almost as though the Times are championing her for a place in Brown's cabinet. Hazel Blears tried the working class hero act and it failed. Alan Johnson on the other hand lets his talent shine through and is unsurprisingly far more popular. People do not, or at least they should not, give a monkeys whether you were born in dire poverty or born with shiniest of silver spoons in your mouth. Saying you have a right to impose nannying techniques on the electorate just because you had a personal experience growing up simply does not cut it. Try looking outwards and not being so self obsessed. Have some faith in individuals to be responsible for themselves.

Topics: Health

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