The ‘Don’t Hurt People’s Feelings’ Act

206411_1871353977186_1041219260_2102208_3737361_n Jessica Muslin discusses Andrew Bolt and Freedom of Speech in Australia:

I’m an Australian-Italian that likes the best of both worlds. I like to cheer for Australia when it comes to sport, but criticise Australians for being too bogan. I like to embrace the fact that Australians are easygoing and laidback, but criticise the fact that you seriously cannot find good food in Australia, outside of the woggy parts of Melbourne. I’ll call myself an Australian when travelling overseas, but assert myself as Italian in Australia, because people tend to find me more interesting that way.

Under Justice Bromberg's interpretation of Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act, would be illegal to criticise me for my undoubtedly hypocritical ways? Ok, I know the Bolt case and my aforementioned hypocrisy aren’t exactly analogous, but you get the idea. Andrew Bolt criticised Aboriginal Australians because they received affirmative action based scholarships and prizes, on the basis that they were Aboriginal. The catch was that these Australians had white skin.

The error made on the part of Bolt, was that he claimed these Australians only ever asserted themselves as Aboriginals when it came to winning prizes, when in fact they had identified as Aboriginal people their entire lives. Apparently that is enough to “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people, which is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group".

I understand the point of view that Bolt made factual inaccuracies about the plaintiffs, but if he had damaged their good names, why couldn’t that be dealt with under defamation laws? Let’s consider two scenarios. Firstly, if the Racial Discrimination Act only applies to defamatory conduct, then it is redundant and already covered by existing law. Secondly, if the Act also applies to non-defamatory conduct, then we are essentially protecting people from having mean things said about them.

That is where I take issue with the Act. In short: people should harden up. If faced with queries about my aforementioned ethnic hypocrisy, I would simply tell those criticising to bugger off. If I was in a feisty mood, I would probably engage in a reasonable, rational debate, to try to convince those criticising that it is perfectly acceptable to love both meat pies and lasagna.

In the context of sometimes controversial arguments made by the likes of Andrew Bolt and Alan Jones, the best way to keep them accountable is to question them, and if necessary, make rational arguments against them. That sort of discussion should underpin a healthy democracy. If someone is saying something legitimately racist, then we should battle them with words, not lawyers. Silencing them achieves nothing. If we are to progress socially, then it must happen though organic change, not coercion.

Whilst the Racial Discrimination Act is the law, and yes, Bolt knew about the law, it is not as simple as “well, he broke it”. There is a firstly a case to be made that the judge did not reasonably apply the ‘free speech’ defense, in asserting that what Bolt said was not fair or reasonable.

It should not be unfair or unreasonable, and especially not racist, to question the legitimacy of certain affirmative action policies. I think the majority of Australian society would find it bizarre that a ‘white person’ could win an Aboriginal scholarship or prize. Whether right or wrong, in some way Bolt was representing a prevalent community opinion. If that happens to ‘offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate’, then that is unfortunate, but it shouldn’t stifle legitimate political debate.

There is secondly a case to be made that Section 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act is in fact unconstitutional, as it interferes with our implied freedom of political communication. This would depend of how far the High Court would be willing to broaden the definition of ‘political communication’, but there is certainly a case to be made that because Bolt’s comments were regarding hot political issues, they should fall under the scope of that implied constitutional right.

At the end of the day, it is foolish to simply point out that technically we don’t a constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech in Australia. This case and the media hype that has gone with it, is about more than just the law. This case is about a discussion of ideas. Whilst yes, there are no formal safeguards for freedom of speech in this country, that doesn’t necessarily mean that this should be the case.

Perhaps this case will reinvigorate discussion about the need for better protection of expression and opinion. Perhaps we shouldn’t simply be accepting what protections we have, but constantly be fighting for more.

After all, freedom of speech is only an issue when it is controversial. There is not ever a need to protect uncontroversial speech. It we can’t defend it when we don’t like it, then we can’t defend it at all. As George Washington once said, "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

Jessica Muslin is a law tudent at the Griffith University

Newspapers shouldn’t print opinion from non-experts: Manne

NEWSPAPERS should refrain from publishing the opinions of average Australians, academic Robert Manne has said.

Professor Manne says they should report only the views of a "core" of experts in key debates.

At a book-signing in Sydney last night, he also urged the media to embrace greater contributions from controversial left-wing commentators such as US linguistics professor Noam Chomsky and Beirut-based commentator Robert Fisk.


Help! It’s 1984 & Orwell Has Taken Over The Federal Court!

Today is the darkest day I have ever witnessed in Australian politics.

Today freedom of speech was officially been declared dead by our government.

Today, the full power of the courts was been used to silence a questioning voice.

Dissent has just been made illegal.

I keep pinching myself to check I'm not asleep and caught in an Orwellian nightmare. But it really is true: The Australian government has just made sure free speech is illegal.

I really am staggered. I never thought it would come to this. 

We need your help to stand up for freedom of speech before it is too late.

What has happened today is disgusting, but can be stopped – with your help.  

We need your – urgent – help to send a message that freedom of speech is still alive. .

Julia Gillard has been attacking freedom of speech for months now – the Media Censorship Commission, the sacking of conservative journalists …

And today… the Federal Court just ruled that freedom of speech no longer exists in our country. Officially. 

I am, of course, referring to the decision by the Federal court that Andrew Bolt was guilty of “racial vilification” for daring to speak the truth about entitlements.  

Now, I know this has nothing to do directly with the carbon tax, and I hope I am not clogging your inbox with something you are not interested in. But I was just floored to read this. I felt like I was punched in the stomach. I never thought it could happen in Australia. I lost relatives to the Soviets because they dared to speak their mind. The rest of my family fled here because they thought they could be free. Yet now we see that freedom in Australia is at death's door. We must take action.

We must take action NOW!

The Institute of Public Affairs is desperately trying to raise money to publish a major statement standing up for freedom of speech in The Australian Newspaper. A message that we will not tolerate these attacks on our freedoms.

Can you please send a donation of $25, 50 or $100 to the IPA to make this happen.Menzies House isn’t getting anything out of this. I’m not financially benefitting; they're an independent group frp, is . I just KNOW that we need to send this message and stand up for our rights and they are doing the right thing. 

You can see the draft of the ad the IPA have put up here. We both know it is the right thing to do. 

For the sake of our future, I beg you to make a small donation. Neither of us is rich, but whatever you can afford will make a difference. I don't even have the words to express just how vital this is.

Please. Make a small contribution to the IPA Freedom Campaign. Our future depends upon it. 

Thank you for your support, and I hope that my future emails to you won't also be ruled illegal.

Tim Andrews

Whatever happened to the separation of mosque and state?

Bill-MuehlenbergBill Muehlenberg 

OK, I was wrong. I have complained about the war against Christianity and how the secular state is squeezing it out of every part of the public arena. I have noted how the iron wall between church and state has resulted in Christians becoming second class citizens in their own Western nations.

But one counter-example has just appeared, so I guess I was wrong. It seems there is hope yet. It appears that there is a Melbourne Council which is actually using tax monies to fund Christian outreach and evangelism. So I guess the secular crusade against Christianity is not so bad after all. Indeed, read for yourself what the Darebin Council is advertising:

"Darebin Christians Reaching Out – Project Officer…

An opportunity exists within the Community Planning Partnerships and Performance Department for a motivated Project Officer. This is a temporary, full-time (38 hrs per week) position….

You will be responsible for implementing the Jesus Peace – Darebin’s Christian Reaching Out project, funded by the Federal Attorney General’s department.

You will be responsible for: 

• Working in partnership with the Christian Society of Victoria to strengthen its role and effectiveness in organising events, dealing with the media, resolving conflicts, and managing stakeholders 
• Developing and implementing activities that assist the Christian Society of Victoria to dispel myths and misconceptions about Christianity and Christians 
• Organising a series of seminars and events around interfaith and intercultural dialogue targeting community members to learn about Christianity and its practices."

Well, I guess there is hope after all for our secular society that the state and Christianity can peacefully co-exist and work together. I guess the wall of separation between church and state is not as bad as I had previously thought. Wow, that is such a relief…


Oh, sorry, I just went back and reread that ad, and I actually made a minor mistake. All of the above information is completely true, but I misread ‘Islam’ for ‘Christianity’, and ‘Muslim’ for ‘Christian’. Hey, my mistake. So simply replace every Christian term in that ad with a Muslim term, and you will in fact have the real story.

So the Darebin Council is actually funding an evangelistic outreach with our tax dollars, but it is not Christian outreach, but Muslim dawah (mission). The Islamic Council of Victoria will get our big bucks, and you and I will be happily subsidising Islamic outreach in Melbourne and beyond. Aren’t you glad to know your tax dollars are going to such a vital cause?

Gee, for a moment there a few of you thought a ghastly thing was occurring: public monies being spent on Christian evangelism. Well, I am so glad I discovered my mistake. We can all now rest assured that Christianity will receive not one penny of taxpayers’ money. The strict separation of church and state will be fiercely maintained and enforced.

At least when it comes to Christianity. Evidently when it comes to Islam, our secular lefty Councils (and Federal Government) have absolutely no problem with cosy cooperation. I guess in our multiculti society, Christians dare not raise their heads in public, but we can all subsidise Islamic outreach, bringing mosque and state into real close alignment.

It is such a relief knowing that our vigilant secularists have not slipped up here. They are still fully committed to maintaining their policy of ugly anti-Christian bigotry. Maybe if Christians just changed their names to Muslims, they too could be the recipient of all this government help and promotion, and all those cool tax dollars.

Bill Muehlenberg is a Melbourne based author who lectures part time in ethics, theology and philosophy. He has an interactive blogsite called CultureWatch

Mean Mr Men & Pistols At Dawn


Danielle Keys talks about the "Mean Mr Men" of the political world, and suggests things could be improved with a return of duelling (not really):

WARNING: contains mild coarse language and should not be read by people who are not old enough to read

Politics. It’s a fickle game. Whether you are referring to the political parties, the candidates, the politicians themselves or the voters; it is a fickle game. The government has been described as the bus and the political positions within it as the bus-driver. I like the bus analogy. I do not ride the bus often but I think it makes sense. Except, the government and politics are the bus that you can’t get off and your destination is chosen by 51% of the passengers, most of whom are apathetic and instead of a $1.50 flat fare it’s a progressive fare system to drive you in circles. This is why driving a car is preferable. Confusing semi-non-sequiturs aside, you’d really have to be fairly unique to want to drive such a bus. Politicians are unique people. Many politicians are very likable. Some politicians are genuinely lovely people. Some of them throw fabulous social functions. Sometimes, the situation is a bit of Column A and a bit of Column B; without one you usually require the other. 

I’ve been around politics for my entire life. I was one of those small children wearing oversized Liberal Party shirts for John Howard’s first election, but this is not a time to talk about the traumas of my childhood. I know politics. I know the people that are in it and although one might find the machinations of the game fascinating, the personalities and the character of such people are even more fascinating. 

This article is about the meanies. They are like those girls in high school who were in a cliquey little group except far less cool and far more cunning. They are the ‘faceless’ men; lurking in a Parliament House corridor waiting for someone to say anything of interest. They are the Mean Mr Men of the political world.

Historically, great men* used to raise armies and fight wars over issues of political significance. If someone offended your sensibilities enough then a simple slap with a glove would be a challenge to a duel – pistols at dawn! I understand bloodshed is something less desirable in modern politics but maybe there is a good argument for exchanging a little blood for a little integrity. We have people in politics nowadays who struggle to simply say what they think. They are the kind of people, especially in youth politics slinking around the back of the Kennedy Room exchanging whispers of deniable gossip about people they hardly know. The strategy has changed. It is no longer about being a person who says what they think and has the integrity to stand by it. We have exchanged pistols at dawn for political Mean Mr Men.

I was shocked when I finally decided to sign up to a youth political party. I went to a private all girls school so I have always expected a degree of commentary from other women. There’s always comments on choices of clothes, hair colour, skin tone and figure. I expected all of this sort of thing from women. My view was completely misplaced. The women (bar a few) are absolutely the least snippy people in politics. Women are not naturally particularly violent or aggressive beings so we’ve always been able to use words and the sharing of information to our advantage and disadvantage. Men, classically, have been brusque gentlemen of few words who take points to task. Actions of fierce opposition, aggression and challenge have dissipated so severely in modern politics. Our Prime Minister cannot even say what she really believes but must mask her vehement opposition by suggesting a ‘rational conversation’. Any person knows that a woman like Julia Gillard has reached the higher echelons of political office because she is a cut-throat operator except without cutting throats but by mincing words. In the confines of her own office it is ridiculous to believe she is interested in a ‘rational conversation’. She is interested in saving her own political interests and playing a game to make the Coalition look as ridiculous as possible. I don’t blame her for it. It is not unreasonable to expect that people will act within the context which best suits their rational self-interest. In politics, to be rationally self interested it seems you have to be an operator of words and false sentiments. It is a poker match, except less fun and the only person who is really losing hand is the tax payer. 

I am not saying that every argument needs a violent solution but I am saying that in the ‘real world’ when someone steps too far out of line there can be more aggressive consequences. I have even been subjected to some really terrible treatment and the notion of a ‘physical solution’ has crossed my mind. Alas, for that is not the context to which politics operates and I wouldn’t advise anyone to engage in it.

So where’s the problem? Of course we don’t want to have a political system full of coup d’etats and parliamentary brawls. We don’t want to be the country that has an awkward youtube video where politicians are physically tearing each other to shreds. Violence should stay where it belongs: the Ultimate Fighting Championship (yeah, awesome). There is still a legitimate problem. There is an incapacity for people to say what they think and stand by it. Often it is the people who stand by what they think that are labelled liabilities. The reason they are liabilities is a fair and honest assessment – they say what they think and they have the courage of conviction to weather the storm that may arise. Great political leaders have also been known to do this and in time have been loved and admired. The cowards of the world take their small victories and slink away to the back of Hansard where no one will remember you, love you or even care. 

If you are unique enough to want a position where you are personally responsible for legislating over the lives of so many people then there should be some integrity about you. People in youth politics are by and large over-ambitious and you can tell the ones that want to play pollie one day because of their drab inane colourless existence filled with non-statements. They are the ones who have a lot to say but no way for it to be proved they said it. They will suit the ‘profession’ that politics has become. It’s a sad indictment that in the way life operates one of these people will actually be legislating choices on behalf of people of passion and industry who actually do say what they think and put their money where their mouth is. 

I do not necessarily long for the days of people being shot every time they bothered someone. However, the cycle of Mean Mr Men who circulate political parties like hammerhead sharks have created a system whereby there is no courage or honesty. The whispers, the deceitfulness and the blatant desire to do harm to others for no other reason than ‘they are friends with someone who I am not friends with’ disturbs me. 

So next time, dear sweet young opportunists, you are trolling around the Kennedy Room finding a new thing to say or a new angle to take, just remember that at some point one day you will be held to account for the things you say. Be thankful that the biggest challenge you face is your BA/LLB dual and not an actual duel. 

* Yes, MEN. The world had to become modern and civilized to allow us girls a go at paternalism and democratic high-horsery.

Danielle is a student at the University of Queensland, and is the National Campus Action Plan Director for the Conservative Leadership Foundation (although this was an independent event and was not affiliated with the CLF)

Ben Powell Webinar on Sweatshops 10am Sydney Time This Morning

Last chance to register for Prof. Ben Powell’s webinar tonight at 8pm Eastern time (Editor: This is U.S. Eastern which translates to 10am Australian Eastern)

TUESDAY, September 27 at 8pm (Eastern)

Topic: “No Sweat: How Sweatshops Improve Lives and Economic Growth”

Where?  Your Computer!

Ben Powell explains how sweatshops provide a superior opportunity for the workers who work in them compared to other alternatives available to those workers and the role sweatshops play in the process of economic development that ultimately leads to the disappearance of sweatshops.

Register Here Facebook Event Here

Benjamin Powell is an associate professor of economics at Suffolk University, the President of the Association of Private Enterprise Education, a senior economist with the Beacon Hill Institute, and a senior fellow with the Independent Institute. He earned his B.S. in economics and finance from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from George Mason University.

Professor Powell is the editor of Making Poor Nations Rich: Entrepreneurship and the Process of Development (Stanford University Press: 2008) and co-editor of Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis (Transaction: 2009). He is author of more than 50 scholarly articles and policy studies. His primary fields of research are economic development, Austrian economics, and public choice. Dr. Powell’s research findings have been reported in more than 100 popular press outlets including the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. He also writes frequently for the popular press. His popular writing has appeared in the Investor’s Business Daily, the Financial Times(London), the Christian Science Monitor, and many regional outlets. He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows including, CNNMSNBCShowtimeCNBC, and he is a regular guest commentator on Fox Business’s Freedom Watch.


Dress witches in pink and avoid white paper to prevent racism

o, honestly.  That’s according to a story in the UK’s Telegraph.  Additionally, witches should be dressed in pink, fairies should be in darker pastels and when a teacher is asked their favorite color, they should answer “black” or “brown”.

All of this from experts who are “early years consultants”.  The premise of course is changing all these colors changes the perception of everything among a bunch of kids who haven’t yet digested that the kid next to them is a different color:

Instead, teachers should censor the toy box and replace the pointy black hat with a pink one, while dressing fairies, generally resplendent in pale pastels, in darker shades.

Another staple of the classroom – white paper – has also been questioned by Anne O’Connor, an early years consultant who advises local authorities on equality and diversity.

Children should be provided with paper other than white to drawn on and paints and crayons should come in "the full range of flesh tones", reflecting the diversity of the human race, according to the former teacher.

Finally, staff should be prepared to be economical with the truth when asked by pupils what their favourite colour is and, in the interests of good race relations, answer "black" or "brown".


Top GOP 2012 Contenders, Part 7: A Continuing Series Ranking the GOP’s Presidential Prospects


Menzies House U.S. Politics Editor Amir Iljazi gives an update on the state of the GOP Presidential Nomination Contest.

It has been over a month since the last rankings and there have been multiple debates so things are really picking up steam. As you know, I have done away with the “Top 10” and it is now strictly categorized, in an ascending order with the better-positioned candidates discussed toward the latter part of the posts. Here is brief review of the criteria that I use to compile my rankings:

  • Fundraising- money is the biggest talker in politics, so this is important.
  • Polling- this is now an important part as we head towards actual voting.
  • National profile- being a well-known player is a plus, and a minus at times.
  • Political participation- what are they doing with regards to the debates?
  • Issue stances- where they stand on particular issues matters to everyone.
  • Legitimate contender- are they a serious playerin the 2012 discussion.

The Candidates:

The ‘Will They? Or Won’t They?’ Crew

Sarah Palin- Simply put, it is now decision time for the former VP nominee as we are now just a few months away from the Iowa Caucuses. The tease has gone on for so long now that her brand is hurting because of it. Palin has been very willing to give her thoughts on the debates, and still appears to at least be leaving open the possibility for a run… will she do it though?  

Chris Christie- It has been several posts since the bombastic New Jersey Governor has made an appearance in the series, but there are musings abound that he is reconsidering his decision not to run in 2012. There are a number of reasons why he should… but usually a potential candidate needs only to find one reason he/she should not (see Mitch Daniels, Mike Huckabee, and John Thune). I have no clue what he will do, but if he looking for one of those reasons not to get in… he’ll find it [Editor's Note 9/27/2011 10:33pmEDT: Christie once again has declared publicly that he will NOT run for POTUS in 2012 AI; UPDATE: 9/29/2011 11:33pmEDT Reports now saying that Christie is still considering a 2012 run].

The ‘Past Their Prime’ Guys

Newt Gingrich- I have great affection for the former Speaker and have met him on two separate occasions. In fact, well before 2010 I had always felt the best person to DEBATE Obama (not necessarily run against him) would be Gingrich. Unfortunately for him, he is simply unelectable and regardless of what things the GOP will be willing to disregard in ultimately selecting a nominee, one thing they will definitely not disregard is electability. I hope Gingrich lasts though because he is very enjoyable to watch during these debates.

Ron Paul- The fiery Texas Congressman and his Pro-Liberty Agenda are to be applauded and respected (as well as respectfully disagreed with when apt). However, while it is important to have all sides of the GOP spectrum in the conversation and contributing to the debate it is also important to recognize that Paul has done nothing to alter his appeal to voters since his 2008 run. This is important because I’m not saying Paul needs to change his beliefs, but in order to have a chance he must adapt to the political landscape and prove he has learned from his 2008 run. He will be around, and I am glad, but I doubt he will win a single Caucus or Primary.

The ‘Up-and-Comers’

Rick Santorum- The former Pennsylvania Senator is a conservative firebrand and he had an excellent showing in last week’s debate and capitalized on the weakness of a specific Southern Governor who is vying for the same constituency Santorum has been courting for nearly a year now. If he can build off of this, there is a chance Santorum could become a major factor in the Primaries.

Herman Cain- Talk about a refreshing individual, this guy is great. Though he is clearly inexperienced when it comes to a number of issues (most notably Foreign Policy) there is no question that Herman Cain is a force to be reckoned with. He pulled off a stunning upset in the FL GOP Straw poll last weekend surprising many. Cain also revealed (unintentionally) that he is willing to do what it takes to get better in this process; in last week’s debate he mentioned that he took a trip to Israel recently. He made a huge gaffe a few months ago on Fox News Sunday when discussing the Middle East Peace Process, but his trip and mention of it showed that he is serious about his candidacy… and others are starting to get there too. [Editor: According to a new Zogby poll of Republican primary voters just released, Herman Cain has lept to take the lead…]

The ‘Lingerer’

Jon Huntsman Jr.- I am waiting patiently for the moment when this “supposed” great candidate (or so MSNBC would have you believe) does something worthwhile. I don’t know what the Huntsman strategy is, but I am guessing it is to hang around until he sees an opportunity… but the problem with that strategy is that the opportunity may not arrive. His ability to self-fund will ensure that he sticks around until at least February so he has a few months to tweak whatever strategy he’s using right now, or wait for the opportunity while boring the rest of us.

The ‘Fading Fast’ Bunch

Michele Bachmann- I am not surprised at all that she has become less and less relevant to this process (many predicted it the minute Perry announced); but what is surprising is that she seems to have no adaptability at all. She has run the same kind of campaign from inception and her status within the group has (irrelevance-slightly relevant-noisemaker-very relevant-dwindling relevance) and that is a terrible strategy. She has had multiple opportunities at the debates to score some major points and get back in contention, but she really only landed one punch and then proceeded to screw that up by taking a very low road with one of her attacks on Rick Perry. Even her allies much agreed she hurt herself, and she has just not had any added traction since winning the Ames Iowa Straw Poll last month.  

Rick Perry- Well, let me be the first to say, I completely misjudged this guy. I had thought that he would quell the urgings of outside GOP forces pining for someone not named Romney; and to be fair that’s exactly what he did… until last Thursday. Perry had an absolutely awful debate performance and it was clear that he just was not prepared for the kind of abuse that is involved in a competitive Primary… he must have been thinking there were 8 other Kay Bailey Hutchisons on the stage with him. Adding to his woes was the distant second-place finish in the FL GOP Straw Poll two days later, a poll that he very much worked hard to try and win. Perry had better get his groove back, and fast. 

The ‘Man To Beat’

Mitt Romney- I never gave Perry frontrunner status, and the media is all too often looking for a story and Perry was declared the frontrunner by several outlets and pundits. The fact of the matter is that Romney will most likely move back into the lead in national polls, and that is the only place where Perry has the edge. Romney was still the frontrunner for me because he never gave up his edge on anything else … polls are not the only thing that makes you a frontrunner and someone needs to tell that to Mark Halperin. Watching Romney in this most recent debate showed that he is the most disciplined, adept, and prepared candidate on stage (not an endorsement). He has been running for 2012 for nearly 3 years now and he has not made the mistakes he made in 2008, he barely engages the others on stage. Perry forced his hand slightly, but it has only made Romney a better candidate (again, not an endorsement). He continues to lead the pack… in my humble opinion.

The final leg of the pre-Primary process is about to begin, and Romney has been at the pole position since the start. There is little time for others to get in, but that doesn’t mean they won’t. Regardless of the field being set in stone or not, whether or not someone will make a move and seriously contest Romney for the nomination remains to be seen. 

Amir Iljazi is the U.S. Politics Editor of Menzies House. He earned his Master's Degree in Political Science at American University in Washington, D.C. and currently resides in Tampa, Florida. Before relocating back to Florida, he specialized in longitudinal campaign tracking and voter trends for Federal Races nationwide while working for a Washington DC based center-right political advocacy organisation. You may follow him on Twitter@Michi83

Taxation, Taxation, Taxation … To Save You From Your Personal Choice

The ever-observant Belinda serves us up with a perfect example of this hideous, interfering mentality in her spot of an interview with high profile delegate, and anti-smoking pioneer, Dr Judith Mackay (left).

Do go have a listen, because in the first half of a 20 minute piece with a simpering stooge, she fully validates everything I have ever written here about the pernicious invasion of our liberties on the back of the tobacco control template.

She used to think the tobacco industry was "uniquely awful", but now wants to have a serious go at …

"the alcohol industry, the fast food industry, the sugar, the salt industry […] the arguments that they are using are very similar, the advertising they are using is very similar"

That's because, by her own admission, the techniques employed against those other industries are increasingly becoming very similar.

"With tobacco, we are now legislating so that you don't see packets of tobacco as you come out of the supermarket, in other words they are going to have to be sold below the counter, or they are going to have to be sold in plain packaging. So I think, you know, we need to shift all the other industries in the same direction."

Oh, the dismissal online article commenters receive when suggesting that crisps, coke and burgers might have to be hidden in the future now that the precedent has been set, eh? Yet here it is being advocated with brazen pride.

Judith doesn't have much faith in personal choice. In fact, she doesn't have much faith in anyone who isn't paid out of your taxes.

"You may argue that some of these things are the responsibility of the individual, whether they're thin or fat, or whether they do exercise or not, but I think what was discussed today – and this was, of course, a government meeting – this was essentially about what governments can do. Not so much what the individuals can do, but governments. […] Governments have got to set the template for healthy behaviour, and this is not a nanny state, this is actually the responsibility of governments to make life conducive, to help people to make those healthy choices."

Nope, no nanny state there. Not a bit of it.