Bad laws are always worse than no laws and yet politicians love to come up with new punishments as if this was a sign of enlightenment. Writing in the Telegraph, Ed West makes several essential points on this topic in regard to the flurry (or should that be slurry) of law-making that characterises this mutant Government.
“It’s a fundamental misuse of government, like the many dealt with in Philip Johnston’s Bad Laws. He cites (among so many bad acts) the Sexual Offences Act 2003, which outlawed teenagers under 16 from indulging in sexual touching; in other words, criminalising snogging. The Home Office then issued a statement which stated: “We are putting safeguards in place to ensure that these cases, which are not in the public interest, are not prosecuted.”
So it’s a crime sometimes, and not a crime at other times. In other words the government is making a statement about morality and sin, not “crime”, and is using lawmaking to express its morality, taking on a role once carried out by the Church.
Typically, both the transphobia and the domestic abuse proposals are supported by taxpayer-funded campaigning charities, which often seem to play a part in misguided attempts by the state to micromanage its citizens.
Finally, and on a similar subject, the Government has this bizarre plan to outlaw forced marriage. Now, kidnapping is illegal in this country, false imprisonment is illegal, assault is illegal and rape is certainly illegal. So why, since forced marriages must by definition involve at least one of these crimes, and often all four, do we need a new law? The Government is well aware that the only way to deal with the problem of forced marriage is to place restrictions on fetching marriages: restrictions such as are already in place in Denmark and which were in place here before Labour effectively abolished them in 1997. But that would risk being denounced for the worst sin of the new church-state, racism, so rather than face criticism from various publicly funded race-relations industry experts (note that there are no taxpayer-funded campaigning charities calling for restricted immigration), they would rather go to the trouble of introducing an unworkable law.”
I believe we need fewer laws. I also believe that we should make it much more difficult to introduce new laws. Finally those laws that we do have should be enforced otherwise there is little point in having them in the first place.