Kerry McCarthy MP was sent Nineteen Eighty-Four
- Voted against a transparent Parliament. votes, speeches
- Voted very strongly for introducing a smoking ban. votes, speeches
- Voted very strongly for introducing ID cards. votes, speeches
- Voted very strongly for Labour’s anti-terrorism laws. votes, speeches
- Voted very strongly against an investigation into the Iraq war. votes, speeches
- Voted very strongly for replacing Trident. votes, speeches
- Voted for equal gay rights. votes, speeches
- Voted a mixture of for and against stopping climate change. votes, speeches
Have been catching up with other people’s blogs from while I was away. Tom Harris has been sent a copy of 1984 in the post. So have I, but with a slightly different covering note. (No contact name, no signature, very brave of them).
Why is ‘bravery’ relevant? Why shouldn’t the sender be anonymous?
Whereas Tom got a slip saying “Young man, This is a reminder that this book, contrary to what your leader might think, is NOT an instruction manual, but a warning. REMEMBER – WE are YOUR masters.” I got a letter:
I have been asked to send you this by the LPUK [Libertarian Party UK].
We presume you have read it in the past but we feel our country might benefit if you read it again – this time understanding that it was intended as a warning to society and not an instruction manual for Government.
We would be grateful if you would consider the impact of legislation on individual freedom before sponsoring or voting for any more laws to prohibit things. Laws to criminalise prostitution would fall into this category.
Anyway, we hope you enjoy the book.”
That’s quite nice, isn’t it? It could have been accepted in good humour and, “hmm, well alright I’ll have a think.”
I think I know what, if he was writing ‘Down and Out in St Pauls and Easton’, [this is a reference to Down and Out in Paris and London] George Orwell would have made of businessmen in BMWs paying drug-addicted teenagers £20 a time for sex on their way home from work.
I confess I don’t know what she means by that, but then I haven’t read it.
Freedom? For who?
Fifty readers felt strongly enough to comment: one was vaguely supportive of Kerry.
[six paras of guff and prostitution-related irrelevance]
I’ve been out on patrol several times with local police in the parts of Bristol where prostitution is a problem (St. Pauls, Easton, Fishponds Road). I have also had long discussions with police officers, the One25 Project, the Vice Liaison Officer, etc, and organised a public meeting with a Home Office Minister so local residents could tell him just what they were having to put up with. I’ve met sex-workers and kerb-crawlers. So any views I might express on this issue are based on what you might call ‘research’.
Someone complained that the All-Party Group on Prostitution and the Sex Trade seems to have made up its mind before it begins its ‘investigation’. It has been set up with a particular purpose in mind, to work with the Home Office on measures to reduce prostitution. That’s what APPGS are, they’re not Select Committees, which conduct investigations and reach conclusions at the end.
… If someone wants to set up an APPG for the legalisation of prostitution or drugs or whatever, they’re entirely free to do so. But that’s not the purpose of this particular group. I don’t have fixed views as to the changes in law we need and I am completely realistic as to the prospects of ever eliminating prostitution, but if we can prevent girls, women and young men from being caught up in that sordid world, then I believe we should.
… The police have had some success. They’ve virtually eliminated daylight soliciting outside schools, and the number of women working the streets has gone down from c.300 to c.100.
You say I/ the Government should be doing more. So what do you suggest?
… On the more general issue of libertarianism. I just don’t agree with the people who have posted on here. It’s a fundamental philosophical difference. I think the State has a significant role to play in tackling some of the serious problems facing this country, whether it be our security, crime, public health, the economy… I don’t think ‘freedom’ is sacrosanct if by that you mean the freedom to oppress, exploit, abuse, harm others. I think it’s the role of Government to protect people from oppression, exploitation, abuse and harm.
I could point you to several other George Orwell books that make this case better than I ever could.
As for spending a few days in Miami for the US election campaign… I’ve already made clear on here that I paid for it myself. Taking an interest in overseas politics is part of my job. If you look at the main issues my constituents write to me about – climate change, energy policy, international development, foreign policy – I think you’ll find they were pretty keen to see Obama elected too!
… Final, final point – I’ve got work to do this evening, and I don’t want to be distracted/ stressed out by nasty comments coming through. So I’ve disabled comments. I think I’ve given you more than enough by way of a response, and don’t intend to continue the conversation.