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23 February 1998

It's Not Just Guns

The following is the text of a leaflet used by LM sellers on a anti-gun control demonstration through central London today - 23 February 1997

The right to bear arms used to be the hallmark of a civilised country. There was a time when freedom was the watchword. Today things are very different. Then we had declarations of independence. Now we have snooper's charters, like the Police Bill. Then we had constitutions to keep the state out of our lives. Now the state is creeping in everywhere.

Today virtually every aspect of our lives is subject to regulation. More and more areas of our existence are constantly coming under scrutiny from the powers that be. This ludicrous new gun ban and bizarre knife legislation beggar belief. Where is the debate? These authoritarian measures have not been introduced after a rational consideration of facts or merit. Far from it. These laws are nothing but knee-jerk reactions to a climate of hysteria and panic. Recently, one of Britain's biggest supermarket chains banned the sale of kitchen implements, particularly corkscrews, to minors, and issued guidelines for the rest of us. What next?

  • Look up now. Odds are that a CCTV camera is in sight. And you are in sight of it. The days when you had to be a criminal to be under surveillance are long gone. Now we are all under suspicion.

  • Think that your home is your castle? Think again. The Police Bill will give police more powers to break into your home or tap your phone. A controversial measure? The "opposition" supported it, barring a few technicalities.

  • Grown ups used to bring up children. Not now. Today you need a professional to help. Once being a mum or a dad just came naturally. That was before "parenting". Now there is a politically correct army on hand to tell you how to do everything from changing a nappy to babytalk.

  • Even before the birth, experts are on hand to tell you what vitamins to take. Remember the Yorkshire couple who wanted to adopt but were not allowed? They smoked.

  • Politicians aren't slow to get in there too. Jack Straw is keen on curfews for 10 year olds. Proposed pupil-parent contracts will make sure that the kids behave by making you behave.

  • When it comes to children you do not have any rights. Social services have them all. Forget about justice when Cleveland-style child protection is involved. The social worker is right. And you, when you're accused of abuse, have no rights.

  • Politicians fell over themselves to back the Firearms Bill. Except the ones who wanted to make it even more draconian. They all supported its ugly sister the Offensive Weapons Act too. Now it is an offence for under 16 year olds to buy a sewing or manicure kit.

These are only a few examples. The list of controls, restrictions and intrusions seems to get longer every day. The idea that we should be responsible for running our own lives has never been so out of fashion. And as for politics, never mind left and right. Today's politicians are only concerned with right and wrong. Telling the rest of us how to live is the only agenda they have.

If you think people can run their own lives, as parents or whatever else; if you prefer freedom to state control, you should read LM magazine.

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