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  • Meddling state has picked the wrong target
  • The Mail Online - UK
  • 24/01/2009 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: The Rooster ( 258 articles in 2009 )
Passports are not issued to us on condition that we do exactly what we are told by the State.
There is almost always a popular argument for totalitarian measures, which is why freedom is increasingly hard to defend in our democracy.

Usually the pretext for new draconian laws is terrorism, crime or child abuse.

The latest excuse for infringing liberty is the plight of children whose absentee fathers do not pay maintenance.

It is typical of this Government that its solution is to apply what is in effect State blackmail, to try to force them to hand over the money.

Those who do not do as they are told will have their driving licences or their passports revoked by officials.

What is wrong with this? First, the chaotic, unjust and misgoverned Child Support system is the direct result of the political decision in the Sixties to introduce what was in effect easy 'no-fault' divorce.

This was accompanied by a series of legal judgments which discriminated against divorced husbands, over custody of the children and division of marital property.

It meant that in the explosion of divorce that followed, innocent parties were often milked dry, and then commanded to hand over large chunks of their income to the person who had wronged them.

Second, passports are not issued to us on condition that we do exactly what we are told by the State.

We pay large fees for them so that we can travel abroad. Bailed defendants awaiting trial might reasonably be required by a court to surrender their passports.

Otherwise, the government of a free country has no business trying to take them away

A driving licence is proof that we have passed the driving test. It can be removed if we drive so badly or irresponsibly that we are considered unfit. But to take it away for completely unconnected reasons is the act of a despot.

It is also the act of an idiot, in this case, for so many jobs require driving licences that many of the victims of this proposed penalty will lose their work, and so be even less able and willing to pay maintenance than they were before.

If such arbitrary powers are used against absentee fathers, how long before they are used against other people who have annoyed the authorities in some way?

The wise answer to this undoubted problem is not this sort of bullying, but a reform of the divorce laws, changes in the way property and custody are settled, and a linked reform of a benefit system which relentlessly penalises stable marriage, and subsidises unmarried households.

The wages of murder

As part of the Establishment's continuing effort to be nice to the IRA, we are about to be asked to compensate the families of terrorist murderers killed by their own bombs during the Northern Ireland Troubles.

They will get exactly the same as the deserving families of those they butchered.

A committee of well-intentioned eminent persons believes - absurdly - that this refusal to discriminate between killer and victim will help to bring reconciliation.

If the relatives of these people really believe that they are entitled to handouts, then let them stand in the streets with collecting buckets and see what they get.


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