H/T I was at the excellent “Battle of Ideas 2012” event at the Barbican on Sunday. I was going to write up my thoughts on the sessions I attended, but then read this excellent summary of events over on The Last Ditch.
I came away from the day realising that there is a very clear split between those working in, or at least receiving funds from, the state, who unapologetically kneel before the god that is regulation, and those that live in the real world, dismayed at the stifling effect over-regulation can have on every aspect of our lives – our spirit of adventure, individuality, personal responsibility and enterprise.
One academic (and former special advisor to Gordon Brown) stated with a totally straight face that “all the regulation over the last 50 years were necessary and had been effective” (what planet has he been living on I wonder) .
Meanwhile a certain Dr Michael Nelson, director of research and nutrition at the Children’s Food Trust, announced in a later session that parents simply could not be trusted to make the right choices on food for their children ” …we know from experience (parents) do not themselves have the the power of executive decision when it comes to their own diet…” I suppose that, by now, I should be getting used to the high and mighty in academia looking down their noses at the rest of us and tut tutting at our dreadful parenting skills, appalling nutritional choices, refusal to keep to the “safe” number of units of alcohol etc . But there is something extremely chilling, hearing them say such things out loud, and knowing that it is almost always they, rather the the electorate, that the politicians actually listen to.
On the upside we were thoroughly entertained by Mark Littlewood’s wit and innovative solutions to the problems of over regulation; humbled by Josie Appleton’s knowledge of, and fight against, the regulation that is eating away at the heart of civil society; uplifted by Chris Snowdon’s probing questions on where the assault on smoking, drinking and eating would actually end; and found ourselves cheering on Christine Thompson from SABMiller who asked in a simple heartfelt way that we don’t always focus on the negatives of alcohol, but remember the many more times alcohol forms part of a happy family event, gathering of friends, or celebration. Her commonsense, down to earth, balanced view of life was a timely reminder that if left to our own devices we don’t always turn into a pack of savage animals destined for a late night visit to A&E.
On that note a large group of us headed to the pub to engage in what can only be described as a session of binge drinking -or in old language – had a few pints and a jolly good natter with some old, and several new, friends.
Speaking of which, if you can spare the time, do head over to The Last Ditch to read his superb and much fuller review of the day.