This week saw in Scotland the latest in a long line of events that illustrates the creeping influence of the state into our personal lives. Four months after First Minister (FM) Alex Salmond said the mobbing of Nigel Farage was “a lively protest”, a man has appeared in court charged with ‘conduct that caused fear and alarm’.
He was arrested by what is now a federal police force, Police Scotland. His alleged crime is this: he stared at the Deputy FM Nicola Sturgeon in her constituency office whilst “loitering in his car”. After failing to enter a plea he was referred for a mental health assessment.
Police Scotland is answerable to a certain Kenny Macaskill, a 79 Group socialist who once threatened to withhold Scotland’s share of Supreme Court funding with the quip “He who calls the piper calls the tune”.
The Seriously Nasty Paternalists have form in promoting intrusive and draconian legislation – for our own good of course. Macaskill himself wanted powers to randomly breathalyze drivers to cut drink driving deaths, but Westminster stopped him. Yes, in Kenny’s NeoNordic utopia the state should be able to stop a car at random, hassle the driver for a breath test and then arrest him for staring the wrong way at….well, anything really.
Multipack sales of alcohol are banned, as is buying alcohol from a shop after 10pm. The SNP response to criticism of it promoting a nanny state is to propose a social worker for every child born in Scotland – to help the parents of course. It is hard to decide at times whether this authoritarianism is simply due to persistent need for Scotland to redefine herself as some new Nordic nation, or something darker.
Yes, we could reinvent ourselves here as a land of anti-British Gaels from the ancient mists, but Ireland bagged that one 90 years ago; now it’s bust and its people are emigrating again. Norway and Sweden are, excuse the pun, far cooler and certainly largely successful. Nanny state Nordism seems the order of the day.
There is however an increasing suspicion that this drift towards a society where the state intervenes in day to day life is not British and not right. None of us should be complacent that in peace time, on British soil, a man appears to have been arrested for no more than looking at a politician the wrong way, from the comfort of his own car.
It is a common anecdote in Chester that it is legal to shoot a Welshman from the city walls if he has a murderous glint in his eye. This weeks’ incident shows that in Scotland, one can be arrested for far less.
Dr. Jonathan Stanley is UKIP Scotland’s Treasurer.