Saturday, 15 November 2014

Why do people believe the king's job is to ban things?


There are a great many things that I dislike. These include men and women who seem to bathe in perfume, scented candles, air 'fresheners' and people who drive at 40 mph in a 60 limit without good reason. I'm pretty sure you have your own list of peeves and hates.

So let me ask you a question. If you were king for a day would you ban some or all of those things you hate? This is after all your chance to make the point and stamp out those horrid and intrusive things you loathe! It is a temptation that people find irresistible - here's lefty news presenter, Jon Snow in the Guardian:

It is midnight, the chimes of Big Ben ring in the ears of the Westminster workers setting up the pedestrian-only zone that extends from Lambeth Bridge to Trafalgar Square and from the Houses of Parliament to Buckingham Palace. As king, I shall join my people on foot and bicycle for the duration of my 24-hour ban on private cars in central London. Delivery trucks have until 7am to make their deliveries, and only then by prior permission.

Faced with all the good and positive things a king could do, time and time again people asked to speculate about the opportunity fall back on banning stuff. In the twee little Guardian series, we've had the banning of Coca-Cola and open plan offices, the execution of morris dancers, the branding of 'trolls' and prohibiting the use of cars. Now I know it's the Guardian and I should expect officious intervention but what a bunch of hideous snobby fascists.

Why do they start with the assumption that the king's job is to stop people doing something? Why the preference for bans and prohibitions? Why nothing positive and sustaining? Instead of banning stuff these lefties could have used the king's powers to help a few folk - maybe remove some trade barriers, perhaps unravel a little red tape, drop some fees or charges imposed by previous kings and maybe get rid of one or two of the more egregious bans.

Not that The Guardian will be asking me but when I'm king for the day I shall get rid of one law for every hour. I'll ask people what laws they want rid of and take the best suggestions for the chop. Other than this I'll have some champagne, go for a walk and have a damn good banquet with some of the most interesting folk out there. This is the job of the king - not banning stuff.

Banning stuff is for fascist and communist dictators not kings. Kings are way cooler than that.



Anonymous said...

Whenever a new law is imposed, two existing laws must be repealed - over time that quickly gets rid of laws and, eventually, they have to think really hard before imposing any new ones.

Jackart said...

Banning cars from central London for a day isn't a killjoy move. It's more akin to an experiment. People CAN get about in central London quite easily in other ways, without the vast externalities of urban car use. Having seen how much nicer the city is without cars, maybe they'll see why cycle lanes are being provided. Car drivers have come to believe the vast, technical, single-use infrastructure they enjoy, come without cost, as their natural right, not a huge subsidy to a wholly toxic means of getting about an urban space.