Tuesday, October 21, 2008

This war on motorists is just getting silly...

Let us be very clear about one thing: the vast, vast, vast majority of motor vehicle accidents are caused by people who have not had a drink. Can we get that out the way? Good.

Let us be clear on another thing: a country in which the police can stop you and force you to comply with their demands on a mere whim is a police state. You can argue the toss with me on this if you like, but I maintain that any place where the police can pull you over in your car for no reason whatsoever and breathalyse you just because they feel like it is not a free country.
Drivers face random breath testing regardless of how they are driving, under government plans to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries caused by drink driving.

Still, as EU Referendum points out, we no longer live in a free country: we are a vassal state of a bureaucratic dictatorship.
This, of course, has been dreamed up by the government, completely spontaneously, a sovereign nation deciding to act in order to safeguard its citizens.

Yet, in May 2004, the then Home Office was robustly insisting that random tests were not an efficient way of catching drink-drivers. It did not see the need for them to be introduced. So what changed?

Well … It might just have something to do with this. Leave it long enough and allow the furore to die down and then you can pretend it was your idea all along. The media – with no memory at all – will never cotton on.

And what is "this"?
Early birds may well have caught the news that the EU’s commission is calling on the UK to introduce random breath tests to catch drink-drivers.

Says Ad Hellemons, also Dutch Assistant Commissioner of Police, talking to BBC Radio Five Live Five: "This is the first time the European Commission has made such a recommendation. The vast majority of member states already carry out random breath tests. We can’t understand why governments would want to protect drink-drivers".

"The European Commission has made it clear that they expect this recommendation to be followed. If not they will try to make it a directive". There you have it—you will do as we "recommend", or we will make it compulsory.

The use of this technique is a classic "velvet glove, iron fist" moment, of course.
However, with the authority of the Maastricht Treaty behind it, slowly, steadily and insistently, the EU is moving towards taking over the whole of policy domain on road safety policy and law enforcement throughout the 25 member states, Britain included. Today’s story was only the tip of a huge iceberg, the outcome of which will be that, in the fullness of time, the Home Office - whether it likes it or it - is going to have to do as it is told.

And we still think we are an independent country?

No. Perhaps the politicians do think that (although surely they cannot?) but if they do, they are deluding themselves. Slowly but surely, we are being taken over.

And more and more, I am returning to the view that leaving the EU is the single, most important issue facing this country today. Whilst we are part of that stinking organisation, we have no chance of building a liberal society and we will never, ever be free again.

Britons can chant and sing at the Last Night of the Proms all they like—they are already slaves: it's just that most of them just don't realise it yet.


Gerard said...

Yup. You brits are screwed. So screwed it will take guns to unscrew you. Except that, ooops, you gave them away.


TheFatBigot said...

The telling phrase is "we can't understand why governments would want to protect drink-drivers". Protect drink-drivers from what? The only threat they face from the mere fact of driving with more than an arbitrarily determined "limit" of alcohol in their system is the threat of the State penalising them. So the EU cannot understand why the State would want to protect its citizens from itself. No surprise there.

In any event, they miss the point. The requirement for reasonable suspicion is not there to protect the guilty, it is there to protect the innocent. Those who are complying with the criminal law should not have to justify themselves to the State. How do we differentiate between those who are acting within the law and those who might be breaking the law? We look for acts which give rise to reasonable suspicion of law-breaking. That is the trigger which authorises the minimum appropriate degree of State interference.

Absent overt indications that someone is breaking the law, the trigger mechanism does not operate. Does this mean that some who are in fact breaking the law get lucky? Yes, of course it does. Does it maximise the chance of those who are not breaking the law being left in peace? Yes, of course it does.

The question of policy is whether protecting the right of the law-abiding to live without State interference should outweigh the chance of wrongdoers who show no signs of being wrongdoers getting away with it.

That is all about how you view the proper balance of power between the individual and the State. There's no need to say where the EU stands on that issue.

pagar said...

Two statistics from the drink driving facts website.

Nearly one in six of all deaths on the road involve drivers who are over the legal alcohol limit

More than half a million breath tests are carried out each year and on average 100,000 are found to be positive

So the 20% of drivers who are over the limit are responsible for 17% of the fatalities. So they're safer?

Accidents are usually caused by driving errors. There are a great many reasons why people drive badly and it is this that they should be held responsible for.

Henry Crun said...

Only a matter of time before all EU states have to drive on the right and LHD cars will be compulsory.

Oh, and you will have to drive with your lights on during the day.

max the impaler said...

Henry.. now that will be a laugh.

Dave said...

The only reason we've not been forced to drive on the right is that Japan drives on the left.
If it became uneconomic to produce right hand drive cars the motor manufacturers will get the government to issue an edict and that will be that.

The criminalisation and persecution of smokers and drinkers has to stop. They are fast becoming an endangered minority, along with any dissenters to the opinion that your body belongs to the state because it provides the upkeep of it through the NHS.

John B said...

"The criminalisation and persecution of smokers and drinkers has to stop."

This doesn't appear to have much to do with the persecution of drinkers: the only innocent people who'll be affected by the legislation are drivers who're sober but suffer the annoyance of being stopped anyway. Drinkers who're sensible enough to avoid driving won't be affected at all.

(also, the 20%/17% aren't comparable, since at the moment only people who're driving like they're pissed get stopped. My hunch is that people who're pissed are likely to be overrepresented in the 'people who're driving like they're pissed' group...)

John B said...

"if it became uneconomic to produce right hand drive cars the motor manufacturers will get the government to issue an edict"

this is quite possible, but has bollocks-all to do with the EU.

pagar said...

My hunch is that people who're pissed are likely to be overrepresented in the people who're driving like they're pissed' group

You might think so but I assure you that if I drive with more than 80mg of alcohol in my system, I drive much less like I'm pissed than I do when I've not been drinking!!

And most breath testing is, in fact, random. I was stopped the other week at 11.00pm because the police (wrongly) thought I had left a pub car park. Nothing to do with my mode of driving.

The move towards formal random testing is only another small tightening of the chains that increasingly bind us.

Roger Thornhill said...

An end to probable cause?

Anonymous said...

pegar, just so as you know....the rules will be changed from 80mg to 50mg.

anybody any idea why?
no, no stupid, it's nothing to do with scientific evidence....it's because that's the way it is in.....

John B said...

Err, no. The government rejected the 50mg option two weeks ago, do keep up.

archduke said...

like the smoking ban, this policy was tried out in Ireland first - back in 2006.

and its not just car drivers - even bus drivers in cities are subject to it.

Anonymous said...

My three step rule for a more limited govt. and freer society:

First step: Leave EUSSR
Second step: Free market currency & abolish BoE
Third step: Eliminate all gun controls

V said...

Daylight lights are a requirement for new cars from 2011.

If you think its bad being a motorist in the UK - try being a biker.

The number of times I have been stopped and accused of being worse that a criminal is uncountable!

Last time I was stopped, they almost impounded my bike because the Police State Database was wrong regarding my insurance status and the Officer couldn't comprehend a computer being wrong!