Andrew Lansley’s Socialist Nudges

The Coalition has come up with its latest Nanny State proposal.

They will give schoolchildren shopping vouchers if they walk to school, rather than taking other less environmentally-friendly transport.

The proposals will apparently be part of a Health White Paper, to be announced tomorrow.

Every school in the country will be offered access to technology which would allow children to use swipe cards to track their journeys, so that points can be swapped for consumer rewards.

This is all part of the government’s famous “nudge theory” approach. Apparently it is completely different from Labour’s Nanny State approach. Labour would lecture people to change their behaviour. The Conservatives will bribe people to change their behaviour – sorry

harness the latest insights into behavioural science … nudging individuals in the right direction and encouraging positive choices

as Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, put it.

Whichever way you put it, it’s more Socialist than the USSR ever was.

A recent immigrant from the old USSR shocked me a little last year by saying in passing “of course, the government here is much more powerful than it is in my country”. That was in a completely different context – but it applies here too. The government of the USSR would never have dreamed of interfering in people’s lives to the extent of telling them what transport method they “ought” to take to get to school.

Ordinary people are sick of the government telling them what they should or shouldn’t do – even in matters that are none of the government’s business. And if they want the support of Conservative Party members like me, to tramp the streets during election campaigns, they need to change their approach. I for one have no intention of lending my efforts (not to mention the money from my Conservative Party membership) to keep a government in power that increasingly looks like New Blue Labour.

There’s a simple response that we all ought to give Mr Lansley for this nonsense: MIND YOUR OWN F***ING BUSINESS.

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