I would like Government to introduce a law that prevents any new Government coming into office having the ability to set fire to all our lovely red tape. (There should also be a cooling off period protecting the good bits of any previous administration – say for example the Building Schools for the Future Programme).
Red tape is good stuff. I like the sense I live in a civilised society that has sensible laws and regulations that protect me. It's nice that I can go into a restaurant and not be given food poisoning. It's good to know that if I go out on my bike I am unlikely to be run over by a runaway lorry as the regular MOT Test ensures most vehicles on the road are fitted with working brakes. When my kids go and work in a local business they are protected from idiot employers who won't ask them to do unsuitable work or go into dangerous situations. I like the fact we have a planning system which while it may limit what I can do, it protects me from my neighbours should they decide they want to build a sky scraper next to my house.
Regulation is sensible – moderation to all extremes and all that of course. If you look carefully at almost all of the UK regulatory environment it is based on reasonableness and common sense. Many of our laws and regulations have been derived over a long history within a (mostly) reasonably tolerant culture. Some were hard won and have only come into being after horrendous accidents or events that we should not wish to see repeated.
Clearly where it sometimes falls down is in how it is applied. Often the situations where a regulation has reached the headlines a degree of common sense or even proper application of the rules could have avoided the problem. As part of making things work we should recognise Cap and Badge Syndrome and provide help and understanding to those in positions of power who occasionally succumb to a sense of their own importance.
So please Mr Clegg don't let the Nasty Party lead you astray and remember bonfires release CO2. I'm happy with much of the regulation within the UK – it makes me feel safe (by the way I enjoy adventure sports and don't read the Daily Mail so perhaps I am not representative in feeling safe in my own little world).
Why is this idea important?
This is important as asking people a one sided question in what do you want to get rid off will give rise to a high degree of bias in the answers. For every regulation we dispose of there will be a situation where someone is harmed or disadvantaged.
The perception that all our health and safety laws are barmy and our Councils are out to get us is driven by the generally one sided right wing press we have in the UK.
We are told we are entering a new era where the pressure is on to reduce the size and influence of the state – while there may be benefits in this we should not lose sight of the responsibility of Governments to lead on how we should live in increasingly urbanised society. The state (which may include local government) should also protect its citizens as we develop an ever increasingly complex and fast moving society in a challenging world.