The term big government needs to be defined of course, what I am referring to is the enormous shift in power from individual to state that occurred post 1945. 1945 saw the election of a Labour government with a major ideological programme to expand the state and develop an all-encompassing welfare system. They also had an electoral mandate to do so having won a landslide victory in the 1945 election. However no government since then has done anything to dismantle the more authoritarian aspects of Atlee's ambitious programme. For instance the NHS an enormous receiver of state revenue is generally well regarded in spite of the bloated bureaucracy and cash cow it has become.
But what of the numerous other 'benefits' that flowed since then. Child benefit which is paid to all mothers regardless of means (thus ensuring the father has no effective role or whatever role or interest he may have had is usurped by the state). Housing benefit another well intended idea that was supposed to remove the slums, however now the state is the landlord. Ultimately the over-reaching meaning of too many of these benefits is that the government is your provider, your father, your bread winner and your landlord. There was a time when families and communities looked after themselves and having strong family values and not excessive statism keeps the government at bay thus protecting liberty.
However the socialist paternalism induced through welfare makes people always look to the state as provider, not their families and themselves the state rules you. So where does this lead and how does it make the riots witnessed last week inevitable? Simple, if you look to the state for everything and then the state cannot provide everything or more of what you crave (due to a recession) then the state is to blame. So being in a state of dependence and feeling entitled to things (as opposed to aspiring for them which is admirable) then you take them by force. After all morally the state can never be an effective alternative solution for rock solid working class families, the likes of which existed in places such as Salford I know my father's family were an example.
However that era has been passed it is now the era of the benefits underclass. The problem with benefits is that they perpetuate poverty and strangle any sense of initiative or moral responsibility from those that receive them. If this sounds harsh I'll accept that not all benefits recipients are criminal scroungers nor were all of the rioters on benefits, but they have fostered a dependency culture tax payers subsidise. The last Labour government did all of this in spades. So the solution is to roll back the state and go back to traditional family values as one thing but there are numerous other things that can be done.
A few of my own suggestions are as follows:
1. Introduce tax rebates for working families, a couple in work will pay less tax each child they produce so long as they remain in work. They could spend the saving on childcare.
2. I've blogged on the oppressive and stupid hand gun ban previously, allow people with no criminal record to own a handgun and keep it for self-defence. They will need it as we have a police force that surrenders the streets to rampaging mobs for hours on end. I pity the shop keepers and others who have suffered as a consequence of the recent violence.
3. Increase the amount of time police officers spend on patrol through scrapping their paperwork, in short stop micro managing them.
4. Help create jobs and wealth for reducing corporate tax and scrapping the 50 pence top tax rate.
5. Celebrate our small business operators and other private sector workers as they are currently the underdogs, but they are the lifeblood of the British economy.
6. Make policing more localised and community based, increase the number of smaller police posts and re-establish foot patrols in areas. This may cost money, well the answer is simple stop foreign aid and spend it at home.
That's just a few ideas, inevitably however the solution amongst many will be for more statism but this must be resisted. Big brother would love to take more power and control social media and internet use, however the result would be truly Orwellian. Typically those on the left are stating that factors such as spending cuts are too blame ignore them, we pay too much tax as it is. Roll back the state and we will get back our streets as well as our dignity and pride. The situation in America would have been different and the debate more honest.