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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
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The excellent Richard Littlejohn has the misfortune to write for the Daily Mail, but that doesn't stop him from being a trenchant voice for common-sense in a world full of dreck. He has been rather preoccupied with "proof of identity" - and when you read his conclusions, you'll understand why
 

 
What was I saying about proof of identity being this year's elf 'n'safety? Seems I didn't know the half of it. Since Tuesday, I've been deluged with further examples of idiocy from all over Britain. I could have filled this column with them today.
 
For instance, at the Dagenham branch of Morrisons, Tessa Sparrow's 24-year-old daughter was prevented from buying a can of furniture polish because she couldn't prove she was over 18. They said she might be a solvent abuser.
 
Charming. Do they think every fresh-faced young woman who tries to buy a can of Mr Sheen is a gluesniffer?
 
Janet Lankester went to renew her driving licence at her local Post Office. They refused to accept her state pension certificate as proof of identity because they said she didn't look old enough, and demanded her passport. Since she doesn't travel abroad, Janet has no need for a passport. She'd applied for a new EU-style photo driving licence only because her old paper licence - while still perfectly valid - was rejected whenever she attempted any financial transaction, no matter how trivial.
 
Apparently, this is down to new money-laundering regulations - just in case a white Englishwoman of pensionable age turns out be an Al Qaeda banker, or Bernie Madoff decides to hide the $50billion he stole from investors in an account in one of our few remaining sub post offices.
 
Elsewhere, at the Lichfield branch of Marks & Sparks, 30-year-old Oliver Butler was told that unless he could produce his passport, he couldn't buy two bottles of mulled wine. They wouldn't accept his paper driving licence either. Rightly, he points out that you don't see many under-age bingedrinkers swigging M&S mulled wine by the neck down your local shopping precinct. Alcopops and extra-strength cider are more their preferred beverage. Oliver tells me that it was the first time in 12 years he'd been asked for ID. You'd better get used to it, old son. It probably won't be the last.
 
The crackdown on alcohol sales now extends even to people who can prove they are over 18, if they happen to be accompanied by a minor. Christine Middleton, from Edinburgh, was out shopping for Hogmanay with her daughter at her local Co-op; usual stuff - chicken, turkey, sprouts, two bottles of wine (one red, one pink champagne). When the champagne went through the barcode scanner, an alarm went off.
 
The checkout girl asked Christine's daughter how old she was. After discovering she was 17, she confiscated the two bottles. Christine ('48, but I look good for my age') pointed out that the wine was for her, not her daughter, and sent for the manager. Still no joy. The manager said that her daughter could, in fact, be a local hoodie who had persuaded Christine to buy booze on her behalf. Like Oliver Butler and his mulled wine, Christine remarked that 'pink champagne and a cheeky wee Rioja' weren't exactly your average hoodie's gargle of choice. But the manager still wouldn't serve her and, with an impatient queue getting restless behind her, she was forced to withdraw, empty-handed.
 
At first glance, this all seems laughable, to be filed under You Couldn't Make It Up - especially after reports that grown men and women are being refused whisky-infused cheddar cheese and knitting needles without proof of identity. The idea that supermarkets are accusing law-abiding adults of being glue-sniffers and purveyors of illicit hooch to under-age hooligans is not only risible but deeply offensive.
 
It would be easy to put all this down to the good old British jobsworth mentality and the ridiculous modern 'if it saves one life' excuse for lowest-common-denominator law enforcement. But scratch the surface and there's something far more sinister going on - on a couple of levels.
 
First, proof of identity is not just the new elf'n'safety. It has been seized upon gleefully by the 'consumer protection' nazis. The pounds and ounces police who hounded greengrocer Steve Thoburn to his death for not using metric measures have discovered a new weapon for throwing their weight about.
 
Town Halls increasingly are mounting covert operations against supermarkets and corner shops, sending undercover agents to buy everything from booze and cigarettes to glue and steak knives. In some cases, these are underage children who look over 18. In others, they are fresh-out-of-college, 21-year-old Guardianista recruits who could pass for 16 in a good light.
 
If a checkout assistant doesn't ask for proof of identity, the heavy mob moves in and prosecutes. It's not enough that someone actually is under-age. Suspicion is enough. If they don't demand ID, supermarkets face fines of thousands of pounds and the assistant can get a criminal record. Little wonder they decide it's not worth the risk.
 
Dig deeper and you discover the dead hand of the Government's determination to force through its unpopular, unworkable and hideously expensive ID cards scheme, to extend the surveillance state and expand the punishment culture. Word has clearly gone out to councils and government departments to make people's lives as difficult as possible without photo ID.
 
Why else would a state-run post office refuse to accept a state-issued pension book as proof of identity for a state-issued driving licence? Putting pressure on supermarkets to inconvenience customers in the most ridiculous of circumstances is part of the plot.
 
The Government figures that eventually we'll become so frustrated that we'll gratefully accept a 'one-stop' state identity card.
 
Of course, as this column has long argued, ID cards won't stop terrorism, illegal immigration or organised crime. But next time someone like Janet Lankester goes to the Post Office to collect her pension, you can guarantee she'll be turned away if she has left her ID card behind the jar on the mantelpiece. Eventually you'll be fined for not carrying your card at all times and failing to produce it on demand to any police officer or government official will result in immediate arrest.
 
Britain has become a country where you won't even be able to buy a can of furniture polish without the state's permission and without the state knowing exactly where you bought it, when you bought it and how you paid for it.
 
Little by little, slice by slice, this is how freedom dies.

 

 
Meanwhile another Daily Mail writer - one who isn't important enough to have a name but who has his head screwed on all the same - highlights another misuse of documents by the government.
 

 
There is almost always a popular argument for totalitarian measures, which is why freedom is increasingly hard to defend in our democracy. Usually the pretext for new draconian laws is terrorism, crime or child abuse.
 
The latest excuse for infringing liberty is the plight of children whose absentee fathers do not pay maintenance.
 
It is typical of this Government that its solution is to apply what is in effect State blackmail, to try to force them to hand over the money. Those who do not do as they are told will have their driving licences or their passports revoked by officials.
 
What is wrong with this? First, the chaotic, unjust and misgoverned Child Support system is the direct result of the political decision in the Sixties to introduce what was in effect easy 'no-fault' divorce. This was accompanied by a series of legal judgments which discriminated against divorced husbands, over custody of the children and division of marital property.
 
It meant that in the explosion of divorce that followed, innocent parties were often milked dry, and then commanded to hand over large chunks of their income to the person who had wronged them.
 
Second, passports are not issued to us on condition that we do exactly what we are told by the State. We pay large fees for them so that we can travel abroad.
 
Bailed defendants awaiting trial might reasonably be required by a court to surrender their passports. Otherwise, the government of a free country has no business trying to take them away.
 
A driving licence is proof that we have passed the driving test. It can be removed if we drive so badly or irresponsibly that we are considered unfit. But to take it away for completely unconnected reasons is the act of a despot.
 
It is also the act of an idiot in this case, for so many jobs require driving licences that many of the victims of this proposed penalty will lose their work, and so be even less able and willing to pay maintenance than they were before.
 
If such arbitrary powers are used against absentee fathers, how long before they are used against other people who have annoyed the authorities in some way?

 

 
The GOS says: Well said, that man. Or those two men, actually.
 
The anonymous reporter's last question is a salient one - "how long before they are used against other people who have annoyed the authorities in some way?"
 
The fact is that the government is already planning exactly that. One of the features of the ID scheme is that without producing an ID card you will be denied access to the National Health Service you have paid for all your working life. So if you're one of the many Grumpy Old Sods who have vowed never to carry an ID card, the government will punish you by turning you away from A&E or banning you from the local doctor's surgery.
 
Their thinking is typical of the left wing. It's been pointed out recently that many of the shining lights of Nu-Labour were once communists. It may be that we became distracted during the reign of King Bliar by the tremendous similarity between him and Margaret Thatcher, but now he's gone we should just remind ourselves that we are dealing here with old-fashioned socialists.
 
Oh, they play the game with fervour, they collect those consultancy fees and seats on the board, they get themselves elevated to the peerage and charge business 120,000 to force through changes in the law, they fiddle the books and falsify the expenses and snuffle in the trough like the pigs they are, but underneath it they're grimy, humourless little prigs, riddled with class envy, utterly convinced of the divine right of the state to control every facet of its citizens' lives - so long as it's them in charge, that is.
 
In the innocent days gone by, we thought that we had a right to certain things. We were citizens, and we had a right to an education, to health care, to be protected by the police. We had a right to a passport, because we were British citizens and the Queen required foreign officials to treat us with consideration and courtesy or she'd know the reason why.
 
But you have only to look back at communist USSR to see the direction we're headed in now. The difference is not that our schools are crap, though they are. It's not that the NHS is over-stretched and over-administered, although you can die unnoticed in the corridor these days and that's normal. It's not that the police are much too busy to protect your sorry arse, though what with filling in forms and prosecuting the victims of crime, they certainly are.
 
No, the real difference is that in the twenty-first century Soviet Socialist Republic of Britain, citizenship is not a right but a privilege. You don't have a right to health care and education; you just have to take whatever you're given, and what you're given is not what you've paid for but what they decide you deserve. You don't have a right to police protection, unless you're a criminal of course, in which case your 'Uman Rights will be jealously guarded.
 
And above all you don't have a right to a driving licence or a passport. These things are privileges, and privileges can be withdrawn.
 
Karl Marx once said "From each according to his ability; to each according to his need", and that's a very fine-sounding and persuasive creed. Trouble is, who decides what your ability is, and who is it that determines what you need?
 
Whoever it is, in modern Britain you can bet your last cent it won't be you.
 

 
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