Sunday, July 03, 2011

Our monstrous MPs

The Mail - presumably for Monday publication – is running a story on "absent fathers" who defy orders to pay towards their children's care.

The paper retails the views of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, which is to recommend immediate suspension of their driving licences and passports, plus curfew orders and new powers to deduct money from their bank accounts.

There were warnings, the paper says, that it would be "madness" to strip "runaway" parents of their licences as it could cost them their jobs and their ability to contribute to their children's upkeep, but – as always – it misses the point.

There is already something very sinister about the state using withdrawal of passports and driving licenses as penalties, for issues unrelated to the holding of those specific documents. But then to suggest that officials should have the power to remove them, without even having to go to court, is monstrous.

That the idea should then come from MPs is staggering. In theory, MPs are supposed to be our representatives, protecting us from the overarching power of the state. But here they are, acting as an arm of the state, recommending more powers for officials.

If ever you needed an example of how Westminster has ceased to be our protector, and turned into our enemy, this is it.