Ukip's Nigel Farage: get your elbow out of our ribs, David Cameron

Writing for MSN, Ukip leader Nigel Farage welcomes David Cameron's decision to scrap alcohol minimum pricing and plain-pack cigarettes - but says the government must do more to stop thinking it always knows best

It’s been a pretty good week for those of us who believe in personal liberty.

The government has dropped the legislation that promised that booze would be sold with a minimum price and that cigarette packets should be plain.

But these are two small victories in an ongoing war with a political class that really does think it knows how best we should live our lives. Worse still, though, it is instructive to learn the reasons why these two measures have been dropped.

In the case of plain packs, the legislation has been ditched in order to wait for evidence. But if the evidence from Australia shows that it has any impact on smoking rates it will no doubt be back.

What is interesting there is that the government was quite happy to introduce the legislation in the first place on the advice of anti-tobacco lobbyists when there was no evidence at all to go on, and they were perfectly happy to ignore the results of their own consultation which showed overwhelming opposition to the plans - whether it be the consumer, the industry or the retailers.

Wherever one looks we see the state making decisions that are not the state's to make. We find it creeping into the nooks and corners of our lives when it was never invited.

When it comes to the minimum price for alcohol, the argument given by the minister was that "it wouldn’t work". 

Or in other words, they still want to make us rue our drinking habits. But this isn’t the way to do it.

Meanwhile, we are being told by the department for education that parents should be discouraged from providing packed lunches for their children as the state knows best what children should eat.

I only wonder that they stop there. After all, if the state is better at providing lunches than parents, then surely it is better at deciding breakfast and dinner. Parents, being the irresponsible people they are, surely should not be able to make this sort of vital life decision over their children? Surely not.

Wherever one looks we see the state making decisions that are not the state's to make. We find it creeping into the nooks and corners of our lives when it was never invited. 

People talk about how the political class is held in contempt by the majority of the population.

I would say that the reason for this isn’t just because they are a venal, self-interested, self-selecting tribe with little experience of the world outside the Westminster bubble. It's also because of their almost messianic desire to tell us what to do.

Politics used to be about big questions, not about the minutiae of our life. As Thoreau pointed out: "The best government is that which governs least." Maybe, just maybe those who have power over us should remember this.

  • Nigel Farage is leader of the UK Independence party (Ukip) and an MEP for the South-East England constituency
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