Let us hope a new day will dawn when we can return to our libertarian roots and government can retreat into the shadows where it belongs, says UKIP MEP Godfrey Bloom.
• As a libertarian, I was deeply shocked to watch the sad story of the British bed and breakfast couple being prosecuted for refusing a homosexual couple hospitality in their own home. Not a hotel, big or small, but their own home. I wondered how it could be possible in what used to be the most liberal of societies that this could somehow be a criminal offence. Even under the most appalling fascist, communist or theocratic junta this would be considered extreme.
Bear in mind, if you will, this couple had strong religious convictions - unmarried heterosexual couples were not welcome in this couple's home. If the estimable Christian Institute had not stepped in, this unfortunate couple could have seen nearly 50 per cent of their meagre annual profit wiped out by the dreadful and bigoted piece of legislation. Consider it for a moment, regardless of your religious or political persuasion, the state is now telling you who you can or cannot entertain in your home on fear of prosecution.
Most people, I think, including the judge were deeply uncomfortable with this whole legal circus. Back in the 1960s, as a young private solider I was in Catterick Garrison and for the first time saw a Sikh senior non-commissioned officer of 10 Signal Regiment. He was resplendent in his turban with the regimental badge of the Royal Signals proudly at its front. The British Army paradoxically is one of the most liberal of organisations. Live and let live could easily be the motto of the United Kingdom's armed services.
But we seem to have found ourselves almost by accident in an environment where the government can enter almost every facet of our lives. They can take away our children on the advice of 'experts' in secret courts. They extradite us with no prima facie evidence to regimes with failed or failing legal systems and I don't mean Jordan. And they close our businesses using enabling acts and enforcement agencies working completely outside the principles of English Law. The Financial Services Authority, the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to name but three.
It you wish to wear an emblem of faith, cross or crescent, what has it to do with government? What has it to do with the law? A review perhaps of the Bill of Rights and British history by modern politicians, bureaucrats and the judiciary is overdue. The phrase 'an Englishman's home is his castle' was based in law. This is sacrosanct, not something to be tampered with by journeymen politicians of the day.
Especially, those as shallow as we have now; many bred from that appalling 1960s and 1970s generation. I would argue any compassionate nurse or career with a terminally ill patient who advises them to pray, to whichever god might give them spiritual comfort, is the best advice probably available. Let us hope a new day will dawn when we can return to our libertarian roots and government can retreat into the shadows where it belongs.
Godfrey Bloom is a United Kingdom Independence Party MEP and a member of the Economic Affairs Committee in the European Parliament. www.publicserviceeurope.com