Seems to me we need some consensus on what a “Nanny State” actually is.
Today the Nats have come out in opposition of some scholarships awarded for doctoral research by the Tertiary Education Commission – stuff like “children’s colour use and emotional wellbeing when drawing” being researched by Emily Crawford at Otago University. What could be more Nanny State or authoritarian than telling academics what they can and can’t research?
A few weeks back there were calls for legislation to ban the use of cellphones while driving in an effort to reduce crashes – despite the fact that we routinely participate in other equally risky activity while driving (neither was there any decent statistical analysis to shows that such a ban would even be likely to have an impact). No mention of the Nanny by the Granny though.
On the flip-side there was a public outcry from groups like Family First when the government moved to help stop people getting off beating their kids by repealing s59 – “Nanny state”. Similarly when the government moved to reduce our appalling rate of food poisoning by introducing stricter food hygiene regulations – “Nanny state”.
I don’t think you can have it both ways, National, The Herald, et al. At least not without a decent explanation.
PS. To any of the people who have had their research criticised by Paul Hutchinson feel free to get in touch if you’re reading this – perhaps we could discuss the possibility of a guest post by you in reply.