The state of the nation

25 January, 2008
Tony Phillips looks at the parlous state of British society and asks why being an honest, upright businessman no longer seems to pay
Page 13 
I am at last eligible for a government grant. After all, if illegal immigrants are being given a free flight home and £4,000 to start up a business, I think I must be eligible, as I will explain. And I do not intend leaving the country, so I will not even cost the government the airfare.
So how do I qualify? Well, according to family legend, way back in time, a large Scotsman came over the border on a rape-and-pillage raid. He was either a) very clever and brave or b) rather stupid and kept going too far, so he missed England and ended up in Wales, where he met a beautiful Welsh lady called Phillips. And here am I, the fruit of their loins.True, there are a few generations between us, but I feel sure my Scottish forefather did not enter England with any of the appropriate papers. So the only reason I can surmise as to why I have never succeeded in obtaining a grant is because I did not come over in the back of a lorry.While I try to be reasonably law-abiding, it always feels as if I am being punished for behaving lawfully; while if I break the law, there is a whole army of do-gooders out there waiting to make excuses for me and steal your tax money to give me in large dollops. The old saying used to be 'Crime does not pay'. But our politicians have already proved that to be a load of rubbish; incompetence and corruption appear to reign in all public walks of life.We businessmen, I am convinced, are the only remaining upright honest citizens - or should I say slaves - left in the system. Should we behave as our so-called peers behave, our customers would leave us in droves and we would be bankrupt within weeks.It may be quaint, but we have to deliver what we promise our customers or they would go, and there would be about 100 useless bureaucrats descending on us, fining us for every conceivable error they could find, as well as inventing some new statute to fine us for. Once upon a time, there was a pact with governments; they provided a police force to protect us and we, in return, were not allowed to take the law into our own hands. Except during my National Service, I have never fired a gun; they are far too noisy. Yet I am increasingly leaning towards the American view that my home is my castle and, if a number of large louts are attempting to burglarise and harm me and my family, a gun would be far preferable to some crazy expectation that the police might come to my aid.Reading the papers, however, it would seem that if I shouted racial remarks at the police, they would arrive in force and quicker. Although that may be anecdotal, I fear it is more likely true.



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