Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Why can't I go shopping when I want to, Giles Fraser?

With the Sunday trading laws in the government's crosshairs following last week's budget, pious moralising chumps like the Guardian's Giles Fraser are falling over themselves to tell us how this move is all part of the Tories' grand plan to turn us all into consumerist drones who worship at the feet of big corporations and simply live from one opportunity to spend money to the next.

Fraser says 'Money is the only god the Tories want you to worship on Sunday' – but this demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of what deregulation is (or, at least, should be!) about.  This move is not about pushing people in one direction or another; unlike those who want to keep the strict regulations on Sunday trading, the government is not using this to try and encourage people to make certain lifestyle choices over others.  Instead, it is about government stepping back, and letting people make those choices for themselves.

The Tories don't want you to 'worship' money on a Sunday.  They don't much care what you do, I expect.  What they want is for you to be free to do whatever you please – on a Sunday, or on any other day – rather than having those choices made for you by the government.

Fraser says that Sunday is 'special' to him 'because it is a day when we are not forced to worship the market'.  He misses the point that nobody is 'forced' to 'worship' anything, on any day – but that intelligent adults should be allowed to make their own choices about how, and when, to spend their money, rather than being nannied by a government which thinks it knows best.

Perhaps Fraser thinks people are too stupid, or too immoral, to make those choices for themselves?  Perhaps he doesn't care that other people might not want their Sundays to be 'special', or that for some people with certain lifestyles or certain jobs, Sunday might be the only time they have available to go shopping?  That is a short-sighted, egotistical approach.

Giles Fraser might not want to go shopping on a Sunday – but even with the trading laws relaxed, he still won't have to.  Nobody will force him to go shopping on a Sunday, if he doesn't want to; he can still keep Sundays 'special', distinct from the shallow consumerism of the rest of the week, if that is his choice.  So why is he so keen to force people who would want to go shopping on a Sunday not to?  Fraser and his ilk should stop trying to impose his own morals and views on the rest of us, who may have different priorities, and different lives to lead.