Alfie Evans is a Turning Point for How Britain Sees The State

On Saturday the 28th of April the toddler Alfie Evans tragically died. He was admitted into hospital only seven months after he was born and has remained there ever since as a result of a degenerative neurological condition. This February the doctors at Alder Hay hospital decided that it was not worth trying to preserve Alfie’s life. When the parents tried to remove Alfie from the UK and take him to Italy for treatment, they were not allowed. In the eyes of the law, the opinions and personal convictions of the doctors counted for more than the parents of the child.

This should be a big moment for British culture.

Call it ‘national mythology’ or sentimental, but a large part of British culture is the belief that in Britain, the relationship between citizen and the state is one of mutual respect. Our politicians are not supposed to be despots. They may be idiotic and fumbling but the popular perception is that dictatorship is just ‘not British’. This rosy view is representative of the way we Britons view the government. British civil servants are competent instead of corrupt and nepotistic. British policemen are ‘bobbies’ rather than armed to the teeth pseudo warriors. While many counties have had a difficult relationship with their secret security services we turn our spies into much-loved action heroes. And what British child did not grow up with the notion that although the American army has more guns than we do, the British Army is still (somehow) the best in the world?

Whether any of this is actually true is highly debatable. But the popular view that the British state is a benign, measured entity is a pervasive feature of our national character. The Alfie Evans case could change this. Here we have the state openly flouting the will of a family to save their young son. This certainly does not fit into the view of the gentle state myth we are so used to.

The Alfie Evans controversy should be a watershed for British culture. State power has grown unchecked for decades, to truly frightening levels.The delusion that the British government exists to serve the people is a silly mistake at best, and dangerously deranged at worst. Across the country conversations about the scope of state power will be happening. Let’s hope that people come to the right conclusion. That the state has grossly overstepped it’s mark here and that it should not be tolerated.

  4 comments for “Alfie Evans is a Turning Point for How Britain Sees The State

  1. Steve Kerby
    May 1, 2018 at 7:18 am

    I agree with almost everything you say here Jordan, particularly your comment about the British government being there to serve the people.

    I too (I’m fifty, to give some sense of place and time) grew up with the romantic notions you quote – govern by the rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, policing by consent, elected officials being accountable to the electorate – but I have to say, although it breaks my heart to do so, these things really are a myth.

    And I would also say these comforting thoughts really HAVE been dangerous, since they have fostered an atmosphere of complacency which has this country more – and not less – at risk of becoming a fully-fledged totalitarian state. We now live in an era of almost total surveillance and authoritarian hate speech laws. Orwell would be turning in his grave, particularly since he warned us, particularly US, to guard against such things. He must be turning in his grave.

    The Alfie Evans tragedy highlights what I consider to be the true mark of fascism: The subjugation of the individual by the state.

  2. Bill Thompson
    May 2, 2018 at 8:39 am

    This country had strong institutions that protected liberty to a greater extent than almost any other country. It still has most of these institutions, but they have been thoroughly infiltrated by self-described “progressives” who follow (sometimes unthinkingly) an ideological creed that opposes what those institutions stood for. The Gramscian / Fabian slo-mo coup d’etat has been very effective.

    • Ted
      May 9, 2018 at 11:00 am

      Which is why I think the attempts by the House Of Lords to halt the passage of the Brexit Bill will do more to wake up the nation to the power the state now wields over us than the Alfie Evans case will.

      For years I supported the House Of Lords in its role as the watchdog of Parliament. Not any more. Now this unelected band of parasites wants to use its powers to thwart the democratically expressed wishes of the people.

      On June 18th the Commons will be debating giving the people a referendum on the question of abolishing the House Of Lords. Get your letters in to your MPs now.

  3. Paul Marks
    May 3, 2018 at 1:05 am

    Sadly most people have already forgotten the baby – and even if he had not been brain damaged and had been deprived or water and food for no reason at all, most people would have shrugged and said “the doctors have said….” they do not really believe that, but they would say it to have an excuse not to do anything.

    When I last visited London the “Bobbies” were in Robo Cop style armour and carrying submachine guns – and no one batted an eyelid.

    Everyone knows that the Civil Service (and local officials as well) are utterly incompetent – and most people do-not-care.

    I think Jordan you do not fully realise how utterly without real hope most people are.

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