Leading Article: Free market tears

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The Independent Online
A RECENT directive from EC headquarters in Brussels means that in future the ticket-collectors and porters at Gatwick's railway station will be known as 'customer reception teams' (Loony, or what?). This is only the latest example of Eurocrats meddling in the British way of life with their arcane rules and passion for conformity. The same absurd people made Britain demolish most of its cherished red telephone boxes (Daft, we call it). They have also threatened the future of London's famous black cabs (Give us a break, Guv). They are even now ridding London's streets of a feature that has made London loved the world over; yes, they are abolishing the red London bus (Crikey, so who won the war then?). The list could go on: the threat to country post offices and milk delivered on the doorstep, the admission charges to museums, the demand that the News at Ten becomes the News at Six And A Bit.

And yet, strangely, no word of protest (not a sausage, you could say) from Teddy Taylor or the pin-striped William Cash, and not much noise from the Sun. Are they sleeping then, these valiant custodians of this island's heritage? No: the cause of their silence is, of course, that these obliterations in our culture do not really stem from Brussels but (mainly) from the policies followed for the past 14 years by their own party. Modern Conservatism has the free market at what passes for its heart; and the free market is a much greater enemy than the EC of that thing called conservatism.