Licence to Kill(joy)

Taking a stand against the hyper-regulation of life | spiked
It is not so much that the state is remoulding civil society. Instead, the state is demanding that we live our everyday lives through it. We are invited for a walk with the state; we are invited to eat with the state. More and more of social life is now lived through the state as an intermediary. Our everyday actions are supervised – and authorised – by an official bureaucracy.

The emblem of this peculiar situation is the licence. Obviously in pubs, you need a licence to sell alcohol. Now, however, you also need a licence for just about every other activity you might want to perform inside a pub. You need a sporting license to play darts. If somebody wants to watch the darts, you need a sporting events licence. There is a licence for dancing, which can be strictly enforced: undercover council officials spotted people ‘swaying’ in a bar in Westminster and chastised the owners. There is a licence to play music. There is even a ‘spoken word’ license, to cover poetry readings and plays.