Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Magazine article The Spectator

Banned Wagon

Article excerpt

THIS column does not usually stray overseas, but the behaviour of the Peruvian President, Alejando Toledo, deserves comment for what it tells us about the international spread of Blairism. Last June, Toledo was elected as the country's first indigenous president, promising an end to corruption -- something of a national pastime in Peru - and a crusade to end poverty.

In practice, grand promise has been substituted by emotive gesture worthy of our own Prime Minister. Last week, more than 200 people were killed in a fire that started when the owner of a firework store in Lima decided to demonstrate his wares by letting them off in the shop. It was a foolish act with terrible consequences, but Toledo's response was pure Dunblane: he rushed to the scene and announced that he was banning the production and import of fireworks forthwith. `We can't go on losing lives,' he explained. Never mind mere regulation: an entire industry has to be disbanded, and all the jobs which go with it lost, because of one incident. …

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