Regulate the hairdressers! Too long have they trimmed, curled and straightened with impunity the locks of this fair isle’s people! Britain needs to regulate hairdressers, because who is going to think of the children other than Nia Griffith, UK MP for Llanelli in Wales? Nobody, that’s who! Naturally all people who go to the hairdresser, and all hairdressers themselves, are children. This is a given. The perpetual childhoods we live today are politically enforced from the moment we enter compulsory state schooling. State mandates compelling us all to do this, avoid that, say this, and not say anything that could ever offend anybody are the death of human liberty and the harbingers of decivilisation. As Jeffrey Tucker neatly put it, governments are unravelling civilisation by force.

One would almost suspect that some kind of inflation of paperwork was underway, in parallel with with job requirement inflation, and the common-all-garden economic variety. But this is not new, nor is it unique to the UK. The government already set up a regulatory body for hairdressers, but, like the one for print media publishers, membership of it was and remains entirely voluntary for hairdressers and barbers. You don’t have to sign up to the regulator to operate as a hairdresser. Anybody with the funds can set up shop as a hairdresser, and then be rewarded or punished as the public marketplace decides. Quoth the MP herself;

it remains entirely voluntary to belong to the UK register of qualified hairdressers – a status which can be achieved either through qualification or six years practising as a hairdresser. That’s in contrast to Australia, the USA and most other European countries which already have compulsory registration systems.

It is true that Nia  is of Labour, currently in opposition, and that her party is unlikely to win the election this May. What is worrying is that the difference between Conservative and Labour MP’s and candidates is little more than one of principle campaign financing. The ideological differences are now sufficiently meaningless that the loud arguments between their respective heads, David Cameron and Ed Miliband, every Wednesday afternoon are little more than sound and fury signifying nothing. Plenty of backbenchers in both parties surely are genuine conservatives and socialists first and power-grubbing sociopaths second. But not the frontbenchers, whips and PR advisers who decide what Acts of Parliament do and don’t get a Commons vote.

But could all these paternalistic politicians be a necessary evil after all? Could it be that Griffiths has identified a serious problem with hairdressing itself requiring some kind of intercession? After all;

When things do go wrong, it can be very distressing for the person concerned, and ultimately, if medical treatment is needed, it is likely to be the NHS, namely the taxpayer, who picks up the bill.

It’s clear from the above that Griffith desires a safer, better UK for the collective joy of the collective… somebody. The fact that there is no collective pain or pleasure, collective hate or love, or collective sense perception, militates somewhat against the collectivism entertained by all British statists of the sort that seem to dominate every political party and media outlet in this country including the Conservative Party and the supposedly libertarian Adam Smith Institute. Is there a practical point there, though? The NHS is taxpayer-funded – single-payer – and so taxpayers pay en-bloc for every NHS-funded treatment, including burns from hair straightening tongs. But this is ridiculous, as one can sue for damages in the event of injury anyway.

Indeed, in a civilised society the person who did the burning might pay, either directly or through insurance, for the care required to fix the injuries. And all this is humouring the fallacious idea that compulsory state regulation intrinsically makes an activity safer. It does not.

Obviously Sally Styles of the Hairdressing Council is in favour, as her organisation would be the regulator if Griffith’s idea works out. One-percent of all British labourers are hairdressers! Clearly they are a numerous tribe and becoming moreso. How do the feel about regulation? Are they all bristling in fury? Well, in the same article as Sally Styles above, hairdresser Ken Picton is in favour as well. Should this be surprising? Most likely he wants less competition from hungry upstarts, as regulation will increase barriers to entry. In fact, speaking of barriers to entry, Mark Harper closed a debate among British movers and shakers on hairdresser registration by saying;

The Government believe such matters are often best dealt with by businesses and their representative bodies. They know how to improve standards. That is very effective in a competitive business with low barriers to entry and no reason why people cannot switch very easily

He goes on to say the government has no interest in meddling more than it currently does. So this is a market where the UK seems to have the lightest touch regime in Europe and North America! Maybe that’s why there are so many hair salons and barbers in the UK. So, Leviathan can’t claim every pair of straightening tongs just yet. Long may it last. And long may Nia Griffiths remain unsatisfied in her crusade against entrepreneurship and invention.