The difference is that here, taxation is not the only form of entertainment the government is kind enough to provide us with. Her Majesty's fools and jesters have surpassed themselves:
Senior clerics were fuming yesterday over Government regulations giving churches and cathedrals until July 1 to post "no smoking" signs at their entrances.
Bishops and cathedral deans warned that the "nanny state" rules were unnecessary and would deface their buildings when it was almost unheard of for someone to light up in the pews.
The Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, said: "This is another example of the aggressive nanny state. The whole thing is stark staring mad."
The good Bishop would probably be shocked to learn that I think there are too many old church buildings in England and I would love to see most of them bulldozed and replaced by ... say ... fuel stations, which look much better than churces. But why not keep a few of them,
especially when they serve as such eloquent monuments to the smallness of God in comparison to the greatness of Man. And this is where I completely agree with the Bishop--that forcing them to display "no smoking" signs is the craziest example of a nanny state running amock.
What does the government have to say about this?
A Department of Health spokesman said the Government was anxious to work with religious organisations to ensure that their responsibilities under the law were clear.
Jawohl, it's all very clear now.