page 3 is missing something
"Nonetheless, this affair is bound to filter into attitudes towards compliance with the law. After all, why be quite so accurate in reporting one’s tax affairs, when it is clear that those who pass the laws think it"
What do they think? I think you deleted something by mistake there.
I wholeheartedly agree with the conclusion that we are less likely to abide by the spirit of the law.
The government frequently passes laws that suggest great swathes of the population cannot be trusted (the recent porn law springs to mind, as well as the marijuana classification debacle), when in reality what is needed is a greater understanding of the crimes that preceded these knee jerk laws.
Perhaps they think they can't trust us because they don't trust themselves.
Then there are the data retention laws that are causing such issues at the moment. The database of children, the ID cards, the now defunct centralised database of communications, and the new regulations of what ISPs store about our internet usage and what access police, MI5, etc., have to that data. I'd be a lot happier about the data retention if I could have confidence that the people accessing the data could be trusted not to leave it lying around and that the networks that it pass through have been thoroughly tested for security holes, be they technological or otherwise.
On top of this there is the growing feeling that the government and police can't be trusted with the power that they have because they'll just do something despicable (e.g. MP expenses) or misunderstand what they're meant to be doing (e.g. police confiscating cameras). Add to that they fact the government seem to be actively trying to decrease how much we feel we can trust each other by implying that anything you see that's out of the ordinary could be (read: is probably) a terrorist threat.
By criminalising so much behaviour that isn't actually negatively affecting anyone they're backing us into a corner, and with their recent and on going flaunting of our belief that holders of office should be morally sound they are angering and frustrating us. The public (en mass) is very much like a gorilla, so I can't recommend backing it into a corner and poking it with a stick.