I came out of the blogging closet this weekend. I told my wife, children and a couple of family members about this blog. It was not an encouraging experience. They are, of course, used to my opinions - perhaps even rather bored by them. But the only positive emotion I could detect was a quiet relief that I had someone else to talk to about my political fears - if only (judging by the site statistics) myself.
I admit that I AM finding this a therapeutic exercise. I may come to regret writing that one day - when our new police state rediscovers the benefits of locking opponents away in mental homes rather than bringing them to trial. If I admit I am in need of therapy, perhaps I have made out a prima facie case for them?
Oh, but I forgot, OUR police state won't need to resort to that because it has already abolished the need to bring its opponents to trial.
I don't think I am (yet) of the Bobby Fischer persuasion. I function in everyday life and hold down a job. I find things entertaining and amusing at reasonable intervals. I can sometimes go for several consecutive hours without becoming distressed by the destruction of my nation's ancient liberties. Nor am I sure the last is a good test of sanity. After all, Charles Clarke appears capable of destroying all our liberties without a wince, which scarcely qualifies him as mens sano in corpore sane.
I confess that am inching towards the opinion (not yet fully developed from a legal point of view, but hey that didn't stop Tony invading Iraq) that Britain's government is no longer legitimate. Rousseau's theory that there was a "social contract" between government and governed which limited the government's rights is the basis for this idea.
For example, our ancestors gave up to the state their rights to protect themselves and their families. This happened to a more extreme degree in Britain than elsewhere, since our State has a monopoly of the use of armed force. It has recently also developed a penchant for prosecuting citizens who are too aggressive in dealing with burglars.
The outline argument for illegitimacy (comments from lawyers and philosophers welcomed) is that Britain's government has broken the social contract by destroying fundamental rights. When our ancestors accepted that the state would take over the role of protecting them from assailants, they hardly expected that it would take powers to bang them up without trial in supposed pursuit of that goal.
I think there is a case to be made here but, to be honest, I am reluctant to pursue such a line because it certainly WOULD sound bonkers to a casual passing reader. Reading that sentence over, it seems shamefully weak. Let that pass for now. Let's just say the illegitimacy argument needs more thought.
It's all a bit moot anyway. English judges tend to be from the "American Realism" school of jurisprudence which holds (to oversimplify radically) that a law is a law if there is a government capable of enforcing it as such. (By that argument, of course, since no attempt is made to enforce the law against it, burglary is perfectly legal in Britain).
It remains to be seen to what extremes of thought I may be driven by Attila Blair and Ghengis Clarke. For the time being I shall range within the parameters set by the excellent speech by Brian Sedgemore MP (see earlier posting). For so long as I do that, I am only mad in the sense of "very annoyed", and not yet in the sense of "barking".
PS: I am pleased to see that Howard Flight MP is taking legal advice on the Conservative Party's rights to prevent his running again as a Conservative candidate in his Arundel & South Downs constituency. It is a story to be followed with great interest.