Monday, March 28, 2005

Is blogging bonkers?

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.

5 comments:

Cynic said...

Although I tend to agree with most but not all of what you say, can I ask what, in your opinion, Is the best way to deal with potential terrorists, without risking ongoing intellagents.

Tom Paine said...

Thanks for commenting. Other countries manage to protect their intelligence agents and sources while not insisting that their evidence override a defendant's rights to a fair trial. Judges can hear evidence "in camera"; "D-Notices" can be used to control the release of details in the press and we can change the rules of evidence so as to admit wire-taps. That should do it.

Albion Blogger said...

Regarding coming out of the closet: my wife knows I write but few other people do. The difficulty for me is that my views tend not to follow the more politically correct dogma that permeates all politics in this country. Which then leaves me wide open to interpretations which I would rather not be made about me by friends and family.

As for letting my work colleagues know about this - forget it... My team know I'm very conservative but if the union saw my Blog, gawd help me.

As for the suspected terrorists, well, they were mainly foreign nationals I think that maybe it would have been simpler to give them an outline of the case against them then deport them. Personally I find it horrible to think of people being sent to their country where torture and, maybe, death awaits them. But it's not for the British state to be concerned about their likely treatment in their own countries - even more so if it transpires they're wanted there for similar crimes we suspect them of having committed here. If they were aware that deportation was a live risk for them then maybe that would curtail their activities here.

Of course New Labour are illegitimate. When you hand over the decision-making process of your country to a foreign power - the EU - you are guilty of treason.

AB

Tom Paine said...

I am sure you are right, AB. I mentioned blogging to our head of marketing - she knew nothing about it - and her immediate reaction was "Oh God, you don't do it do you?" I told her I did - under a pseudonym - and she was not to worry about it, but I am sure she will. Mum's the word from now on. I am not sure if this blog can make a difference, but it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness etc. I really feel Britain is in trouble and in my small way I would like to do something positive.

Albion Blogger said...

Well keep doing your positive thing. All resistance - even our relatively small efforts - combine to make something larger. The only problem is that we often preach to the converted...

AB