…is washing over me.
In the last couple of days I’ve come to the point of beginning an evaluation of what it means to be a citizen of this country, and whether that is something of which I should any longer be proud. I’m rapidly coming to think that the answer is “No”.
Monday’s Royal Proclamation by Archbishop Bliar that the government had, “won the argument on ID cards” was the first thing that made me gag. This was the political equivalent of a seven-year old child hearing something that he doesn’t like and proceeding to ignore it be sticking his hands over his ears and shouting “la la la” as loudly as he can. Except in this case it worked and the Commons overturned the Lords’ amendments.
If this were not bad enough, suddenly Gordon Brown has sidled out of the woodwork and has agreed to support the government’s position. Cynics (of which I am one) may point out that The Holy Tony will be gone by 2008, when the system is introduced, leaving poor old Gordon to preside over the expensive, messy steaming pile of ordure this scheme will inevitably become. And that’s before the possibility of public protest is even considered. I seem to remember that a great many people sitting on the government benches right now were sitting opposite looking awfully self-righteous and indignant when The Poll Tax was introduced back in the late 1980s. Those same people may have supported civil action and would have watched the riots that broke out at the time. I wonder how they may react to the same thing happening if people protest about being subjected to a tax on their own identity.
And tonight, doubtless, the government whips will strongarm its craven and supine cohorts into falling behind the party line on the Terrorism Bill. The truly depressing thing is that the same lie is being peddled here as in the US: only by being strong can we fight the menace of terrorism. But this is not strength, it is weakness of the very worst kind: weakness masquerading as strength. We are surrendering to those who fight against us by divesting ourselves, bit by bit, the rights and freedoms we hold most dear. These are the values that made this country what it was: freedom; understanding; tolerance; respect for the rule of law and the opinions of others. Instead now all we have left is fear, paranoia and suspicion, marshalled by the harrying, smug, strident tones of Tony Blair.
If I believed there were a God, I’d say now: God Help us all.