I have taken a break from the world for a week. I cruised the single-track roads and waiting smilingly in the passing places of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. I drank whisky, ate poor food and looked at magnificent scenery. I pictured my ancestors (for, despite Salmond's history-pokery, we are all one people) cruising those sea lochs in renamed Viking longboats and scratching a living from a landscape the fertility of which varies inversely with the beauty of the shapes into which it is arranged. It was great.
I did cast an eye over an occasional newspaper. Some fusspot civil libertarians were jeopardising the nation's safety, apparently, but the main issue of the hour was whether or not our political leaders really DO like cheap pasties from some out-of-control Geordie pie-shop. Oh, and whether it had been sensible for some politician to give filling stations the excuse to rack up the price of my motor car's food.
Then I got home and read the blogs. No wonder the politicians constantly hatch schemes to bring citizen journalists under the same 'regulation' as the dying, old-fashioned, corrupt press. The pie shop barely rated a mention and the bloggers were largely unmoved by the 'petrol shortage'. What warped priorities are these?
In opposition, where soon they will repose again, the Coalition was - if not red-hot - at least pinkly-flushed about civil liberties. Labour's refreshingly honest, open, totalitarian-with-a-brave faced-schemes to monitor all citizens at all times lest they act in their own interests were, then, unacceptable. Like most honest citizens who ask little more than to be able to keep the bulk of the proceeds of their own labours and to be free to spend their lives as they wish, both the 'Conservatives' and the 'Liberal Democrats' (note the use of quotation marks as wash-tongs to hold soiled concepts at arm's length) were agin 'em. Trust the people, they cried, in the hope of reciprocation.
But now they are in power and the world is a different place. Or at least the British state is, now that its chain of command ends with them. The French have their own notion of what is the 'English vice' but we are self-aware enough to know that it is, and has always been, hypocrisy. We (not just the English ourelves but the whole Anglo-Saxon world that bears our DNA) are hypocrites to a man.
Who would have guessed that these pink-faced products of old money were the most vicious Englishmen of all? Let's have the other lot back. At least while they rape our liberties, they won't pretend to love them. Such is the fun to be had - once in power - in bossing others around that there apears to be no option to elect any that DO love our liberties.
In the meantime, here are some of the more sterling attempts to do what I should perhaps have been doing when I was having fun. If you don't want to live in a world where the Greggs' pasty is at the centre of political life, I suggest you visit these sites and bookmark or RSS them. Oh, and the picture of my favourite view in the world is to soothe you as you read this stuff.
and the BBC's take on it (more regulations needed to regulate the regulators)