THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
A toe in the water
If only it were true...

Thoughts about silence

After more than five years of regular, wordy posting, this blog has been on a hiatus for a few weeks. It began because of a personal problem (now happily resolved, I hope), but perhaps it continued for other reasons.

To be honest, my feelings were mixed. I missed the social element; the feedback from those kind enough to take the trouble to comment here. (I hope you have all been well and had a great Summer, by the way). On the other hand, it was a relief to lose one stress in a busy life; that of finding something interesting to write about each day.

I also felt concern it might mean I was losing hope. Hope is the nearest thing we have to an elixir of youth and its loss is a terrible thing. For all our moaning, the political blogosphere is an expression of hope. If what some of us wrote during the Labour years had been completely true, we should not have written it at all. We should rather have trembled silently in fear of a knock on the door in the dead of night. By writing on these subjects we proclaim our faith in a free society and our belief that politics can lead to better things.

Yet the new government (for all the abuse hurled at it by partisans) can scarcely be differentiated from the old. ID cards have been shelved but even the most fanatical Labourites would have found it hard to pay for that project in current conditions. On the other hand the LibCons have used Labour’s odious control orders and have yet - for all their bluster - to repeal one serious restriction on personal liberty. Nor have they abated the government's hectoring about personal life-choices. That they even think they have the right to wag their fingers at their masters marks them as suspect.

Of the parties with a current chance of power, only the Conservatives (when led from the dry wing) can be hoped to give state power back to the people it was stolen from. For all his Big Society (as opposed to Big State) bluster, it is clear the boy David is a wet. He has made no real cuts yet, but even his slowing of the increase in indebtedness is not ideological, but of necessity. If Labour had not already beggared us, who but Toynbee doubts he would now be finishing the job? He may love it more than Gordon Brown (no big claim), but he seems little more attached to free enterprise than - say - Tony Blair (a bigger businessman these days than he is ever likely to be).

After years of hoping for an end to Labour's onslaught on freedom, when faced with such disappointment, there is a temptation to let go. Life is good. My work is as challenging as I could reasonably wish (and perhaps a little more). In leisure hours, family and friends beckon (albeit from afar). When the chance presents, the open road leads to beautiful places. The world awaits, so why crouch over a keyboard? Besides, berating the Labour Party - the greatest enemy the British people have ever known - was one thing. Berating parties who should (in principle) be friends is harder. Many anti-socialist bloggers seem to have weakened their resolve for perhaps no better reason than that. I hoped not to be one of them, but - if I am honest - maybe there was some of that behind my temporary retirement?

At times, as I listen for distant echoes of freedom in the LibCons use of the crippled vocabulary of the Left, I despair. If this blog falls completely silent while I live, it will be because that despair has prevailed. For now, I prefer hope.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Welcome back Tom. I discovered your blog a few days ago via Dick Puddlecote, and I'm enjoying working my way through your "favourite posts" list. I hope you keep posting.

I Albion

Welcome back ,I know how you feel,after thirteen dreadful years,the lot that are in power now, if not worse(they couldn't be)are not much better,but as you say we must just hope,perhaps a hero will come to the top of the pile,sigh.

Bill Primrose


It's very good to see you back in circulation again. I'm sorry to see you feel let down by the lack of change after May's elections. I am still marvelling at how DC and his colleagues managed (a) to get the LibDems on board in a coalition and (b) then managed to get the Vince Cables of this world toned down several pegs. I was fearing for what remains of the British Economy when banker bashing was the order of the day, but am pleased to see in today's Sunday Times that Osborne is considering stepping back from the bonus issue following shots across the bow from HSBC, Barclays, and Stan Chart. None of these banks took money from the taxpayer, and their continued presence in UK is very important for our futures.

Trooper Thompson

I echo those above who welcome you back, and appreciate your wise reflections. If the demands of regular blogging are too much you can always drift around commenting on other blogs, scattering your pearls abroad...

As for the new government, there is no time to waste before sticking the boot in. If you need to convince yourself of this necessity, then look over at the EU battle front and see the stealthy consolidation of the Lisbon Treaty.

One of the few benefits I can see is that the coalition may drive a wedge through what is known as the 'liberal-left', and in doing so, may awaken the first half of this to the liberal heritage they ignore, especially in the area of economics, and let us prevail upon their consciences to be true to their opposition positions on civil liberties.


Good to see you back! :)


I am young and have read your blog religiously. It has had a big impact on shaping my political views which I guess is a success in itself. I also feel your pain over the death of liberty in Britian and the helplessness to do anything about it.

I don't know where you find the time to blog but I do hope you carry on. Currently I am exorcising my frustrations by trying to find an anti-RMT group to become a member of.

We all need a break from time to time. I find it difficult to keep up the momentum while juggling so many other daily tasks and family commitments.


On blogging I think that when it feels like an obligation it can become difficult and a burden.

The best way is to post for you as and when you feel like it, just talking about issues that are important or interesting to you.

The losing hope or why do I bother thoughts link quite closely to the above comments. But we must always bother to speak about what we see or believe, if we do someone will hear, if we don't no-one will hear.

As to the various government options there was never a fag paper to put between them. I found the result quite predictable despite hoping to be proved wrong.



It is a delight to see you posting again, and I will be trying to challenge you to find reason to keep posting. It is not just your efforts to highlight the tyranny that we faced in this country with the last government (and this one) but also many other things that I enjoyed sharing and being challenged about.

I look forward to perhaps challenging you to find some interesting items to share, starting with the great gift of hope, which has been of such great guidance to you, as it has me through some very challenging times of my own recently.


I have been feeling much the same way since May, the fire in the belly to see an end to Labour's Stasi State has just petered out into an exhaustion, yet I see no sign of Con Dem repealing much, just acting in the managerial way I expected them to do.

I had an interesting Lunch today, with a former member of the UKIP NEC, where I tested out my theories that the only way we can get back to a truly Liberal Britain is to fight for a Constitution along the lines of the Swiss 1999 Constitution, that firmly puts the Individual in charge of the State not the other way round.

We sat together in the Convention on Modern Liberty, the best contributions came from the floor with impassioned demands for a new Constitutional Settlement.

I can see this as the focus for all anti socialist writers over the next five years, in the abscence of the venal and corrupt Labour party. We need to write our insurance policy before they come back lead by one of the millionaire Millibands


Please do keep posting Tom, I really enjoy reading your blog


A good day today... I check here daily in the hope of reading your delightfully clearly-expressed thoughts and today, paydirt! :-)

OK, sycophancy over.

I suspect that the problem with the tories and the coalition is that now they're almost exclusively made up of "career politicians" with very little experience of "real life" or business (or being skint!) and therefore there's little to distinguish them from the previous administration which was also largely comprised of "professional politicians".

The whole point, I assume, of being a professional politician is to acquire power, thus it's crucial to get elected and in order to do this the boat must not be rocked too violently. We have a large captive audience in the shape of "the client state" which cannot be offended for fear of the utter catastrophe of "not getting in" at the next election.

I don't hold out much hope of any major changes to the way this benighted country is run.


I was prepared to discount the socialist murmurings of the Cameroons before the election as the sort of thing they (felt they) had to say to get into office.

By now, though, they should have accomplished more (or at least firmly declared the intention of going further). All it would take to balance the books would be to roll spending back to levels seen in the early years of New Labour.

I originally looked hopefully on the Coalition, thinking that the Lib Dems could give cover for slashing the public sector (defusing the "Tory cuts" rhetoric). Unfortunately, the Lib Dems also act as cover against the Tory right for wet Conservatives of the Quisling right, who are broadly content with the status quo.

Dry conservatives will be encouraged to believe that the socialist mask must remain on, no longer to appeal to swing voters, but now to keep the Coalition together. They'll be encouraged to put up with half measures, and wait until the next election ("once the Conservatives win a majority, the real face of David Cameron can be shown"). Fewer and fewer people can convince themselves of this pleasing fiction; Cameron is almost certainly what he says on the tin.

It would be very interesting to see where we'd stand now if Lord Tebbit, rather than David Cameron, were leading the Conservatives.

Our situation now isn't quite as desperate as under New Labour, but it's not much better. And the worst of our financial pain is still to come (probably through inflation). Party X is sickening to behold; and hope is difficult to muster.

With all this, it is great to have you back, Tom.


It's difficult to keep going when the main enemy has been defeated. That the new government is not moving as fast as one would wish does not inspire rage but regret. After the last 13 years even a slight move in the right direction is a sheer delight.

I suspect we are all still issuing a massive sigh that the idiot Brown can do no more damage. Perhaps we have a suppressed feeling that it would be churlish to criticise the new team because, for all their faults, they are not Brown.

Mr Eugenides

Glad to see you back.

I, too, have felt a degree of ennui in recent weeks and months - perhaps because of the change of government, perhaps not. I agree, though, that it's better to keep on going if at all possible.

The comments to this entry are closed.