THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
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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.