THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
My week in a single graphic
Of sheep and distemper

Of sheep and cyclists

Traffic and why "I Hate Cyclists" :: A Very British Dude.

A few friends have flatteringly complained that I don't blog enough now. I occasionally try to exert myself with my old enthusiasm, but it's gone. There's no denying it.

I miss morning news discussions with the late Mrs P. She was a woman of strong and stimulating opinions. As we grazed the online newspapers and blogs in bed of an early morning, she often gave me an angle of attack to a post. This was as much her blog as mine.

I find it beyond unstimulating to be back in Britain. There is such a very limited spectrum of opinion here. Surrounded by sheep too docile to bleat out of turn, it feels extreme even to suggest there is some better way of living than time-share enslavement.

When I lived in Russia and China I kept quiet about local politics out of courtesy to my hosts. I seem to have fallen into the same approach here under the sheer weight of apathy. The neglect of their civil rights by the British - who only ever seem to get excited when demanding others' freedoms be repressed - is an insult to the brave peoples I once lived among.

I miss the hope of the Labour days. Not the hope that they would ever cease (they won't) to be freedom-hating miserablists, but the hope that one day change might come. The only change provided by the current government is in the tone of Polly Toynbee's screeching.

The British public just doesn't care about civil liberties. My concerns are - I now see - entirely eccentric. My greatest recent blogging "success" was the massive reaction to (essentially) a post about bad parking. Readers, if you think that's more important than habeas corpus, write your own bloody blog posts. I am not your bitch.

Then there's the attitudes of my fellow-Brits to the joys of my life. Forget about the publicity-hungry irrelevancies among our politicians calling for lower speed limits when the ones we have were set when an Austin Seven would probably take longer to stop from 20mph than I can stop from 120. Even the often-sensible Jackart went on an anti-driver rant over at his place yesterday. I thought my heart would stop in despair at the words

Sooner or later, cars will drive themselves and the problem will be moot.

Can he really not understand the pain that thought inflicts? The motor car is the very sign and symbol of personal freedom. Does he not remember the feeling of joyous liberation when first free to drive? It is no coincidence that the only flickering evidence of any zest for life amid the BBC's routine suicide advocacy is 'Top Gear.'

Even the ultimate authoritarian, God (if He exists), appears to understand that the possibility of sin is essential to the existence of virtue. If I am ever - God forbid - moved about the place in a legally-compliant motorised wheelchair steered by Google, He will know that in my secret sinning soul I am still among the Ferraristi. In my heart, the dull electric whirr of tyrranical misery will be the strident poetry of a V8. Madness that might be but what, pray, would be the attraction of sanity?

Jackart speaks suavely (if not persuasively) of...

the kind of a**ehole who thinks buying a BMW is something other than the behaviour of a c**t God knows what vile words he will have for me. I shall bear them as a badge of honour. I am planning a run to Scotland at the end of this month to provide stimulus to its flagging economy via its gas stations. I understand that's where he hangs out. He owes me a pint for spoiling my morning. He can buy it for me, as long as he's not wearing spandex.