THE LAST DITCH An Englishman returned after twenty years abroad blogs about liberty in Britain
Pandemic, or catastrophic government failure?
An hour well spent

A disappointed idealist speaks

The Misses Paine once said "Dad is not a cynic. He's a disappointed idealist." This may be so. Equally, it could be said that a man who reaches his 60s without becoming somewhat cynical has simply not been paying attention. There are some things in Britain I can still trust. The way the Common Law develops itself quietly, sensibly and practically (when not over-ridden by statute) for example. The jury system, for another. I would still trust a panel of British jurors over any tribunal known to Man if I were charged with a crime of which I was innocent.

Sadly I can't trust Parliament any more. John Bercow saw to that. Nor can I trust British Democracy more generally, alas. The past few months have shown us – even more than the long years of defiance of the popular will over Brexit - that the self-selected, self-serving members of the permanent apparatus of the state are far more important in practice than our elected representatives.

Our rights were not quashed because our politicians exercised scientific judgement. People who act on science they don't understand are every bit as blindly faithful as the religious and our MPs are a particularly ignorant bunch. Not only, by any means, on matters scientific. They possess precious little knowledge of anything useful and usually no great experience of the real world. Apart from a brief honourable spell as a DJ, my own MP (for example) has never received a penny of income freely paid under contracts with people who had other choices. Before she was a Marxist trying to foist Communism on us by stealth in Parliament, she was a tax-funded sociology lecturer trying to indoctrinate our impressionable young.

We have had one scientifically-knowledgeable Prime Minister (the first major political figure in the world to pay serious attention to the problem of climate change by the way) and she is now universally despised by the liberal arts-educated bureaucracy and most of her political successors. Even to say her dread name with approval is to mark yourself out as an untermensch. There have been many times since the pygmies drove her out of office when I have wished she was in Number 10 still. Never more so than in the past few months.

Lockdown (a horrible euphemism drawn from the prison system) happened because the apparatchiki of the Deep State decided it was necessary to close the useful parts of society. They have deprived the productive citizens who pay for everything – private and public, of their livelihoods, because they saw an opportunity to reassert their power after their embarrassing setback at the peoples hands over Brexit. They saw the chance to take an extended holiday on full pay from jobs (often non-jobs) that already pay more (on average) than those of the productive and which yield pensions substantially greater than those the private sector taxpayers who pay them can ever dream of. "Serve them right", our Deep State masters no doubt thought while trashing our lives, "for we are their moral superiors because of our [well-paid, over-pensioned] lives of 'public service'". They service us, in my personal view, more in the agricultural sense than any other.

My respect for the teaching profession in principle is great. No more important group of workers exists in a well-organised society. I personally owe a great deal to one or two conscientious teachers among the throng of idlers, wasters, lead-swingers and intellectual under-achievers who staffed my bog-standard comprehensives. But it would take a greater idealist than I have ever been to keep on rose-tinted spectacles now in viewing British teachers. They have shown themselves (with honourable exceptions who should really find a profession with worthier colleagues) to have absolutely no concern about the education or welfare of the young people in their charge. They have used COVID 19 both as an excuse to idle and a political stick with which to beat a government they consider to be their political enemy. "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach" was always (I thought) a rather unfair assessment. Now it seems generous. Those who can't be arsed, teach, might be closer to the mark.

I made some of these points in conversation with a fellow-photographer at a shoot I attended today – pointing out that Woodstock and the Isle of Wight Festival were staged, the worlds economies continued to function and social and sexual lives were unaffected globally during the just as deadly Hong Kong Flu pandemic of the Sixties and that the UK death toll this year will likely be greater from untreated cancers and other serious diseases because of the "save the NHS" strategy than from COVID 19 itself. "It's one of those situations," he opined, "when the politicians can't do right whatever they choose." He has a point. The cynic in me agrees and even perhaps feels sorry for our politicians. They have, after all, seen voters (scared senseless by outrageous propaganda from Deep State agencies everywhere) back the apparatchiki in opinion polls. The Great British Public is, it seems, a bunch of submissives clamouring for more not less of a spanking from their government. The battered idealist, from some deep crevasse in my soul, cries out that leadership should still be a thing and that they could have stood up to their advisors – if they only had a single ragged principle to their sorry names.

I cringe now as I remember all the times I told colleagues, clients and friends in the post-Communist countries where I worked for twenty years that "Brits would never accept" the various impositions that their governments, administrations and police (conditioned by decades of totalitarianism) were still inclined to attempt. All my proud talk of "yeoman spirit" and the ghost of Hampden, seems to have been so much embarrassing nonsense now as I angrily watch my fellow-citizens drop all claims to freedom while clamouring for more discipline from stern Father State. The only winners here will not be us or our politicians but the staff of the state apparatus that rumbles on regardless of our votes. Unless a party emerges that promises to do to the entire state apparatus what Ronald Reagan did to America's air traffic controllers, I shall probably not be voting again. It's not a matter of not encouraging the politicians. It's just recognising that – as things stand in modern Britain – they don't matter.


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Thanks for that. Interesting stuff.


Hi Tom,

I've just dipped into the ditch again to catch up on your views and those of your correspondents and thought that this short video is an interesting perspective on pessimism ("Dad is not a cynic. He's a disappointed idealist." - or rational optimism) and given that it is about 10 years old it is very much about our present times ...


Indeed Tom, and the same would be the case if we wanted to become MPs, the current party machines would to borrow a current phrase cancel us.

Anyone with an ounce of common could smell a rat when Blair made it so hordes of youngsters totally unsuited went to university, instead of entering the workforce and learned decent trades and a work ethic.

Those that have learned trades and earned their reputations through good work and complete reliability in whatever field they specialised in are earning themselves better lives overall than many of those who went the university route.

So many youngsters conned.


Until we purge the educational establishment, which has long been infiltrated by enemies of liberty, there will no instilling of anything but division and mutual hatreds intended to weaken and undermine a free society. If you or I decided to become teachers or university lecturers (qualified though we may be) do you suppose there is any chance of our getting past the gatekeepers? A purge of educationalists would be a beginning but who would replace them, given generations of indoctrination in the field?


"Brits would never accept"

Interesting how welcoming British people are these days to their own ordered subserviance, the current too convenient by far covid farce the perfect example.

Take heart though, there's till some backbone to be found out there, as the results of a long pressured change from above regarding personal surveillance where i work has resulted in my colleagues and i winning.

An old manager told the company when they started down this route that there was no way we would accept these changes, he was right.
I'm rather pleased we stood firm, what was proposed was a step too far, though we had skills and years of experience in our favour so not as easy to replace as others in similar industries would find.
We are an older workforce though, in other companies staffed by younger, often with higher proportion of foreign, staff, they offered no resistance to these changes being easily divided and ruled and the companies walked all over them.

Now how to instill some backbone into the general population.


For much of my life lawyers were exempted from jury duty. When that rule changed, I was abroad and unavailable. Now I am retired, respectable and soigné, I suspect my former professional colleagues would object to me on sight so I may never serve. The late Mrs P1 however, was a stern critic of everything (and everyone except her children). She served on a jury in a drugs case. Her fellows included a Premier League WAG, a local tradesman, an unemployed person and some respectable salarymen and women. They were people who had never met but they took their responsibility seriously and the more educated helped the less so, and the more commonsensical helped the more educated. She said (and such praise – if you were not her offspring – was as rare as unicorn excrement) that it was the most impressive thing she had ever seen. Particularly when the family of the accused attempted some intimidation in the car park as the first day of the case ended. The jurors to a man and woman (having reported the matter to the clerk) decided that this was a practical indication of guilt! That's not something a trained lawyer could ever do, let alone a judge. It's the kind of thing that makes the jury system one of mankind's greatest inventions. The CPS barrister however was among the least impressive people Mrs P1 had ever encountered. I have blogged before as to why forming the CPS was one of the worst political errors of my lifetime. In fairness to her, all the lawyers she knew were my City of London colleagues so her critical bar was set high, but even so she said the lady in question was "pathetic, disorganised and demotivated." Incidentally, if you don't *want* to serve, turn up with military-style polished shoes and a Daily Telegraph. As part of my training as a young defence lawyer (before life in the City beckoned) I was trained to use precious unexplained juror objections on such people. My late father in law (a leftist, who would have acquitted the Krays to spite a posh judge) took my advice on this and was discharged by the judge after four defence lawyers had objected to him. Little did he know I had offered the advice to ensure he didn't acquit any Krays!


Not sure that I can agree with you about the jury system other than that it might be the least worst option: I'm not confident that the majority of my fellow citizens have the ability to concentrate on the ins and outs of a trial and to arrive at the correct verdict. Does the judge try to do this for them (?) - in which case the judge becomes the jury!
Are our politicians now irrelevant, do you think, because they and the Deep State now really answer to a higher power, namely, the supranational bodies of the UN, WEF and WHO? Out of the EU frying pan and into the truly globalist fire......


Yes Brendan is sound. There are many sound voices, but none of them are heard in the Deep State. Why? The most basic problem is that decent people simply don't aspire to live as parasites on their fellow-men while bossing them about. Those who want such roles should never be allowed to fill them. I could not sleep at night knowing that every penny I received as income had been taken from my fellows by force so there is literally no chance of finding anyone like me in Whitehall. An evil system cannot be made to work morally, no matter whom we elect. The State needs to be so small that, if it annoys us, it can be kicked under the sofa. I am not sure there's much hope of that when our fellow-citizens seem to crave more not less authoritarianism. Our only hope is that it doesn't work. It never has and it never will. Opposition grows as it progresses but timing is all. If it's not resisted before it controls all (as 20th Century history shows quite graphically) several generations can be lost to it.

David Bishop

That should be "INcompetent". Duh!

David Bishop

Like MarkC, I can fault barely a word you write. I would say only that while Mrs T did initially express concern about global warming, she changed her mind later – sensibly so, given the complete failure of any of the climate caterwaulers’ clamorous predictions of doom since then.

As you say, we live in dispiriting times. We are not entirely alone though. Among many other sensible voices, you might well have seen that Brendan O’Neill at Spiked, in his usual trenchant style, very much agrees with your point that the ‘lockdown’ (a term as ugly as the concept) is being promoted with glee by the deep state and all its hangers-on (and there are hordes of these ‘public service’ parasites) to punish us dim and evil Brexiteers who had the temerity to vote ‘Leave’:

What has saddened me the most is not so much Boris the Buffoon than the craven capitulation of so many in the UK to his incoherent, inconsistent and downright authoritarian alter ago. Churchillian? Beyond risible. I’ve just said as much in an email to my MP, a Conservative. She has spoken out firmly against lockdown, but is nowhere near the tiny inner circle that apparently makes all the decisions, so I’m not hopeful of any change.

What an competent shower this government is, and as you say, the deep state is taking full advantage.


You’re too kind. Thank you. Margaret liked to quote “Norman and Saxon” to Mitterrand back in the day apparently.


I can't disagree with a word of that, Tom. If required to summarise how I view the current mess and my opinion of it - and if I had your skill with words - I'd be proud to have produced a summary of this sort.

I'm not trying to be obsequious. I've arrived here in my mid-sixties and found that all the characteristics I'd grown to associate with this country in terms of calm tolerance, determination, courage and a hearty contempt for pomposity and officialdom (but I repeat myself) have evaporated, replaced by the clamouring of entitled, spoiled, under-educated East Enders viewers and other unpleasant products of the BBC's Social Engineering Department, Hello magazine, Facebook, Twitter and the like.

Leadership is nowhere to be found amongst our political leaders; it's been buried away amongst the hangers-on of Whitehall who simply pull the strings. It's depressing and immensely saddening that we've come to this.

I'm not really a poetry buff, but there are a few I like. Some, I should be (but am not) ashamed to say are by Rudyard Kipling, derided as racist, patriarchal and evidently, a committer of all manner of sins, but an accessible storyteller with a good rollicking style. "Norman and Saxon" nicely sums up the English and our differences, now vanishing. It would be nice if a copy could appear in the inbox of every EU official.

Dr. Sok

Shit's just got real, real. Acquiescence is not an option.


If guilty I would plead so. So the issue would never arise. 


Just wondering, Tom. Would you also trust the jury system were you guilty of the charge?

Lord T

Can't disagree with anything really. Very disappointed but not surprised about Boris the Buffoon and you would be surprised about the British. Most just get on with it and ignore the rules. We need to be more like them.

However, I do believe that you should vote. Just pick the one who is not in a big party or the one who is promising the big shakeup. Just not the big two or the third small one.

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