Political Rant Part 1

Tuesday 8/3/2005

Back to noshblog site (click here)

Diary and Notes

I apologise to any non British people reading this as it concerns our legal system etc. You might want to read on anyway, it could soon happen where you live.

Some weeks ago I had a bit of a rant about the British government hastily moving us towards a 1984 type police state (see 23/2/2005) and since then much has happened. The legislation that allows arrest and detention without trial, the chance to defend yourself or even hear the evidence against you has now been passed by the House of Commons but is having (significant) trouble getting through the House of Lords. You may wish to interpret this as a triumph of democracy and a demonstration that having a revising chamber is a good idea (which I would agree with) but for a republican and a democrat (neither in the American sense) like me, this throws up problems, not least that the only people who were willing or able to prevent this legislation being passed in its entirety were a group of unelected and unrepresentative members of a dying elite who should by rights have been phased out years ago. I have often argued for more democratic representation in our second chamber and would still do so, but it is odd to see the only people willing to both stand by their principles and to actually act on them are these political dinosaurs. We've been saved from the fascism of Darth Vader and the Empire by a tyrannosaurus, a giganotosaurus, three dimetrodons and a gaggle of other assorted extinct reptiles.

In some ways I am not the one to be complaining. I am a middle class, white academic with good prospects. People like me do well regardless of who's in power (apart perhaps from Chairman Mao). I would have done well in Stalinist Russia (scientists were very privalaged) or even Nazi Germany where I would have probably been given a cushy job working on flying bombs or similar. I am not a muslim and as such am unlikely to be directly affected by house arrest etc. If I had an "I'm all right Jack" attitude I would be all right - but I'm not - I am an interfering busybody who wont shut up. I can see parallels between the demonisation of muslims today and the demonisation of the jews in late twenties Germany.

"Outrage!" you shout, "How can you compare legislation which protects our society from terrorism to a deliberate philosophical attack (and later physical attacks) on a religious and ethnic group? How can you compare house arrest to gas chambers?"

It didn't start with gas chambers. It started much smaller. It began with films portraying jews as scheming money grabbers sapping the life from the economy of the country. It began by spreading rumours that jews were dirty and spread disease, it began small, no gas chambers at all.

I don't think at the outset that anyone, even those who were orchestrating the demonisation, were planning what would later happen. All they did was use the jews as a scapegoat for the problems of the day and stir up a little racial and religious hatred.

But this is where things might begin, a small piece of legislation designed to protect everybody from extremists moves us a little further along the path towards the big brother world. We single out one particular group of undesirables who nobody really likes and is willing to defend - but then there will be another and another.

The legislation will begin by being targeted as muslims then the next enemy of the government and then the next. But nobody is willing to speak against it because nobody cares if a few muslims are incorrectly arrested and detained (I do however and I imagine there are other non muslims who do too). But this law is not about muslims, it is about democracy and freedom and the ability of the government to send the police to your house in the dark of night, smash down your front door and drag you away.

There will be no need for evidence of wrongoding. They will be able to do this solely on the strength of an 'assessed threat' by the security forces. The case will be heard a politician behind closed doors and you will never know what your are supposed to have done or have a chance to state your case.

A law this powerful will be used and it will be used often. It gives the government the ability to silence anyone they feel is a threat.

Am I a threat? I wrote this, a direct attack on the government. How long before my insane rantings are seen as a threat to that needs to be dealt with.

And you are reading it.

Sleep soundly my friends, I will continue this rant tomorrow.

Cake Blog

Nelson Slice: I found this at Warren's the bakers (in Exeter). I've never heard of one before but it was quite good. Two layers of shortbread sandwiching a brown sweet mix of somthing, I have no idea what. Similar to the poppy seed filling in a Mohnkuchen, only not made out of poppy seeds.


  • Beef and Pork Calzone
  • Salad


  • Bread flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, minced beef, minced pork, garlic, chilli powder, onions, tomato puree, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, olives, pepperoni, tomatoes, Cheddar cheese (it was all I had in)


  • Make the pizza dough, kneed and leave to rise. Sweat some onion and garlic in a little oil then add the mince and brown. Stir in some tomato puree, a little chilli powder, the herbs, seasoning and a little water and bubble away for an hour. The meat wants to be quite thick. Knead the dough again and roll out into a thin pizze. Spoon onto on half of the pizza some meat, slliced olives, pepperoni, tomatoes and cheese. Fold over and crimp the edges to seal. Place in a hot oven for a few minutes until the bread browns.