We hear much of human rights, freedom of speech, equality, gender neutrality and many other social matters that assail our 21st century lifestyle. What we don't hear anything of is the right of individuals to express themselves as they wish, their opinions, viewpoints and indeed their opposition to the status quo. In some areas there is good reason to disallow publicly declared opinions and sentiments if these are inflammatory to the general order of society but there are many other instances where that freedom of expression is curtailed by virtue of our obsession with being seen to be politically correct at all times. This isn't how a free and democratic society should feel obliged to behave - the very essence of democracy is that there should be fundamental freedoms to express, oppose, criticise and challenge not just the status quo, establishment or any other contestable body but also the counter views of other social groups or individuals. Our history should have taught us that such freedoms of expression have been hard won over the centuries past where brutality, dismissal and even excommunication and execution have accompanied any expression that conflicted with that of the powerful. We are now in an era of social upheaval where gender recognition, opportunity, reward and status are all 'hot-potatoes' with government interventions and regulatory proposals dangerously interfering with the democratic rights of the individual. We all hold variations of viewpoint on just about everything and democracy should allow - without prejudice - the right and freedom of individuals to express that without rancour or belittlement - the sole exceptions being those related to national security or the good order of the state. As the PM once declared - '...let us have smaller government rather than overbearing government'.
The story of the 78 year old pensioner who defended his home and killed a thief when his home was invaded by burglars and who has been arrested (and recently bailed) under an accusation of murder is astonishing. It makes me wonder whether the very poor efforts of the CPS and police are mainly on the side of the criminal and not in favour of the poor soul who must have been terrified to find two intruders thieving from his home. I support the pensioner. To have the right to defend life and property from intruders is also a fundamental right - that one of the intruders was killed should not reflect upon the pensioner - that individual had no legal right to be where he was and that is the risk the criminal takes. If the law supports criminality in this way then we have become barking mad in this country.
On the same theme we are now describing the eruption of gang related killings - particularly in London - as a mafia inspired spread of criminality across the capital where drug, human and weapons trafficking 'business' is the source. It no doubt also occurs on less publicised levels elsewhere in Britain. That most of these 'business' activities seemingly originate from Eastern European migrants to this country we must ask ourselves what it is we wish to be, how we display ourselves to the rest of the world and how we may continue to tolerate criminality on this ever expanding scale - be it from a national, state directed initiative or the malpractises of individuals and groups engaged in gang criminality. The short answer is that we should not tolerate any of it at all. We should have armed forces, police, and security facilities that have the resource for the job and given the freedoms to deal with the problem without the nanny panderings of the righteous brigade interfering with the progress and actions of eradicating these cancers from our society. We are bad enough as a society without the unpleasant excesses of foreign gangs adding to it. Give the military, police and security services the right tools - and leadership - and let them get on with the job.
Putin is wriggling on the end of the line with almost conciliatory talk of 'putting the Skripal incident behind us'. He is militarily powerful without doubt and could obliterate most of us on a whim. But what would be the point of wiping out everyone who disagrees with the Kremlin ? They are the very folk who enable Putin to trade, earn foreign currency and spend it on bombs and bullets. Without the West, Putin has nothing. It is clear he doesn't like us, but rest assured, the villain needs us.
On politics, I can only smile when I listen to Vince Cable declaring that the LibDems are making a comeback. In times past I've been quite impressed by some of Mr Cable's utterances but as leader of the LibDems he has become something of a very optimistic and naive political presence. Retire, Mr Cable - you've done quite enough, thank you.
As for the Labour Party and Mr Corbyn, what can be said ? He bumbles from one disaster to another and does nothing in-between. He may have visions (most of his thinking is visionary, we might think) of some radical reformation in British politics but he has no idea what such a reformation ought to look like. As a consequence he does nothing sensible. As another consequence he lets the government get an easy ride through the parliamentary process. That is not what an opposition party should allow.
And to allay any fears that Bristling Brock favours the Tory machinery of government, fear not any further - old BB has a healthy suspicion of the antics of our governance just as much as he does for other pretenders who might wish to try their hand at it.