It's at times of disruption that you can note changes in the national character. I remember the tube and rail strikes of a few years back, when the British tradition of the orderly queue broke down and there were fights at bus-stops, presumably between the young and fit. The old or frail wouldn't really have been equipped for this system of seat allocation. Do people still queue in London ?
Now that you have to put your mobile, laptop and Ipod in your suitcase at an airport ?
"Looting and theft from luggage has increased at airports in the chaos after the terrorist alert."
I see the current system by which prisoners are released after half their sentence is too punitive for our tough Home Secretary.
"The Home Office is drawing up plans to release thousands of prisoners early, to free up cells in overcrowded jails.
Inmates in England and Wales could be released 10 days early under the plans.
The prison system is nearly full and has room for only another 700 inmates - hence plans to extend what is called the "transitional home leave" scheme."
There are parallels here with our energy policy. It was obvious in 1997 that, as the oil and gas ran down, we'd need alternative sources of energy, or else to cut consumption dramatically (don't get me started on Prescott's traffic pledge). But tomorrow was a long way off - why not pander to backbench/activist/Guardian prejudice and close all the nuclear plants ?
Something will turn up.
Silmilarly anyone in the Home Office looking at the stats in 1997 could see the need for a prison building programme. But that would upset the back benches/activists/Guardian. Anyway, crime's caused by a lack of social justice, isn't it ? We're pledged to fix that, so fingers crossed we won't need them.
Tomorrow's here and the prisons are full.
Meanwhile, the collection of sociology grads called the Association of Chief Police Officers are considering calling for the police to be able to hand out punishment without a court conviction. You know, the way they do for parking fines, not filling in a Statutory Off Road Notification, etc.
It's Pelagian government in action.
"Pelagian governments believe in Man’s perfectibility and innate goodness. As this fails to produce the perfect society, so do initially liberal Pelagians tend to turn towards coercion, more laws and greater police powers. Remind you of anything ?"