Times of Transition: A United Kingdom?

As we accelerate through these rapidly changing times towards another general election in the uk, it’s clear that the idea of national identity is a crucial topic for re-evaluation.

It’s almost impossible for us to clearly discern what the intentions were that originated the ideas of the United Kingdom and Great Britain.  A conversation about this subject can quickly become divisive.  There are those who think that the English culture is based on the pure principles of personal autonomy, mutual respect and justice… there are others who are convinced this was nothing more than an early and extremely successful form of propaganda carried out by those with the greatest concentration of money and power. Continue reading Times of Transition: A United Kingdom?

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Positive Law

Law Is a Negative Concept

From the era of the political pamphlet: The Law by Frédéric Bastiat

A little taster:

“The harmlessness of the mission performed by law and lawful defence is self-evident; the usefulness is obvious; and the legitimacy cannot be disputed.

As a friend of mine once remarked, this negative concept of law is so true that the statement, the purpose of the law is to cause justice to reign, is not a rigorously accurate statement. It ought to be stated that the purpose of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is injustice, instead of justice, that has an existence of its own. Justice is achieved only when injustice is absent.”

Reply from the Naked Prisoner

I’ve just received a response from Stephen Gough.  Recently I was moved to hear about the ongoing incarceration of the Naked Rambler who has been in prison for over ten years now, three in solitary confinement, with immediate arrest following each release because despite warnings, he immediately undressed on principle.  He has even removed all his clothes in court to defend the right to be naturally naked.

The pictures above show how time and incarceration have affected him.  I wrote to him in prison and today I feel moved to have received a reply… excerpts of which I include here:

Dear Ian,

Thanks for your letter.

Yeah, it’s amazing what you find out about a country, or indeed a person, when you put their words or reputation to the test.  My eyes have been opened for sure.

What I’ve come to realise in this little adventure is… the problem is very simple: people are just not being honest.  You couldn’t get much simpler, could you?  It’s something we encounter everyday.  It is not complicated.

I’m trying to think whether I am being too simplistic.  And I don’t think I am.  Of course, to be honest we’ve got to be conscious; and by ‘conscious’ I mean ‘present’ or ‘self-aware’.  We need to have the courage to face whatever truth may transpire – because if we haven’t been honest, more than likely, we’ve been avoiding the truth for a reason.  We may not, for instance, want to know the truth, or, at least, that’s what we may be telling ourselves.  Yet, I think, we all know deep down that the truth, wherever it may lead us, will lead us in a direction that is best for us (and everyone else) in the long-term.  Why wouldn’t any sane person want to know it?

As I have found out, this dishonesty is everywhere: ‘high’ or ‘low’ – not that I think people in high places are necessarily any better than the people lower down the ranks.  Nothing I’ve seen or experienced tells me any different.

I did have hopes that the ECHR (European Court of Human Rights) would be more objective; and, therefore, honest, but they have proven themselves no different to anyone else.  I thought that because I imagined being more removed from the pressures that any controversy might bring that they’d take more risks.  Evidently not. (I had a case rejected by the ECHR on 28th Oct last month [2014], in case you didn’t know).

What can you do but tread your own path?  The consequences of joining in with the insanity is yet more insanity.  And who knows you might inspire others to choose differently, also.  Maybe not.  But there is only one sane choice and you’ve got to make that choice whether others are with you or not.  Someone has got to make the first move, and if you are following your truth, others will join you eventually.  Of that I am sure.  Do it for love.

Love, Steve.  xxx

If you should wish to write I’m sure it would be appreciated:

Stephen Gough, A3825CT
A Wing (A2-21)
HMP Winchester
Romsey Road
Winchester
SO22 5DF