I dislike the Party Conference Season, not least because it showcases pushy politicians in grisly surroundings seeking adulation and applause by promising the crazed party faithful deeply questionable legislation. (At least the Nuremberg rallies took place in spaces made unintentionally amusing by their mutated-Deco architecture.)
Theresa May, one of those hoping to lead the Conservative Party after David Cameron is knifed for losing the next election, wants to go down in history as the one who thumped the Islamic 'extremists'. So she has just promised legislation outlawing Thoughtcrime ... well, at least the crime of daring to express ones views. If she gets her way, it is to be made illegal to express 'extremist' views which might cause "harassment, alarm, or distress" to others.
As we all know, the aggressively ideological section of the homosexual community does a very good line in feeling hurt and Distress and outraged victimhood when faced with any expression of views which goes against its own dogmas ... I mean the sort of people who get kicks out of taking to court proprietors of guesthouses who decline to give double beds to same-sex couples, or cake-makers who decline to bake their 'wedding' cakes.
A populist desire to thump the Islamists is, in itself, a distinctly iffy basis for legislation. Thumping them with legislation which will, undoubtedly, eventually, probably sooner rather than later, be used against Catholics (and Orthodox and Evangelicals and Orthodox Jews) is deeply worrying. We would become a country like Vietnam, in which only an expurgated version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church could be published.
Constitutional reform is never off the British political agenda. I pray for the preservation of that delightful anomaly, the House of Lords. I can imagine a situation in which Their Lordships might be the only bulwark against such deeply anti-libertarian projects as those envisaged by May and Cameron. Politicians who are free to ignore party discipline and who never need to trim their actions in order to secure re-election are the best sort of safeguard against ideological tyranny driven by populist hysteria.