Civil disobedience is hot, which is why blogland was fairly unstinting in its outpouring of praise for Nick Clegg’s intended stand against ID cards. Now Huhne has stepped up with an open invitation to court action for saying, effectively “You’re a bunch of corrupt bastards. And you know you are.”
As I said before, gesture politics this ain’t. Neither is promising something they could only deliver in power. They’re opening themselves up to damage in the here and now. Those with subtle minds may wish to point out that Clegg was proposing to break the law (which was the aspect that caused dissent) whereas Huhne only a few days later has offered himself up to due process of law. But I suspect such refinement will escape most people, and a good thing too.
Because for my money this is proper cocking-a-snook anger. This is what people are not used to hearing from politicians. We’re in gallant underdog territory and heading for Robin Hood central. Our michievous Merry Men might be scrapping it out between themselves, but as far as the wider world is concerned, they are two top-flight Liberal Democrats saying interesting, honest, angry things. Much more of this and it’ll amount to a call to arms. We’ll be doing them and the party a disservice if we don’t go out and finger-write their quotes in the dirt on every white van in the land.
Seriously, could these be the opening shots in a winter-long campaign of Liberal fury? she said, daring to dream. There is a story here, a movement, a trend, call it what you will – I know that because I am a bumbling armchair pontificator and even I have spotted it. But the media, as usual, will suddenly decide to run off and play with their willies in some unguessed-at cause just when it is getting interesting, so what can we do to generate the publicity I think this deserves? Any ideas? Is there no stopping our chaps? Will future hustings have to take place via videolink because Nick is tied to the minute hand of Big Ben and Chris is lying down with his arms folded in the path of Gordon Brown? This much we know, I will have a very dirty finger before the day is out.