Let me be clear - I don't care about Damian Green. I've never met him. He's a politician and as I've often said, I doubt the Tories will be any different from Labour. In fact, watching them all yell and scream in Righteous fury about something that's been happening to ordinary people for years is faintly amusing. Or it would be, if it wasn't for the fact that if your correspondence with your MP isn't safe within the walls of Westminster, it isn't safe anywhere. And if an MP can be treated like this, what of the rest of us? Does Cameron realise that the attitudes he let pass unchallenged have just come home to roost - and that we've all had to deal with them for years?
Oh, I've read the Righteous justifications like 'well, what about the cash-for-honours scandal'? Whose Westminster office was raided during that? Nobody's because the Speaker (Betty Boothroyd) and the Sergeant-at-Arms didn't allow it. 'Well, what about...' And so on.
In none of those cases was correspondence between a constituent and an MP taken from the MP's office, to be pored over by 'anti-terrorist' police. It's not just about the Speaker and the Serjeant-at-Arms not knowing their jobs. It's not just about Damian Green. It's about the trust between the public and their elected representatives, and by extension the trust between the public and Parliament. Already threadbare, it has now worn through.
Who now dares complain to their MP about the actions of the police, or the crazed behaviour of many councillors? That MP might also be subjected to such a raid. Can't happen? It just did. The route to conversation with those in power has just closed for the public.
And make no mistake, the public realise this. I'm not talking about the Internet. I'm not talking about rantings on backwater blogs like this one. Even the big-readership blogs like Guido, Devil's Kitchen, Iain Dale, Old Holborn and many others, who might have half-a-million or so visitors every week, are scratching the surface.
I don't know the figures for how many UK homes have the Internet but I bet it's high. Broadband is almost standard with a phone line now. Sky Television, a feature of most of the homes referred to as 'underclass' (although there's another layer below them even the Righteous have forgotten), include broadband for a couple more quid a month. Computers are cheaper than washing machines and even games consoles and mobile phones have internet access. Simple, basic laptops are on sale in supermarkets for less than £150, with wireless networking capability built in.
And yet, few of those online will read the news, fewer read blogs, fewer still read political blogs and fewer than that will care about what they read. Most of them are online for games and free porn. The Righteous know this. It's just another entertainment channel for the proles. Another circus to keep them happy while their world is dismantled around them. Spreading information via the Net is only a first step. Each recipient should be a connection to the outside world - but that hasn't been happening. The rage stops at the screen. The Righteous know this too.
Outside the blogs there are a mass of people who don't care about politics. They vote, if they vote at all, the same way they always did. As their parents did. They don't think about it, they mark X in the same box every time. Because they don't care? No, because they don't realise what voting means.
When they read that those who use prostitutes are to be named and shamed, they don't care. They either don't use prostitutes or make no secret of it anyway. It'll hit a few businessmen - so what? When they read about people fined for overfilling bins, they don't care. They'll just go out at 3 am and put the bags in someone else's bin. Or fling them down the railway embankment. When they hear that the age for buying booze and cigarettes is to rise, they don't care. The underage were getting them illegally before, they'll continue to get them illegally no matter what the age limit. They don't care. Guns now illegal? Don't care. The one they have hidden was already illegal. No difference.
These are people to whom Labour's 3000 or so new laws have made no difference. They really don't care. That's what the Righteous have always failed to realise - that all those laws mean nothing to those who already ignore the existing ones, and who know their way around the system so well they could baffle a top barrister. These new laws serve only to criminalise and alienate the law-abiding middle-class they are used on. Council estates? Pah. There are estates even the police don't dare enter. Can you imagine a council officer turning up to tell someone off for putting their bin out too early? I wouldn't put too much money on him getting out in one piece.
But this new thing, this assault on Parliament, is different. These people ignore the law, but they have morals. They aren't all thieves and vagabonds. They aren't all greasy toothless thugs who fight like dogs over scraps. Most of all, the biggest thing that the Righteous have always ignored, is that they are not all stupid. And they are far from lacking in a sense of tradition and patriotism. Those estates are dangerous places for those who don't live there but within them, there aren't nightly riots. They are policed by the biggest and the hardest and there is a sort-of order. Stay in line, and you'll be okay. Know who you can insult and who you can't. It's pretty damn fascist in there. They are not pleasant places to visit, and they are suspicious of visitors. Oh, and the big hard men don't run the place. There's a smart few, who you won't hear about because they're never in trouble, who tell the big hard men what to do.
To them, being British (English, Welsh, Scottish, whatever) is everything. Everything. They don't know much of British history and they ignore most British laws except when it suits them, but that blind patriotism is unbreakable. The Righteous have tried but that one aspect will not move. The more the Righteous try to force their divisive will on these people, the harder they stick together. And the more suspicious of strangers they become. Some of those places are getting like the walled cities of the Middle Ages, little tribal enclaves where everyone knows everyone and a stranger is identified in seconds. And if they don't like the stranger, well...
The Righteous deal with this by pretending it's not happening. There is no disquiet in the community. Everything is fine. A raid on Parliament is just normal police procedure.
Well, not to those blind patriots it's not. This is something new. This is something that hits the core of their Britishness, the only thing most of them have any pride in. They despise politicians and the police, but the Houses of Parliament are a symbol. And that symbol has just been violated. In Scotland, there's less concern over Westminster, but just suggest that it could equally well happen in Holyrood and watch the attitude change.
The Righteous, complacent in their power, ignore all this. Proper procedures were followed. Go away and bother someone else with your silly fantasies. It is a matter for the police.
The immigrants the Righteous have collected are watching this too. Even more closely than the indigenous. Another thing the Righteous overlook is the reason many of the immigrants are here. Many have fled regimes where rigged ballots, police beating up people in the street and opposition MP's being arrested happen all the time. They don't happen all the time here - but they didn't always happen all the time in those regimes either. Many of those who fled such regimes recall how they started and (whether rightly or wrongly) see those same steps being taken once more. As the Palestinian who runs the local pizza shop (it's what the sign says, but he'll make anything from fish-and-chips to steak Diane if someone wants it) said - 'It gets more like home every day'. And he wasn't smiling when he said it.
The Righteous see nothing. They laugh off such concerns. Which is another thing those immigrants have seen before.
There has been an undercurrent of fury building up in this country for a long time. Invading a building the 'underclass' see as sacrosanct, laughing off the concerns of those who have experienced the result of such steps, is a very big mistake to make.
If the situation is not resolved soon, and satisfactorily, I believe things could turn nasty. The Righteous are the only ones who won't see it coming.
Unfortunately, they're the only ones who can sort it out now.