Monday, September 14, 2009

Sam and Boris

Boris Johnson, politician and classical scholar, writes today of his namesake Samuel. It is an affectionate piece, and rightly so.

One quotation struck me particularly:-

"How small of all that human hearts endure
That part which laws or kings can cause or cure."

That gets to the nub of so many of the complaints that I and others have about this Government's legislative legacy. Many of Her Majesty's subjects while living, on the whole, a better life than anyone who has occupied this island in the past, suffer upsetting and sometimes devastating problems, most of which cannot be cured by the passing of a law or the promulgation of a Statutory Instrument. Parliament could not pass any law that would come close to improving the lot of those at the bottom of the social heap because their problems arise mostly from an internal, moral and spiritual vacuum.
It's a big subject, and there is no easy answer, but the good Doctor spotted many of the questions for us.
I am often accused by those who imagine themselves to be of the of the retributive tendency of being a 'bleeding-heart liberal'. Of course they do not know me at all; I have long subscribed to Dr. Johnson's view that
If a madman were to come into this room with a stick in his hand, no doubt we should pity the state of his mind; but our primary consideration would be to take care of ourselves. We should knock him down first, and pity him afterwards

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