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Daniel Johnson: Parliament is supposed to be the guardian of liberty, but it seems rather that its members have been taking liberties. The result is a great upsurge of righteous indignation, a demand for equality in the name of justice. The ruling class, the political class, deserve to be swept away — off to the tumbrils with them! It's a Jacobin mood. Get out the guillotine!

We can joke about it, but there have been real revolutions. Frank, seeing as you're on the receiving end: how do you see the relationship between liberty and equality?

Frank Field: I don't see it relating to our present discontent at all. I think the last word entering people's heads is equality. I think they're after blood, partly because they're worried about what's happening to the country. I think this is a very good way of punishing people who should have had more foresight, who have landed them in this particular set-up.

DJ: But when a ruling class, as in the case of the French aristocracy and the court and so on, are seen to be decadent, there is a feeling that they deserve just to be replaced, isn't there? And isn't that, however natural and human it may be, ultimately a threat to liberty?

Jeremy Jennings: I agree with Frank. This bout of indignation is very similar to that against bankers. It does relate to a broader feeling that things are going very badly and someone must be to blame. Therefore, you pick on various groups most obviously in the firing line. That's what's really going on.

FF: What's so extraordinary is that we, as politicians, are supposed to be in control of it — when we can't even control our expenses. So in a pretty fundamental way we're demonstrating that though we are the dignified part of the constitution, we can't actually deliver. And we recently had an uprising, totally unexpected by the whips, on the Gurkhas.

That was a sign of us for once actually being on the side of the public, whereas the public feel they've been foisted with an immigration policy that they've never been consulted about, with which they don't agree. We've now reached the absurd position that we have free access for people from countries who historically fought us, but we're excluding those from the Commonwealth and those who've always stood on the line with us, when things are going wrong.

So I think there's something quite deep-seated going on in the country about these different gangs that compete for power. No one gang is actually giving them an alternative, and I think the public is not apathetic about it. It is angry.

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July 1st, 2009
12:07 AM
Reference your last paragraph Frank...next time you see Douglas Carswell knocking around the HoC I would suggest having a beer or two with him.

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