Sometimes I fear for this country.
Yesterday I heard someone say, without any sense of irony, on a phone-in about the deportation of a suspected terrorist, "The only way to get rid of these fanatics is to shoot them."
And perhaps even more worryingly, he was allowed to say it, and not admonished by the fellow chairing the discussion for his inflammatory statement. If a Muslim had said the same thing about we supposedly reasonable, moderate Englishman, the chair would have been fired and the radio station shut down.
But the man phoning in was English of course. This is his country. If a man can't be an intemperate nutter in his own country, where can he be an intemperate nutter?
The suspected terrorist, as I understand it, had been tried without seeing the evidence against him. But his deportation, after the trial was over, had been stopped because the suspect said he feared persecution in his own country.
Which caused outrage, naturally, among those who had put their copies of The Sun and The Daily Mail down long enough to listen to the show.
We were treated to many tirades like the call to murder described above, and all in the name of some natural order or common sense patriotic view that the liberal establishment were attacking with their desire to defend "everything except their own country".
I have said elsewhere, and I believe it, that true patriotism is living up to your country's best principles rather than going down to the level of the worst of your enemies. We are supposed to be, in the United Kingdom, a beacon for democracy, fairness, equality, tolerance, are we not?
Or perhaps I have got it wrong and all we stand for is illiteracy, substance abuse, shaven heads, St. George flags, bullying, intolerance and spite?
Standing up for absolute values of decency and justice would win us the diplomatic war against all but the most pathological of our enemies, I say. But I fear the minority I have been in for so long is shrinking around me with every day that passes, and every new pseudo-liberal pronouncement that the Coalition makes to delude itself and us about what's happening in the country.
These days I hear so much stupid, hate-filled conversation every time I step out of my house, I wonder if I even live in England anymore.