Breaking the law

We were always people who kept the law. From an early age, my father would say that we obeyed the law because we expected other people to keep the law. He would ask, with good reason, “what would happen if everyone only kept the laws that they agreed with?”

Dad’s attitude to obeying the law must have been one that was widely shared in our county, for there are now very few police officers to enforce the law. Sitting in a cafe in Glastonbury one day, my son, who is a Dubliner, observed that the police car parked across the road was one of the few he had ever seen in the county. When we checked we discovered that the ratio of population to policeman was twice as high in Ireland as it was in Avon and Somerset, and the Irish complain at the shortage of policemen.

A county that depends on few constables to police a large population is one that works on the assumption that obedience to the law is the norm, that people will do as they are expected, even if there is no fear of sanction from law enforcement agencies. But what will happen if people no longer accept that they must do as the law expects?

People do not have to be guilty of the sort of misunderstanding of history that leads to them quoting from the Magna Carta, (anyone familiar with medieval history will know how few rights were enjoyed by ordinary people),  to object to the current raft of government regulation. It is an inconsistent piece of nonsense.

My mother can rarely venture from her home. When I took her for a hospital visit in the summer, I pushed her in a wheelchair.

The government is telling me that I could collect her and that we could go a pub for lunch, but that if I want to call with her, we have to sit in the garden, despite it being winter. It is plain nonsense from a prime minister who seems increasingly nonsensical in his pronouncements.

How can it be acceptable to take my elderly mother to a pub and sit and eat a meal among complete strangers, but unacceptable to sit and drink a cup of tea in the warm safety of her living room?

It is more than a month since I saw my mother, I intend to visit her next Saturday. My Dad died in March and I know he would have had reservations, but there comes a point when obeying the law becomes the wrong thing to do.

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