Telegraph – Simon Heffer on Saturday

First and second items:

Don’t mention the war, you might be arrested

Just to ensure this becomes an ever-happier country to live in, the Government is strengthening our police state even more from tomorrow. After that, you will be able to be arrested for anything – and I mean anything – if the policeman you are unlucky enough to encounter is in one of those increasingly familiar over-zealous moods. …

We used to have something in this country called “live and let live”. It was an understanding, implicit in a peculiarly British way, that many things that did offend, or were not quite one’s own personal cup of tea, were none the less not actually criminal, and should be tolerated or simply condemned.

Now, all we seem to be expected to tolerate is intolerance, and condemnation is allowed only in government-approved contexts. …

On the road to an authoritarian state

And, as if the list of things for which you are now liable to be arrested weren’t already long enough, it looks as though one old English tradition is about to be added to it: the sporting and comradely gesture of warning other motorists of speed traps ahead as they drive towards you.

You might think, also, that to give such a warning merely helps the police to enforce the law, by ensuring other motorists don’t break the speed limits. But no: in a positively Gestapo-like move, any collaboration among offenders is now to be punished.

The fellowship of the open road, long cherished among our people, is to be ruthlessly criminalised, like so much else. Some of us remember that AA patrolmen, by saluting or not saluting, used to convey a similar warning. Are we now, Soviet-style, going to create enemies of the state among those who refuse to act as coppers’ narks?

Are we all to be cowed under the jackboot of an inflexible authoritarianism? Rather looks like it, I fear.

Now that’s just a step too far, eh? Sixth item:

Why President Putin should be put down

Mikhail Khodorkovsky is a Russian businessman serving a 10-year jail sentence imposed by a kangaroo court in Moscow for the crime of having the political ambition to take on President Vladimir Putin.

Mr Putin, who won a rigged election to earn a second term, becomes head of the G8 tomorrow, days after one of his most senior aides resigned, complaining that he was turning Russia back into a repressive state.

The G8 is a club of capitalist democracies. Russia is neither capitalist nor a democracy. Why do we continue to tolerate its membership?