The Third Leader: Let martyrs get on with it

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The Independent Online

Should a third party be allowed to interfere with someone else's principles by doing for her what she so ringingly refuses to do for herself? Should expediency triumph over conviction? We say: give over. There are too few honourable impulses around for them not to be protected against the pragmatic intervention of well-wishers, ill-wishers or whatever-wishers.

Goodness knows, too, we need some high dramatics of individual action to inspire us against passive compliance and complacency. Whose example could we turn to if the Government had ordered a cover-up of Lady Godiva or if someone had given Captain Oates another biscuit? Would our eyes prick as we resolve to lead more worthwhile lives if Dickens had allowed Sydney Carton to do only an ever so slightly better thing; or if somebody had found Bogart another letter of transit so they could all leave Casablanca for Lisbon?

And that's it: it's interfering with the plot, playing God (and even He didn't let Pilate spoil it). The case is clear: freedom without consent is freedom infringed. Here is another part of the legal system for the Prime Minister to batter, another suitable subject for The Great Changemaker. Let martyrs be martyrs.

Which also means, of course, that he must be allowed to continue for as long as he likes, Gordon.