But the politics of the personal is a place where their gestures are more significant. Clegg is going all Gandhi-like and promising mass civil disobedience on ID cards. He told supporters last night “If the legislation is passed I will lead a grassroots campaign of civil disobedience to thwart the identity cards programme … I, and I expect thousands of people like me, will simply refuse ever to register.” “I am not a number” he (almost) shouts.
Which is all very well for private citizens like Guido to do, it is another thing for legislators. Guido’s defiance of the state is one thing, a law-maker becoming a law-breaker presents a dilemma of an entirely different order. Unlike private citizens, Clegg is an integral part of the system representative democracy, if he rejects the outcome of majoritarian politics he is rejecting the system. Good luck to him, but he can’t simply pick and choose the laws he obeys if he is a law-maker.