One of the more pleasing aspects of the reduced Blair majority in the British House of Commons is the apparent resurgence of assertive parliamentary democracy in Britain.
Today, the Commons voted down the government's attempt to outlaw religious hatred by a majority of 10. That this bill was opposed by people from all parts of the political spectrum should have made the government think twice. Outlawing the criticism, however odious, of people's opinions, however pious, was never a good idea - indeed, it goes against the fundamental principles of our democracy (notwithstanding the fact that other fundamental principles, like habeas corpus, have been whittled away with hardly a peek of protest).
There are, after all, reasons to be cheerful about the state of British politics.