It is a good rule of thumb that all generalisations about the character of the English - their individualism, tolerance, love of justice - are, once you get down to the hard facts, hogwash. According to the national myth, no country regards eccentricity with greater broadmindedness.

In England, you were free to be as odd as you wanted as long as you didn't break the law, and were innocent until proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt if the authorities alleged you had broken the law.
That world's gone, as the history of antisocial behaviour orders shows.

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