THE BLOG
16/02/2015 06:40 GMT | Updated 17/04/2015 06:59 BST

Fifty Shades, BDSM and the Kinkyf**kery of Our Civil Liberties

While we variously hand-wring about our moral turpitude or lament the lack of full frontal nudity ; while our services deploy emergency drills in the face of lapsed public virtue - we're averting our lusty gaze from a far more insidious threat.

As everyone in the western world knows, last week was a momentous week.

It was the week where Britain threw off the anonymity of closely held e-readers and furtive commuter fantasies to defiantly, cinematically embrace its passion for normcore hardcore and flock, en masse, to the opening of Fifty Shades of Grey.

It was the week where millions of rabid E. L. James hardliners, emasculated husbands and faux-weary critics watched, slack-jawed and beady-eyed, as a young ingénue finds her sexy inner freedom through some sexy outer restraint.

Faced with this tide of public debauchery, the Good People of Britain have been readying for the worst.

Preparing themselves for the inevitable tremors at the fault lines of our nationhood, B&Qs everywhere have issued emergency memos bracing themselves for a surge of dark new interest in cable ties while employees, bravely defending the front line, curse the permissive store mantra.

Fire fighters around the UK have broadcast a series of earnest public appeals to THINK before throwing away the key to those handcuffs AND WORSE.

GPs nationwide have issued emergency training sessions on the safe and hygienic removal of butt plugs and OTHER.

And the French have yawned predictably in the face of our pseudo-risqué revolution before slapping a 12A rating on it and letting their ten year-olds watch it before bed.

Much of the frenzied, lascivious commentary so far has breathlessly focused on the impending collapse of our reassuringly stoic sexual habits or the undoing of all feminist progress, ever.

But while we variously hand-wring about our moral turpitude or lament the lack of full frontal nudity ; while our services deploy emergency drills in the face of lapsed public virtue - we're averting our lusty gaze from a far more insidious threat.

Because, in the same week that saw the proposal of ASBOs for internet trolls, the progress of the enhanced Counter Terrorism and Security Bill, and the narrow miss of the revived 'snoopers' charter';

in the aftermath of one of the most direct attacks on our western ideals ever sustained;

this question - of freedoms, and restrictions - is one that cuts far deeper than that leather horsewhip, with implications that reach far further than Christian Grey's long fingers.

Freedoms are funny things in the west. So naturally assumed; so passively defended by the majority of us as we frolic unquestioningly in the luxury of entitlement and use our licence to watch cats on the Internet.

Despite this, Freedom is our defining ideal. It's what we hold dearest; what we will come together to defend in the face of vicious attack.

Fifty Shades, and BDSM, fetishizes submission as the route to true Freedom.

Its implications - especially in the context of a young innocent (and millions upon millions of British women by proxy) who, despite her liberal western conditioning, finds it deeply deeply hot to submit body mind and soul to a millionaire megalomaniac sadist - do not sit easily alongside hard-won gender freedoms, or political freedoms full stop.

But submission, in this confusing world of political choice with its burden of intellectual autonomy and ever-growing complexity, is an enticing idea; and one that's gaining ground in more places than hastily refurb'd British bedrooms.

These days, we're all in a BDSM relationship.

But it's not hot.

Because the BDSM relationship we have in our lives isn't with beautiful sexual deviants.

It's with our freedoms.

Our actual, on paper, constitutionally protected freedoms.

Our liberties, we are told, are the price of true Freedom - safety, in this environment of terror, from those that would do us harm.

And just like E. L. James unwittingly, titillatingly foreshadowed, somewhere along the way we've given up the fight and donned the nipple clamps.

We've handed our inner goddess the chisel to chip steadily away at the freedoms we claim to love.

We've anaesthetised ourselves to the inconvenient consequences of our fear and our technological complicity and our rapidly-eroding attention spans.

Because the truth is this:

Even as unprecedented millions were uniting to denounce the attack on freedom of speech in the wake of Charlie Hebdo, our government was proposing a bill that would do exactly that.

Even as David Cameron was linking arms with global leaders to march in defence of the incendiary disestablishmentarianism of Voltaire and his legacy, his party was introducing legislation that would restrict the marrow of intellectual freedom in our universities.

Even as we sit in the privacy of our homes, we are being informed - in beige tones more akin to product recall than domestic espionage or the stuff of sci-fi nightmares - that the technology we have allowed into it is listening to our conversations and watching us sleep.

These days, it's hard to be sure what Freedom really means, and even harder to be sure who's peddling it.

Looking to our symbols of Freedom in this information age, we find only murky conflict and whip-lash narratives.

Julian Assange, the once-lauded zealot of informational transparency cowers, translucent and morally degraded, inside the Ecuadorian embassy.

Silk Road mastermind Ross Ulbricht has just been handed 30 years' imprisonment.

Anarchic 'hacktivists' Anonymous have emerged as our shining hope in the fight against ISIS.

Faced with such uncertainty; such bewildering contradictions between ideals and realities, it's easier, perhaps, to leave it to those who know best, and get on with the business of living.

But our freedoms are not clear-cut, and they are not inherent.

The more we submit - the longer we indulge the fantasy of simplicity -the less we will be left with.

So let's confront the difficulty; let's remove the handcuffs; let's get off this cross and start gingerly picking the splinters out of our derrières.

Let's retire the fantasy of the megalomaniac millionaire.

Let's refuse to be distracted by Kim Kardashian's buttocks while a stealth bill is passed that erodes another part of our civil liberties.

And in this countdown to the General Election, let's - for God's sake - USE our freedoms in the next 80 days, thoughtfully, and diligently, and independently, to make sure they can stick around a bit longer.

It won't be easy - but holy crap it'll be worth it.