Nestled away in the court of appeal today is a case which will decide whether British citizens are allowed to live with the person they love.
Having even reached this point is, of course, a moral disaster. But this is where we are.
Last summer Theresa May lost a crucial case concerning her requirements for UK citizens marrying someone from outside the EU.
Under rules put in place by the home secretary, only Brits earning £18,600 can bring their loved ones to the UK. It rises to £22,400 if you have a child and an additional £2,400 for each further child. Under the system, 40% of the British working population are prevented from bringing a foreign spouse to live with them.
I have spoken to people whose spouse earns many multiples of that amount - but it doesn't count. The current or expected spousal income is not taken into consideration. I have met people who have family members or friends willing to demonstrate to the state that they are prepared to support the couple - a system used in other visa applications to prove the applicant will not have to rely on public funds. That doesn't count either.
Only people with £62,500 savings for six months are exempt from the rule.
It is an unreported ethical catastrophe, a savage policy which tears apart British families and forces children to grow up without their mother or father. It takes a particular kind of moral cowardice to ask someone to choose between their country and the person they love. That apparently is the kind of moral cowardice Britain has adopted.
In July, Mr Justice Blake in the high court branded the rule "disproportionate and unjustified" in the case of MM & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department.
He rejected the argument that the rules were discriminatory in nature or that their absence of concern for the effect on children constituted illegality. He did not strike them down as generally unlawful - the judgement was only about the case at hand. He also did not find that the very concept of setting a minimum income benchmark was unlawful.
But he took umbrage at the way the Home Office had ignored Migration Advisory Committee income benchmarks of £13,400 as the level at which people are unlikely to have to rely on state funds. This is a level closer to the earnings of someone working 40 hours a week on minimum wage.
Mr Justice Blake found that British citizens have "a fundamental right of constitutional significance recognised by the common law" to live in their home country. But around half the British population would be forced to leave their own country under the rules, if they are unfortunate enough to fall in love with someone from outside the EU.
The judge said:
"To set the figure significantly higher than even the £13,400 gross annual wage effectively denies young people and many thousands of low-wage earners in full time employment the ability to be joined by their non-EEA spouses from abroad unless they happen to have wealthy relatives or to have won the lottery. This frustrates the right of refugees and British citizens to live with their chosen partner and found a family unless such modest earnings could be supplemented by any reasonably substantial savings, third party support or the future earnings or the spouse seeking admission."
The judgement didn't make May's rules illegal, but they provided a ray of light for the thousands of couples desperately waiting for the right to live together.
It suggests that even if they can't satisfy the £18,600 benchmark, they may be able to secure an application if the sponsor earns above the minimum wage, or if there is reliable 'third party support', or evidence the spouse will work in the UK, or where children are affected.
While the case plays itself out, visa decisions on foreign spouses have been put on hold.
The Home Office, unusually, paused for a while as it responded to the criticism. For a short while, people suspected they might not pursue their usual tin-eared moral bankruptcy. Alas, it was not to be so. Soon enough, they appealed. The current case will see if they are successful.
The case is expected to last two days. Some of the many thousands of British families split by the rules will be demonstrating outside the court and filling the public gallery - organised by the rather brilliant campaign group Brit Cits.
The minimum benchmark rules were the point at which Britain's anti-immigrant hysteria started to radically restrict the rights and freedoms of its own citizens. It demonstrates that more than anything immigration is a civil liberties issue. And it showed dramatically how we belittle our own lives with this grim hostility to immigrants.
For the sake of Britain's better nature, we must hope the Home Office loses its appeal.
If Norman Baker's comment this morning is true, we're about to enter unprecedented territory in the drug law debate.
The liberal (with a big and a small 'l') minister is suspected of either going native at the Home Office or acting as a trojan horse for Nick Clegg's progressive views on drugs. His comments in the pages of today's Times only serve to make his role murkier.
Baker said he was considering plans to licence shops to sell legal highs,in a bid to bring the trade under the control of regulators.
"We should maybe look at licensing them like sex shops with blacked-out windows and not allowing under-18s in."
The comment won swift support from drug law reformers.
Danny Kushlik from Transform Drug Policy Foundation said:
"Norman Baker deserves enormous respect for broaching the issue of the legal regulation of legal highs. His clarion call for responsible government control prioritises citizens' health and safety over populist grandstanding and 'tough on drugs' rhetoric. Let us hope that his Labour and Conservative colleagues support his bold pragmatism."
Drug law reformers are excited because they know legal highs can turn into the thin end of the wedge when it comes to ending prohibition.
The laws on controlled substances can't really deal with legal highs because a small change to the structure of a chemical often means it falls outside statute. You cut off one head and two grow in its place.
Of course, if you could guarantee safe, high quality drugs people wouldn't go messing around with strange white powders they get through the post and we could save a few lives. Unfortunately, that's not where the debate is right now.
However, Baker's proposal would get us close. He is speaking openly about regulating recreational drugs on the high street. For this to have come from a Home Office minster is a slap-yourself-to-check-whether-you're-sleeping development.
But why do it this way? Why not wait until concrete proposals have been properly formulated in the department to give it a semblance of nuetral civil servant calculation, rather than the increasingly impatient crusade of a liberal minister? The plan now has the indelible mark of being his favoured choice.
And why make the comments to the Times, which is one of the papers least likely to give them time? Even the Sun would have been more sympathetic.
In fact, the Times felt the need to lead with:
"Dangerous 'legal highs' that mimic the effects of heroin and other Class A drugs will be sold in licensed high street shops under plans being considered by ministers."
Not exacly a glowing endorsement.
It then gave Baker a handful of paragraphs before throwing in some quotes from the Angelus Foundation (never heard of it), an anti-legal highs group, about how "darkened windows could make the drugs more attractive to youngsters".
(Such nonsense. They say this stuff as if young people are wandering around Britain, blissfully unaware of drugs under prohibition. But oh, don't suggest darkened windows. That'll really get them interested.)
If Baker was flying a kite - trying to get a sense of how something like this would play out in the media - he picked an odd paper to do it in. Some reformers think he's just biting at the bit and has become impatient to get real change secured.
Whatever the criticisms, Baker is pursuing a brave strategy here. These are big, important developments. Every week there is further evidence that we are reaching a tipping point on drug law. Baker is the most important person in the debate.
If there's money that needs savings, you can trust the coalition to claw it back from those least able to pay. It is a kind of pathology. They are like the anti-Robin Hood.
Iain Duncan Smith was ordered by No 10 to close down benefits for EU migrant workers in so far as it was possible under EU law. EU law, as it happens, tends to be rather vague on the subject, saying that to qualify as a 'worker' someone must be in employment which is considered to be 'genuine and effective'.
It's not a difficult definition to understand, really. To be a worker, someone needs to be working.
That is not enough for IDS. He wants benefits to be denied to anyone earning less than £150 per week over a three-month period.
The EU worker benefit system is entirely sound as it is. European migrant workers here are paying tax, so they deserve to benefit from the system as well. As a matter of fact, they contribute 34% more to the public purse than they take out. It's worth comparing that to British citizens, who contribute 11% less to the public purse than they take out.
The system is also open to British migrants (sorry – 'expats') elsewhere in Europe, a factor which is never mentioned in UK media coverage. More than 10,000 Britons are claiming unemployment benefit in Germany, receiving up to £23,318 a year from the German taxpayer. Over the entirety of the EU the figure is close to 40,000.
But if one did feel the need to restrict it - say because one was running scared of a bunch of mean-spirited, blazer-wearing Little Englanders - one would not pick IDS' method.
He has chosen a system which flies in the face of what we understand work to be. We expect it to be a situation where an employer has a genuine need for a post to be filled and does so. It is not to do with quite how many hours it takes for the job to be done. But because of the prevalence of low-paid work in the UK economy, IDS has acted to discriminate against those in insecure, unreliable employment
If you are one of the million workers in Britain earning the £6.31 minimum wage – or one of the two million people earning just 50p more than that – you'll have to work nearly three full days (24 hours) a week to hit the £150 benchmark.
This might be tolerable if it wasn't for the three months of income slips demanded by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). But with that requirement, it becomes deeply unfair and unjustifiable.
Any barman or waitress doing regular shifts at work who slips below the DWP level for a couple of weeks in a quarter-year period will suddenly become technically ineligible. They are at the mercy of their shift patterns.
People in the hospitality industry or acting as agency workers in retail or office admin are also likely to be affected. Such people are used to working hard for some periods of time - often earning well above the weekly DWP threshold – and then later going through periods where there is little to no work. Under IDS' plans, they will be barred from gaining worker status indefinitely, because they must prove they were above the level every single week.
Anyone falling under the limit will face further assessment of whether they are in the UK to undertake "genuine" work. Their fate will be at the mercy of DWP caseworkers. All rests, in truth, on the guidance handed down to them. Given the moral and intellectual standard IDS has presided over at the Department, we should think very little of that fact.
"We have taken action to make sure our economy delivers for people who want to work hard, play by the rules, and contribute to this country," IDS said today.
He couldn't be further from the truth.
He is taking away benefit support from people who pay tax.
They are the ones playing by the rules. He is the one introducing a lop-sided deal: paying into the system and getting nothing back but slander from a secretary of state.
He could have set an hourly, rather than an income, limit to three-month work periods. But of course this would have ensnared wealthier migrants taking non-exec roles which demand little time but pay well.
As ever the coalition always bends over backwards to avoid the fairer option and instead aims at those with the least means. As a reflex, it targets the vulnerable over the fortunate.