Wednesday 28 March 2012

Crime and punishment

I'm sorry. Apparently it was my fault after all. Of course it was; how remiss of me not have realised. And how carelessly I managed to forget about those half a million families. Poor loves; while I was busy taking care of my own needs, I completely forgot that not everybody is as fortunate as me. I am such a lucky, lucky bastard.

Lucky to be born into a society where work was considered virtuous, good behaviour rewarded and bad behaviour punished. Fortunate to live in a country populated by my peers where you were expected to knuckle down to it, stay out of trouble and pay your way. And just in case you were tempted to stray from that path, stark were the calamities that befell the errant. We used to have a stick as well as carrots and everybody knew the rules, which were applied more or less evenly. (Before anybody plays the privilege card, you've always been able to buy your way out of trouble, by one means or another.)

But, the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel say it is all the fault of the society of which I am a part. Apparently - and you'll forgive me for never recognising this before - we (that's you and me) have failed those families whose spawn engaged in what can only be described as blatant criminality. Who knew that taking away the sticks and laying out a trail of delicious, juicy carrots would have lead to this? Well, belatedly, even the beardie-weirdie archbishop of canterbury says "Fixation with gay rights, feminism and separate racial identities is threatening to “fragment” British society" The same report says, "He also attacked a culture of dependence on welfare handouts, which he said was harmful to society," No shit, Sherlock? 

If even the Archbishop of Hippy-Dippy Heaven-in-Devon thinks it's wrong, surely the message is getting through?

Not really. Yesterday a teenager, Liam Stacey, who exercised his right to free expression was jailed for doing just that. What he tweeted was offensive, no doubt, but you'll hear sentiments of that nature expressed freely in any pub in the land and in all directions. Can you really be guilty of a criminal offence for having an offensive thought and then drunkenly broadcasting it? In an earlier time he would have been sent to his room to sober up and think about what he had done, but no. Today his 'hate crime' is so heinous that his university is likely to kick him off course. Maybe he'll be able to get a job at McDonald's?

Perhaps we should just impose an opinion tax and be done with it? Oh, no, because that would restrict the freedoms of the hate preachers who we support out of the public purse to directly arouse enmity and threaten our way of life. We have to support them, apparently, because how could they ever get a job with an attitude like that?

Of course I'm in favour of both corporal and capital punishment. I’ve never shirked from saying so. But yesterday, Daniel Knowles @dlknowles  thoughtfully tweeted: "This short film, about capital punishment in Iran, shows why vengeance should play no part in justice:" And he's right. Society should not apply justice as a form of vengeance.

Just, well, as a form of justice.

Is it justice - for society - to waste ever more resources trying to placate those who wilfully refuse to abide by the standards set by the majority? Not the high and mighty of government or church, but the ordinary working voters who expect a return from their labours. This country can not afford to ignore those 500,000 families any more. Isn't it time we sought them out and started applying some very hard sticks? Of course, we can offer carrots - education, responsibility, etc - but ultimately those who cross the line must be stamped on hard.

And it's dead easy to identify them. Anybody appearing on Jeremy Kyle's execrable freak show. Anybody trawling the streets with hoods up and gloves on in summer. Anybody turning up to court in a track suit… ad-infinitum.You know who you are!

And the best bit of this rant? It isn't party political. Whether your loyalties lie on the left or the right, you know I'm spot-on about this. Even the Archbishop of Canterbury agrees with me and he's not even sure about the existence of God!

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