Wednesday, 7 March 2018
Now it’s not like me to come to the defence of socialism, but the ‘official’ Socialist Party of Great Britain, while espousing an impossible form of societal madness, at least recognises that they will only reach their nirvana if people travel willingly. Unlike the more traditional, genocidal socialist ideologies, they accept that their common ownership, free love, give-peas-a-chance model will only come about when a clear majority want it. So don’t expect any ‘real socialism’ to be tried any time soon.
Most people don’t need to be told how to behave; most of us – especially the most British of us – go out of our way to avoid conflict. We open doors, say a polite ‘good morning’ and ‘no, please, after you’ and feel compelled to apologise should somebody barge into us in a crowd. You may call it passive aggressive but anybody truly British knows that a mere exasperated ‘tut’ can bring a recalcitrant queue-jumper to heel without the need for any police involvement, stabbing or playground slaughter.
On the whole we are a pretty law-abiding, peaceful lot, happy to be live and let live and rub along, playing nicely... until somebody gets our goat. Goat-getting is not something we take kindly and woe-betide the miscreant who disturbs the herd. If the tutting wasn’t deterrent enough we have a whole armoury of post-facto solutions to prevent re-offending. Ostracisation works pretty well at a group level. Beyond that we have censure and a range of other sanctions at our disposal.
We can forbid, fine, flog – wait, we stopped doing that (shame) – but we can also re-educate, re-train or even re-programme until people step back into line. Ultimately we can remove people from society; the threat of imprisonment ought to inspire sufficient dread that only the truly irredeemable would risk it. At least in theory this is how it works. Rehabilitation, sure, but let’s get the punishment element straight first.
David Gauke yesterday said prisons should be “places of hope, not despair”. To be fair, he was announcing a whole series of reforms (which will, of course, never come about; they never do) to improve not only the protection of the wider population but also vulnerable inmates from the violence, drugs and islam which infect our penal system. Of course prisoners should be helped to change their ways – otherwise we may as well just vapourise them on, say, the third custodial conviction - but that is a different issue. Bird should not be preferred; it should be the penance you do in order to recognise the error of your ways.
The population is rising and changing at an alarming rate and with it the prison population. It doesn’t help that new crimes are being invented at the drop of a wolf whistle. But is criminalising half the population in the name of social change the right thing to do? A misplaced personal pronoun is not the province of the police, neither is preferring to employ one group rather than another. Our police ‘service’ has become a joke as minor infringements of social mores have become hate crimes and place strain on an already creaking system.
Norman Stanley Fletcher... happier times
The SPGB is right; we will only get the society we want when everybody decides to practice what they preach. So how about, instead of demanding ever more sanctions for acting outside the models which the shrieking ‘progressives’ dictate, we maintain prisons as places of despair and keep as many people as possible out of them. Crime will continue (when has it not?) and in the meantime you really can trust the rest of us to behave ourselves. Nobody hopes for porridge.