There are a number of greenhouses on the allotment and local boys often test out their throwing arms with golf balls. Yesterday one of them achieved gold. Someone spotted the culprit , and Tom popped round to his house to have a quiet word in Dad’s ear. And there the matter ended because we were all boys once and remember only too well indulging in the same kind of horseplay.
Unfortunately Kenneth Clarke and company seem unable to distinguish between thuggery and high spirits. We are constantly told that punishment is not the way to deal with crime, we must instead counsel perpetrators and encourage them to redeem themselves. That was exactly the line taken by local magistrates recently, the problem was that the thug appearing before them was making his nineteenth appearance!
On Friday at 7.30pm, in broad daylight, the newly appointed governor of Bermuda, George Fergusson, was taking a relaxed stroll thorugh a park near his home when he was set upon and robbed. So violent was the assault that, despite the best efforts of surgeons, he has lost the sight in his left eye. No he was not in Bermuda but in London, Hammersmith cemetary to be precise.
And that was not an isolated incident.The number of muggings and robberies is soaring. Violent “thefts from the person” reached 100,000 during 2011, an increase of 10 per cent, and is still rising. Knifepoint muggings are up 9 per cent and there is growing concern for the safety of visitors coming here for the Olympics. And the police have a huge problem given that the number of officers now available for front-line patrols has been slashed by 16,000..
The coalition has made another contribution to the growing problem by leaving ‘Victims Support’ to the descretion of the new breed of Police and Crime Commissioners. The charity has warned that the cost of the extra bureaucracy will almost certainly lead to the loss of the organisation’s funding. The likelihood is that there will be postcode support at best. At present ‘Victims Support’ provides intensive support for victims of violent crime, even to the extent of being with them in court. But the governments’ ideology is slanted entirely in the criminal’s favour. Once again the influence of the Lib Dems, and their hero Kenneth Clarke, is very much in evidence.
To an extent we have all been brainwashed. The do-gooders bang on about “the hang ‘em and flog ‘em brigade” and we all bite our tongues for fear of being thus labelled. For good measure they point out that their God, Mr Clarke, is reducing prison sizes and there is simply nowhere to put villains should the courts so decide.
Now put yourself in the minds of the unrepentant thugs. Forget in this context the nonsense about unemployment and benefits cuts, of course the poorer are suffering to benefit the rich but that can never be used as a justification for violence. The main sentiment in the thug’s mind will be the risk of being caught and punished. He will know that the chance of either is receding. If he still knows fear at all it will be the possible loss of his freedom, of having to work hard at a monotonous task.
Is it too much to hope that at some moment the elite London-based clique, that head up our parliamentary system, will realise that the spiral in violent crime must be halted? Probably. But should they do so what is really needed is a new approach that takes into account the affect on innocent victims. It may be true that for all but the homicidal prison is a poor solution. So how about controlled work centres to which the convicted report seven days per week for 12 hours per day. There they would be intensely supervised, and moved back to the start of their sentence should they cause problems. The word intensely is a deliberate choice to distinguish such an initative from the derisible community service scheme. Lousy idea? Well the task of government advisers shold be to produce a better one.
Something needs to be done before society comes to believe that turning the other cheek is the only option. For hardened thugs it simply won’t work. Yet every day we read of instances where horrendous offenses are virtually condoned. On tonight’s Panorama the story of Jane Worroll’s elderly mum will be told. Jane was pregnant and unable to cope with the care of her mum who was diagnosed with Alzheimers and had suffered several falls.
In desperation whe found what appeared to be a good private nursing home. As time passed she became increasingly concerned and installed a concealed camera in the room. What it revealed horrified her beyond belief. Her mum, to who she owed so much, was being systematically beaten and abused. She confronted the owners and moved her mum. Their initial response was that the care given was unacceptable, and four of the female carers had been given four days of training. Astonishing. It took the full glare of publicity to force stronger action.
Here again we see the new age attitude of treating violence as merely an indication of the need for understanding and rehabilitation. And to hell with Jane’s mum and thousands like her. And to hell with beaten ambassadors and the thousands of people who, like them, dare to walk our streets.
I don’t subscribe to the view that people like Cameron, Clarke et al are uncaring. What I do believe is that they exist in a rarefied atmosphere where cads who misbehave can be chastised and then readmitted to the club. Real life is not like that!
CANCER VICTIMS LOSE OUT TO RED TAPE!
Almost £200 million was allocated to the Cancer Drugs Fund for the financial year just ended. It was a welcome initiative aimed at giving family doctors the opportunity to prescribe life-extending drugs not automatically available.
Less than one-third of the money was actually spent. Campaigners claim that patients are still having to “jump through hoops’ to get help.
Oh for a leader such as Churchill who would by now have kicked every fat bureaucratic backside, and then some! What we actually have is Andrew Lansley!