Friday, August 19, 2011
Following the imprisonment of a woman who slept soundly throughout the riots but accepted a pair of stolen shorts comes the imprisonment of a man - who had spent his last £4 on alcohol and presumably had nothing to eat - for stealing doughnuts. My feeling is that the public mood is changing. There is no sympathy for the rioters, especially those who engaged in actual violence. But the vindictiveness of the sentencing vis-a-vis those not involved in violence (those guilty of petty opportunist theft from high street stores)- and the departure from previous norms - is being noticed, and especially the contrast with the treatment of those at the top. The MP's have largely "got away with it", the bankers have got way with it, the police who took money from the News of the World have got away with it, and so far the phone hackers have got away with it. I don't believe that Andy Coulson knew nothing about phone hacking by the NoW - I don't think any sensible person thinks this - and I don't believe that when Cameron employed Coulson that he - Cameron - believed that Coulson knew nothing about it. Cameron believed Coulson would get away with it, so he would get away with employing him. People can see this hypocrisy.
In October 2010 a man with defective eyesight driving a 32-ton tipper truck knocked down and killed a 30-year old cyclist. He was fined £200 by Kingston magistrates court. Just as well he didn't steal a doughnut.
Monday, August 15, 2011
A "sense of entitlement"?
Henry Porter raises the taboo question
Henry Porter in The Observer raises the taboo question (the first time I have seen it aired) only to dismiss it: "...some even believe the Met held back to make their point about the effect of government cuts. This cannot be true..." Can't it?
Already the pressure to exempt the police from the cuts is building. The Government is - so far - resisting (in private they are probably furious with the police), but I expect (another) U-Turn.
Mind you, the riots have helped the Tories: they wiped the Hacking scandal off the front pages and have boosted a "law-and-order" lock-em-up-and-throw-away-the-key agenda.
Wandsworth Council meanwhile appear to have opted for Israeli-style collective punishment. They have served an eviction notice on the mother of an 18 year old boy accused (but not yet convicted) of violent disorder and attempted theft. Why leave it at that? Does he have grandparents?
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Police "industrial action"?
Is Politaholic alone in thinking that part of what is going on is a spot of - highly effective - industrial action by the Knackers (eager not to bear their share of public service cuts)? Inspect a lot of talk from Cameron (supported by Miliband) about more support for front-line policing.