Monday, October 25, 2004
Crooked Little Finger
Regular readers - both of you - will know that I'm sceptical about the whole "Conservatives are where Labour was in the 80s meme". Mrs T didn't spend the 80s telling all and sundry how important she felt unions were. OTOH, to listen to Nu Lab rhectoric, you could almost find yourself wishing they were in power instead of the current bunch of losers. Thing is though, just like in all the best 50s sci-fi, the invaders from the Planet Nulab certainly sound like actual humans, but they give themselves away eventually. They look at the Sun without blinking, hold the newspaper upside down or propose an asinine policy that's almost like a caricature of Conservative thought.
Let's get this straight: yes, Conservatives aren't happy when some nonce with eight billion previous convictions walks free from court, but most Conservatives are onboard with the principle that the prosecution must present evidence that a person committed a specific offence at a specific time, rather than that they merely possess a tendancy to commit crime, which will surely be the result of allowing previous convictions to be disclosed.
Indeed, Blunkett's proposals are just another example of what infuriates Conservatives about the legal system. Blunkett says that now a pervert who strikes again faces having his convictions brought up in court, since - hey, if they've done it once, they'll do it again. SO WHY NOT NAIL THEM FIRST TIME ROUND ?
That's what sends the public up the wall. Seeing convicted paedophiles get away with less jail time than Jeffery Archer got just for molesting the court system. Is raping a child more or less serious than lying on oath ? Gosh, that's a toughey, I'll get back to you on that.
This new policy makes no kind of sense unless it is argued that a nonce is a nonce is a nonce. Yet, the justice system is dominated by people who believe that all a predator really needs is the mental equivalent of an oil change and they'll be right as rain. This is the central issue but, as ever, Blunkett avoids taking on these entrenched culture warriors in favour of a headline-grabbing displacement activity.
We can consider ourselves lucky that Blunkett wasn't PM in 1982. If the Argies had invaded the Falklands on his watch, he'd have blockaded the Isle of Mann and shelled Anglesey.