Sunday, August 31, 2008


Talking of the blogwar reminds just what started all this off: Carol Sarler's article in the Times. Funny thing is her argument has now been rebutted in the same paper by.... Carol Sarler.

I guess a week's a long time in journalism?

Here's what she used to say:
if a man, for reasons not remotely his fault, is posing a risk to others, he should be subject to sectioning under the Mental Health Act, with all the appropriate regret, sympathy and kindness that accompanies such a move. Given the grip of the current bogeyman frenzy, it is hard to see that one playing in Peoria; nevertheless, it would be the only humane response.

If we accept that [paedophilia] is a crime, however, then it is something which the perpetrator can control. He may choose to offend or not, and if he chooses what is unacceptable, again we should respond as such. We catch the bastard, try him, lock him up by way of penalty and then - this is the crucial bit - once he has served his sentence we restore his liberty. In full.
But that was then, and this is now, and Carol is reminiscing about small-town Britain:
The corollary, however, was that if it was inconceivable that we could misbehave without being spotted, so it was inconceivable that anybody could misbehave towards us without equal scrutiny; paedophilia existed, but was scant terror given that pretty much everyone – especially the children – knew who, what and where lay the local kiddie-fiddlers. Strangers they were not.

And every now and then a rampaging mob of parents would lynch them all.
Actually, I stuck that last bit in just to make her sound less of a humbug. After all, she did get it right eventually. The average nonce is more Arnold Rimmer than Hannibal Lecter. They can be deadly, but only under the cloak of anonymity. Daylight doesn't suit them. Equally, being exposed, and therefore harmless, they can be safely ignored by all and sundry.

That was the way it was back then - and it worked. It's the belief that it is the role of the state to protect perverts from the social consequences of their actions that's new and unrooted in law. It does, however, provide great employment opportunities for the usual suspects.

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