Thursday, 18 August 2011

Did you listen to what your mother said?

There’s that classic comment from Arthur Dent:

"You know," said Arthur, "it's at times like this, when I'm trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I'd listened to what my mother told me when I was young."

[Ford Prefect:] "Why, what did she tell you?
[Arthur:] "I don't know, I didn't listen."

And it seems that many of those debating sentencing policy weren’t listening to their mothers who, I’m pretty sure, will have said at some point:

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Despite the efforts of all those mothers, this message didn’t sink in. Let me explain.

It is probably wrong that lots of wealthy folk, celebrities and such like who are guilty of crimes didn’t get the proverbial book thrown at them. Those fiddling MPs maybe should have been banged up for longer and perhaps celebrity druggies should be incarcerated in the deepest, darkest of dungeons.

But that doesn’t make it right to apply leniency to another wrongdoer in another circumstance. The failure to deal with one set of crimes shouldn’t dictate that we should also fail in our response to another set of crimes. So when magistrates give tough sentences to looters, we shouldn’t go about crying foul – those magistrates and judges only apply the rules given to them by parliament.

For my part, I do not think that the world out there thinks that tough sentencing is wrong – indeed most folk, as we found here in Bradford back in 2001, rather appreciate the thwack of tough justice on rioters.  If it was wrong to give bad MPs a lenient sentence and wrong to have a criminal justice system that petty thugs stick two fingers up at on a daily basis, then it must be right – and welcome – to see a little toughness for a change.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

On Topic RE photo.
Looks like the old nick on Gib.