Sometimes I just despair. The latest Labour line on the Police Crime sentencing & Courts Bill is ‘defacing a statue 10 years. Rape 5 years’. Far from me to ruin an attack line, let me put the record straight. Defacing a statue will incur a maximum sentences of 10 years imprisonment. Rape carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. And that isn’t changing. What is so depressing is that this is not an error by a child researcher but flourished by none other than Starmer a former DPP. He knows that it is a lie. He knows that it is an easily find out able lie. So why do it? I suppose he needs to ginger up his backbenchers who are in the doldrums about disappointing polls and a possible drubbing in the local elections. Or maybe he thinks that as Johnson lies as easily as breathing and gets away with it so why shouldn’t he? The answer is pretty obvious. Nobody, apart from possibly Nigel Farage, can out shit Johnson, because when it comes to the shit heap he is the world beating, no if nor buts, turbo charged king of it. The illusion that Starmer has failed to master, is that despite being as exciting as a cold Cuppa Soup, at least he is competent and has crawled his way over the twitching bodies of the Corbynistas to the moral high ground. Not any more matey. Let’s not beat around the bush, the punters really don’t care. Honesty is something that that is no longer a virtue that is required to land the top job.
So back to the PCS & C Bill. By and large this is not a bad piece of legislation. Robert Buckland is a far better operator than he is given credit for. He has to tread the line of keeping the howling at the moon law and order lynch mob onside as well as the libertarian ultras. And the only way to send this lot into premature ejaculatory post orgasmic ecstasy is to whisper ‘life sentences’ in a husky voice every now and again. It’s the Conservative blue pill that never fails. Of course, most of the stuff is window dressing or already exists as an option, but hey ho it keeps Priti Patel’s broom stick off Buckland’s lawn.
But, and it’s a very big but, it will not have escaped your attention that there is a sizeable and every growing group of Tory back benchers who are deeply concerned that we are slowly, under the cover of Covid, sleep walking into a police state. Unlike the Americans we are policed by consent. Parliament makes the rules and the police have to enforce them. And as the events of Clapham Common show it can sometimes blow up in their faces.
I read the new public nuisance laws with a sense of foreboding disbelief and then horror. Let me paraphrase the offence. A single member of the public or a group can be guilty of an offence by commission/omission/or recklessly causing serious harm to the public. Fair enough. Until we go to what amounts to serious harm. We start of with death and a significant impact on persons and business. And then we come to ‘Serious annoyance....serious inconvenience....serious loss of amenity’. Worse the burden of proof is reversed, the accused has to prove that they were behaving reasonably. Maximum sentence 10 years. Dear God what have we come to? And this is just the beginning. The litmus test will be whether the government will apply to extend the draconian Covid regulations when they expire after two years. Of course they will.
“The measures of the Corona Virus Bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat we face and be only used when strictly necessary and be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation”.
Parliament must awake from its apathy. This sleepy little country is taking the first baby steps to becoming a police state. That is something that I thought I could never write about a Conservative government. As Lenin once said, ‘Freedom is precious therefore it must be rationed’. I’ve glimpsed the future and it smirks.