Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Criminal Stupidity

No, not the rioting and looting, which was way beyond stupid. No, what is criminally stupid is the sentencing now being imposed on those convicted of rioting. Custodial sentences for people convicted of the most trivial of offences is ludicrous. It’s destroying lives, costs us all a fortune and doesn’t rebuild the communities that were trashed. How is this supposed to help? People are not stupid, they can compare and contrast with the derisory way politicians who filch from the public purse are treated. We’re not talking about having sympathy for those who committed acts of violence or arson, but putting people in prison for posting messages on Facebook or picking stuff up that had been looted is madness. Not only will many of these sentences be reduced on appeal (at yet more expense to the taxpayer), it will clog up the so-called justice system even more.By all means punish those convicted, but do it sensibly so that it can make a real difference, not make things worse.

The more time goes on the more I wonder about the intelligence of the political class. It’s not just suicidal policies on windfarms and climate change, it’s everywhere. The harder I try to see signs of intelligence at work, the less I find of it. Where are all the smart people in government? It’s a scary thought that the answer is that there are none.

With the riots fading from the front pages our state broadcaster has returned to its favourite topic: attacking its commercial rival News International. It’s a story that the BBC puts ahead of the slow motion collapse of the Euro, the riots, or failed environmental policies, wars on two fronts and many other more important issues. And, as the Autonomous Mind blog keeps reminding us (here and here, for example), it is also ignoring the hacking activities of its print arm the Guardian.

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