Category Archives: crime wave

One law for the bien pensant, another for the rest of us

Shire Hall, Cambridge

Dalrymple writes:

One of the perpetual criticisms of Western legal systems is that they apply one law to the rich and another to the poor. Magistrates in Cambridgeshire recently did their best to substantiate this criticism.

A parliamentary candidate for the Green Party

was arrested for having defaced the offices of the county council by spraypainting them with Extinction Rebellion symbols. She was charged with criminal damage. Her defence was that she had been defending her property from imminent damage caused by climate change. The magistrates accepted this and acquitted her because of her ‘very strong and honestly held belief that we are facing a climate emergency‘.

Angela Ditchfield

Such a socially destructive judgment, says Dalrymple,

made honestly held belief, however absurd, a defence against what would otherwise be a criminal act. It made everyone a law unto himself. The magistrates, as weak of mind as of character, were acting in a politically biased manner. If a person with a ‘very strong and honestly held belief’ that Britain was being Islamised had daubed the council offices with a slogan to that effect, he would (quite rightly) not have been acquitted. If the accused had been an unemployed young male lout dressed in international slum-ghetto costume, he would not have been acquitted, either.

Dalrymple points out that the police in London have spent more than twice as much on trying to contain the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations as they have on a special force to deal with the increasing number of violent crimes, but then,

violent crime affects mostly the poor and ethnic minorities, so it is not very important by comparison with, say, the distant and purely hypothetical damage caused by global warming to the property of parliamentary candidates for the Green Party.

The woeful inadequacy of sentencing in Britain

It has, writes Dalrymple, helped to turn England

from being one of the best-ordered to being among the worst-ordered countries in western Europe.

Gogol for the absurdity

The minister for loneliness

England in the grip of sentimentality

In January 2018, the British government appointed a ‘minister for loneliness’. Dalrymple comments:

While the government busied itself with the task of reducing loneliness, or with the creation of a bureaucracy with the task supposedly of reducing loneliness, it did not concern itself very much with the abundant evidence, extending over decades, that it has long presided over the most crime-ridden country in Western Europe.

After all,

only one crime is recorded by the police—alas, not the same as the number of crimes known to the police—for every two lonely people found by the parliamentary commission on loneliness. It is obvious which of these two problems, loneliness or crime, should attract more of the government’s attention.

He draws attention to a part of the General Confession in the Book of Common Prayer:

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.

The words, says Dalrymple,

might serve not as the confession of the British government, but as a description of it.

A parliamentary commission found that about a seventh of the population suffers from loneliness, and that

it was the duty of the government to do something about it. For who, if not the government, is responsible for ensuring that everyone has a social life and friends and relatives who visit? After all, it was government policy that smashed up the family in the first place.

To understand what is going on in Britain and the rest of the West, Dalrymple writes,

it is necessary, and probably sufficient, to read three authors: Gogol for the pervasive absurdity, Kafka for the pervasive fear and menace, and Orwell for the pervasive lies.