Archive for March 9th, 2010

You have to laugh… the Tories are spending a fortune shoring up the idea that they are supporting the NHS and then the Young Britons Foundation pops up in the form of their Chief Executive, Donal Blaney – a lawyer – with talk of waterboarding, shooting down environmental protesters and another spokesman saying the NHS is the biggest waste of time in the UK.

See also: The next stunt? – A Tory ‘ Madrasa’… a Madrasa? Mon Dieu!

Many Tories, deny that there is anything sinister about the YBF and I accept that we are not dealing here with a group of crypto-fascists with muscle spasm problems in their right arms – but, clearly, the views expressed by Donal Blaney are a bit ‘right of sanity’ if he is not joking about waterboarding being acceptable.

The Tories are scrambling to disassociate themselves with the YBF – but they do have a bit of a problem…according to The Guardian they appear to be outsourcing training to the YBF at a cost of ‘hundreds of pounds per person’. Of course… it is possible (and in the minds of some Tories..probably a certainty) that The Guardian is putting the boot into the YBF for ‘political reasons’.

The Guardian noted: “A spokesman for the Conservative party said people attend YBF courses of their own volition and they are not financially supported by the party.

Conservative Central Office would not comment on whether the planned YBF training courses being promoted by Conservative Future will go ahead in the light of the revelations.”

Jon Venables and the Rule of Law

Our country may, according to Cameron et al, be ‘broken’, our country may be ‘broke’, our country may be dysfunctional and populated with venal, self important, self serving and selfish people – an apocalyptic vision made manifest each day by the Sun and The Daily Mail – but, thankfully they are in the minority.

I cannot begin to imagine the pain and misery suffered by Jamie Bulger’s mother and father – few have suffered the horror of having a child murdered, far more intense arguably than accidental death or even honourable death in military service and only those who have suffered such loss, truly, can even begin to understand and empathise meaningfully.  I do not, however, support the view taken by Jamie Bulger’s parents and 70,000 others who have signed The Sun’s petition that they have a right to know every detail about Jon Venables.  The principle of a fair trial trumps such individual rights and misery – for otherwise we return to the law of the lynch mob and not , as former DPP Sir Ken Macdonald QC states...” (the) steely progress of a criminal case to its just conclusion, whether that is conviction or acquittal.”

There is every prospect, if Venables’ identity is revealed – that some vigilante or criminal in prison will exact ‘ extra-judicial justice’ whether by throwing hot sugar water over Venables or worse, killing him – for the glory of being applauded as a hero by those who seek justice through the lynch mob’s rope.

I’m with Sir ken Macdonald QC on this…he writes: “None of us, of course, owns the truth in any of this. But we may suspect that, since he has been returned to jail, Jon Venables could have done something sufficiently serious to face trial in the future. And what if there are others to be tried alongside him? It is a racing certainty they will argue that any case must be abandoned if the jury has an inkling about their companion in crime. It would be a shame if a tabloid conclusion that this young man has done something awfully wrong turns out to be true and yet he can never be tried because a couple of editors were too blind to our system of justice to see how they might frustrate it.”

Today’s story for Editors eager to please and appease could well lead to far greater injustice.  There was a quote on twitter yesterday to the effect… “They should have hung them when they were 10.  Killing children is wrong”  Ignoring the unintended irony in such a quote… that, it would seem, is a very common view – but they do say that if there was ever a referendum on the death penalty in Britain – the majority would bring back the rope. I would not.  Flawed though our system of justice is (and probably always will be in an imperfect society)  – it is by far better than the rule of the mob.

Jon Venables: the right to know

Justice cannot be served at trial unless Jack Straw holds his nerve on unmasking Jon Venables
Sir Ken Macdonald

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