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Thursday, 13 August 2009

Misinterpretted guidelines?

According to one of our Child Protection charities has published a report criticising the courts for "misinterpreting" sentencing guidelines issued by the government and intended to "protect" underage offenders. Anyone who has ever tried to use any "guideline" issued or written by the Whitehall W*nk*rs will know that it is almost impossible to make any sense out of them because they are so full of caveats. But, perhaps more importantly, the very existence of these "guidelines" is proof that even our courts are now politicised. The whole principle on which English Law is founded is that the courts are independent of the Executive, yet the issuing of "guidelines" by the Executive on any matter pertaining to the application of the law (Which the issuers of the guidelines have generally written so badly anyway!) is an interference in the autonomy of the Judges, magistrates and Justices.

The Charity is concerned that the children dealt with by these courts are among the most vulnerable in our society. Many have been abused, many are just entering their 'teens and most re offend within months of release. They point out that custodial sentences actually don't work for the majority and is an expensive operation. What they fail to identify is what the alternatives are.

This is a problem with almost every lobby group campaigning for something. They seldom put forward a credible alternative, or, where they do, it is usually a far more expensive option which they genuinely expect the taxpayer or the victim to fund. Recently I received a copy of an irate e-mail to a Police Force in the South West which outlined a large part of the problem. The police are almost powerless to deal with "Youff" crime, so they don't respond to any complaint by a member of the tax paying public until something or someone is damaged or injured. Then, of course, the courts have to deal with it. The breakdown of any form of discipline and its replacement by the "reward" philosophy of the Dr Spock Adherents is largely to blame for this, but I have to admit that it is much more complex even than just that. The massive expansion of the "Social Security" state has given rise to a complete generation of people who genuinely believe that there is no need to provide anything for oneself or ones offspring because "society owes us". I live on an estate where there is a high percentage of such families and the offspring are completely undisciplined, surly, probably abused and becoming, as they grow, more abusive and threatening themselves.

How does one address this? So far the politicians have tried "Boot Camps", "Young Offenders" institutions, Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and a plethora of "Community Service" initiatives. Nothing seems to work. Probably because the real problem is in the homes these kids come from, with parents who shouldn't be, drug takers and alcoholics raised on the concept of "self" being more important than anyone else. This is the generation that will trash a home to feed a drug habit and then find a defending attorney who will persuade a sympathetic jury that they cannot be held accountable - because they are addicted .... And children are quick to learn.

At the very heart of this problem is the social "science" philosophy that society can be "re-engineered" to be more egalitarian and "fair". That poverty is something society imposes and not a consequence of lifestyle choices. OK, there are exceptions to that and I can think of one good friend who is "in poverty" through circumstances beyond their own control. I have no problem with state assistance for those cases, but I do have a problem with politicians who think they can strip the product of my hard work to reward feckless layabouts and maintain them in a style to which I can still, after 45 years employment, only aspire. Here is the dichotomy - our social welfare programmes, set up originally to help those who could not work even though they wanted too, and those who had reached an age where they should be able to retire comfortably, has been high jacked by the socialists who think it is about "wealth redistribution" and coupled that with their desire to restrict, control and dictate lifestyle to everyone. He who controls the income, controls the recipient. Or so they think.

So now we have entire families who have never worked and live in large taxpayer provided houses entirely on "benefit" and causing mayhem for their neighbours. We have permanent "protest" rentamobs who are funded by their weekly "benefit" cheques and we have pensioners living on pensions that are below the breadline because the politicians and civil servants refuse to address the monstrous imbalances in the system they have created to keep their feral electorate happy.

The courts are the last line of defence against those who have no social responsibility and no understanding of the very things which make any society work. Sadly they too are no longer independent and are now a part of the political machinery which is slowly destroying the very society it is supposed to be defending. Today's report is simply one among many indicators that show that the philosophy driving our political classes is deeply flawed because it does not address the core issue - that discipline begins in the family, within individuals within families and once that breaks down or is restricted or removed - society itself is threatened.

If locking up these feral children and young offenders isn't working then we seriously need to look at the alternatives and quickly. One step at a time perhaps, but, as I see it, we have to break the culture which suggests that individuals are not responsible for their own actions; that parents may not impose discipline (And I DON'T mean by beating the tripe out of a child!); that military service is "bad"; that society "owes" the feckless a living simply because they have irresponsibly brought a child into the world; that government can "redistribute" wealth through the tax system to anyone other than their own bank accounts and those of their hanger's on; that children are "victims" and their victims are potential abusers.

Locking up a child should be a last resort, but I suspect it may, in some cases, be the only way that child might even begin to get treatment for the underlying problems it has. I have encountered kids who are so seriously damaged by the age of 10 that I am not sure anything can be done with them, but we have to try. Yet how can you do anything unless you can identify what you are actually dealing with - and here the child protection laws actually work against the child concerned because they prevent any action which may impinge on the child's "rights".

This is not an easy problem, nor will it be resolved by simply addressing one part of it. Like any jigsaw, it can only be solved by reference to the whole picture. So don't hold your breath, Whitehall and Westminster have no idea at all of what the picture even looks like and in the meantime will keep fiddling and interfering without actually understanding any of it.

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