Reading the papers today I see that Cameron has said he feels ‘physically sick’ at the thought of prisoners getting the vote. Has he forgotten that Lord Archer was once a prisoner? Now – I feel sick at the thought of Lord Archer having any say in politics, but that has nothing to do with his criminal record.
Archer isn’t the only politician to spend time in jail, but the difference for these men is that their old-boys network allows them to bypass the restrictions the electorate are subject to. They can return to friends, family and high-paid jobs affecting millions because their friends are also lords, MP’s or corporate bosses. Hence their survival during the expenses crisis.
Why does Cameron feel sick?
Perhaps the real question is, does he feel sick, or does that just make a good sound-bite for his target voter? Either way, it’s a popular sentiment for his party and their feelings are strong enough to blind them to their hypocrisy of having ex-cons in their ranks.
Surely the reason they feel sick is because they have decided that anyone committing a crime is a Britain-hating, drug-taking sex-fiend. There is no acknowledgement in this view of the real drives behind criminal behaviour. What about the starving who steal bread, the destitute who steal to try and give their children fashionable toys – to prevent them being bullied in our shallow, materialistic society? As humans we all crave love, warmth, food and a sense of security. If we cannot get these things through legitimate means we may get them through harmful means.
Certainly there are people who get a kick from crime, just as some people get a kick from parachuting or extreme sports. It seems obvious, however, that offered the chance to have warmth, food, love and security without too much trouble, even the majority of criminal thrill-seekers would prefer a legal lifestyle, and would find their thrills rock-climbing or bungee-jumping instead. It makes no sense to jeopardise ones freedom unnecessarily, ergo the criminal must believe there is some necessity in their crime.
The truth is that the vast majority of prisoners are not drug-abusing rapists and murderers anyway. Most are there for petty crimes and more will join them as our system increases its own gravity. For example, even if one only spends a week in jail, one must spend twelve months being monitored in society.
Should your probation officer decide you are a risk during that year, for any reason, even with no hard evidence, they can send you back to jail for six months. Once the probation service is privatised it will do whatever keeps the budget down, running as efficiently and profitably as our rail services, or G4S at the Olympics.
Through such means it will slowly become harder and harder to escape any crime. Already the re-offending rates are massive. Under the new system they will only get worse.
Cameron feels sick at the thought of criminals in the same way he used to be scared that the rough boys at Eton might steal his lunch money – his manicured hands can bear not the least coarseness. It isn’t just prisoners, he feels sick about anyone who doesn’t belong to his club, the ‘Etonian Elite’. Cameron is an unashamed bigot.
Even though immigrants contribute more in taxes than they cost in benefits, Cameron is going to deny them benefits. Even though working immigrants are essential to the survival of our health service, he wants to stop them getting ‘British’ jobs. And he hates the poor too. While the rich profit beyond the dreams of avarice during this recession, the poor must choose between warming themselves or their food, yet the poor are blamed for our economic condition. Despite the fact that energy bosses and bankers give themselves massive bonuses, corporations dodge billions in tax and the rail chiefs run the network into the ground while taking huge salaries, it is the people on benefits, struggling to afford food, who are labelled lazy scroungers and blamed for our woes.
But it all ties together. The NHS has been privatised by stealth, over-managed and under-funded, politicians have legislated our health-service into a position where it simply cannot function. Then, once it has become impossible for nurses to provide adequate care, the Conservatives have legislated so that nurses who fail to provide care can be imprisoned!
This is appalling when seen as it really is, stripped of political spin, but it is only a clear example of what has been done to the entire underclass. Slowly but surely the poor have been criminalised, so that as they starve they offend, not just against Cameron’s own over-privileged sense of decency but against the law. Twenty years ago politics axed our mental health services and we saw prisons begin to fill with those who could not cope in the world, the schizophrenic and the mad. Now, once again, our jails are slowly filling with the destitute, this time the poor and the homeless.
No wonder Cameron feels sick at the thought of prisoners getting the vote – since it is himself and his political cronies, and the other, equally guilty political parties who put them there. Prisoners are slowly moving from being the sinful of our society to being the sinned against, the dirty evidence of a politics that has come to serve only the interests of the rich and powerful. The thought of it makes me sick too.