Went to visit Bill and Ben, the Whisky-pot Men last night. I play the part of Little Wheeze, and the Dreadful Arnott is the gardener we all have to hide from. It's become abruptly freezing here. Some light snow flurries but nothing on the ground. Well, not quite nothing. It rained, and then froze, so the entire town is like a skating rink. Normal winter service has resumed.
I had a rage against the antismoking machine planned but then I read this and this and thought 'Well, it's not so bad for me. I don't have pubs but none of my friends go there any more anyway. At least that hasn't happened to anyone I know and I thank a God I don't even believe in that nothing even remotely like it has ever happened to me.'
Stolen Child remains stolen and his parents have never been accused of any kind of abuse, certainly nothing physical. I know this because if the father had done anything remotely like that, his own family would have disposed of him in a piggery somewhere. They are not the 'forgive and forget' kind and they are not interested in excuses where a child, especially one of their own, is harmed. There has been no such harm in Stolen Child's case. Why Stolen Child is still stolen has never been made clear. Why other children are left with rabid psychopaths is also never made clear.
Then again, it's not always easy to tell. I read recently of a father who killed his child while trying to change a nappy. The child's wriggling threw him into a rage. He had never done anything to the child before. That is not an excuse but it does explain why nobody thought the child was in any danger.
This sort of thing has always happened, not usually to the sickening extent of that particular case but it's not new. What is new is that such incidents are not confined to the shame of one town these days. Now the story travels the world in minutes. And not always accurately.
Remember the retired teacher in Bristol who was questioned over a murder? His life was made hell by the press. His name, his face, his personal details were beamed to all corners of the world and yet he had nothing at all to do with any crime. Unfortunately for him he happened to be of memorable appearance and in this Righteous world of hate and suspicion, he is always going to experience some idiot or other asking him 'how he got away with it'. The whispers and the sly glances will never stop even though he has done nothing wrong.
I don't know who caused that child's terrible injuries but I would be willing to cut them off at the knee and stand them in salt. That is not a joke, not hyperbole, that is something I would genuinely like to do to such people. Believe me, that would be just the beginning.
Who was responsible? Nobody knows for sure. The parents were arrested but that always happens in such cases. They were released on bail which doesn't seem a likely police action if there was solid evidence against them.
So maybe they did, maybe not. The vigilantes don't care. Someone must pay and they aren't interested in trial by jury - and that's not much of a surprise. All those cases of violent offenders let off with a slap on the wrist, all those thugs getting community service, and the random nature of sentencing even if the lawyers don't manage to get the criminals off with 'human rights' have destroyed faith in the justice system. Why don't the police rush out to catch burglars? What's the point? The courts just let them go again.
Recently, two men each received two-year prison sentences. One fiddled his VAT and harmed nobody, the other stabbed a stranger in the street. Where is the logic? Where is the justice? The rise of vigilantism is inevitable when the courts refuse to apply any sense at all to the law.
I don't blame the police. If they catch someone speeding then they can be sure of a conviction and an actual fine. If they catch a teenage thug pushing a grandmother's face into the ground, they know the courts will let the thug back onto the streets even if he has done the same thing five times before. In that position, wouldn't you concentrate on the parts of the job that are going to get results? The police risk serious injury when tackling the thugs and if they know the courts are going to pat them on the head and send them on their way, why would the police take that risk?
This can be traced into the current shamble of social work too. They have those Labour targets still, and the targets must be met. If you're a five-foot female, is it easier to meet the target by taking children from a middle-class smoker or from a family with a history of spontaneous and random violence? The courts won't help and the social workers know it.
So do the thugs. These are not entirely moronic people, they have realised that the more confrontational they are, the more violent they are, the more the police and social services will leave them alone. If they end up in court they'll get an ASBO, a fine they won't pay and community service they won't do. They know it, the police know it, the social services know it and the judges don't care. The outcome is that the officials stop bothering with these people because they know the courts will simply let them go.
I have to wonder whether the legal profession actually wants to see a rise in vigilantism. They are certainly acting as though they do. Vandalise a power station in the name of Green Lunacy and go free. Fail to show respect in a court and go to jail. The Judge's decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. They don't care what you've done, they are more interested in who you are. Fit the approved groups and go free, join the denormalised and go to jail.
They're not much different to the vigilantes, really. They deal harshly with whoever they don't like and they do it on a whim.
The damage done to that small child is appalling and if I witnessed the vigilantes tearing apart the right culprit, then I couldn't possibly recognise them. However, vigilantes have no means of knowing whether they have the right culprit but they have already started attacking someone anyway.
The vigilantism is the direct result of the court system's destruction of the law. Laughable sentences are handed down which send people to holiday camps where they can demand respect and human rights to their hearts' content. Deportation orders are ignored and violent criminals get rehomed alongside people who know nothing of their past. Okay, they've done their time, but it has reached the point where the criminals have more rights than the law abiding.
This is now a place where you can be arrested for saying something a little bit offensive but get away with robbery and violence. Look at the comments on this idiot's story. Sticks and stones may break their bones but words will hurt them more. The people of this place have become pathetic, more concerned with a dropped sweet wrapper than a thrown grenade, harsher on words than on actions. Sentencing is random, conviction depends on how you dress, outrage is generated over a casual remark while someone having their throat cut in public is merely tut-tutted at. The shallowness of modern society is sickening.
It's not just smoking, drinking and chubbiness that are denormalised. The destruction of the language started a long time ago. 'Racism' was devalued from a word to describe the sort of activities carried out by the Ku Klux Klan, the slave trade, Hitler and so on, to something that means 'someone who questions the wisdom of uncontrolled immigration'.They became the same thing.
Now we hear that smoking within sight of a child is child abuse. Giving a child sweets or a hamburger is child abuse. Letting a child put salt on their food is child abuse. Giving a child a small taste of wine at Christmas is child abuse. The value of the words 'child abuse' have declined into something trivial, something to be applied to any disapproved activity.
The people who did this are happy to devalue the words in this way in the name of Righteousness. They don't care at all about children. They don't care about immigrant minorities and they don't care about gays or the disabled or anyone else. Nobody matters to them. They are only interested in control.
So they equate drinking within sight of a child with what happened to that baby in Gravesend. To them it really is the same thing. It is another opportunity to control others and means absolutely no more than that. If you think what happened to that child is disgusting, try adopting that Righteous mindset for a moment and see if you can come out of it without smashing everything in sight. Vicious child abusers are rare. The Righteous who delight in such opportunities are not.
Common sense is dead. All the old sayings are gone. All the wisdom accumulated through thousands of years of human ingenuity was wiped away in just two decades. Doctors moan that people don't trust them when they spout demonstrable lies at us every day and kill more people in their hospitals than smoking, obesity and drinking combined. The police moan that people don't trust them when they arrest the victims and let the criminals claim compensation. The courts complain that people don't trust them when they lock up Granny for not paying council tax and let the man who stole her money go free. Civilisation as we know it is over. We are now in the time of the professionally-offended, the bleaters, the whiners, the useless and the spiteful. There is nobody in any position of authority we can unequivocally trust any more. The civilisation you see around you now is a tired seventies plastic veneer, already cracking and flaking away.
So we are in this alone. Not together, as Cameron pretends. His government, thrilled by their control over private property so far, now want to extend their malice to private finance. Don't imagine that Labour are not drooling at the prospect of making use of the Robin Clegg law when the stupid bastards vote them back in.The Brown Gorgon already ruined private pensions, it is but one more small step to private savings and private property is on a knife-edge now.
Those vigilantes know all this. They know Clegg's intended control of private finance will go far beyond banks and into their savings. Politicians, judges and all manner of officials like to imagine they are the most intelligent beings on the planet, but so do earwigs. In a direct comparison my money's definitely on the earwigs because they actually care about their offspring and they don't shit on their own species.
Those vigilantes know the law has become a parody of itself, a sick and vicious practical joke played on us all, and they are not the mindless cattle the Righteous have played them for. They have been furious for a long time but the British way is the way of the bitten lip, the make do and mend, the silent shrug and acceptance of the way things are. They don't like it but they put up with it.
Perhaps, at last, not any more.