Friday, August 6, 2010

Poor Crispin

The Prisons Minister seems to spend every other day being slapped either by his bosses or by the Daily Mail. Either he is trying to break out of old, failing, policies or he's a blithering idiot. Time will tell, I expect.

One of the issues he has seemingly had to retreat on is overturning Jack Straw's order on "public acceptability". You may recall that The Sun ran a story, a couple of years ago, about a Halloween Party held by some of the women in Holloway. Straw, as was his way, instantly promulgated an order that no activities in prison should be allowed that could not satisfy a test of "public acceptability".

That this was utterly spineless is just same old, same old. That was Straws way. What irritates me most about this order is that it assumes that The Public have any bloody idea of what goes on in prisons. An opinion is only as valid as the information and understanding on which it is based, so any test of public acceptability regarding prison activities will almost always be worthless in the face of general ignorance.

Crispin Blunt wanted to withdraw that order, returning to Governors the leeway to decide what was acceptable in their prisons. Or, as the Sun and Mail put it, "taxpayers pay for prison parties". The Dynamic Duo at No.10 slapped that idea straight down.

Undeterred, Crispin then declared a push for restorative justice and was promptly parodied by the media morons as "prison terms cut for saying sorry". Never thought I'd sympathise with a Prisons Minister...


  1. Restorative justice was a fundamental plank in the Lib Dem election manifesto. Let's hope that isn't shot down so easily by deputy PM too.

  2. It just shows how split and weak they are; flitting around and fighting one another.

    Its up to these so called servants of the people to make a stand for the good of all, stick to it, or stand down.

  3. The Holloway story was in the daily mail just a few weeks ago, i remember reading about it in inside time years ago, costumes made from bin liners, a washing up glove filled with water, put in the freezer, to make a frozen hand in a bowl of apples etc. Hardley a fortune spent on this party.

  4. "An opinion is only as valid as the information and understanding on which it is based, so any test of public acceptability regarding prison activities will almost always be worthless in the face of general ignorance".

    That is a fair point!

  5. You would think that the actual sentence - loss of liberty for at least the tariff period - would be sufficient, without turning prisoners into damaged goods in the process.
    Most will regain their freedom sooner or later so the better fitted they are to re-join the outside world the better.

  6. The media exists to make money, the Sun, Mail etc love to play up incidents like the parties as a way os shocking the nation into the lives of luxury led by those incarcerated. (tongue in cheek there)

    Straw may be doing the world of good in the long term, Labour may have to go back to their core votes, working class people, which won't suit big business, ie media owners like Murdoch, so the coalition may get to usher in more positive policies without the right wing press attacking them too much, lest they promote Labours ideals, wishful thinking maybe, but one can dream!

    After all the public, spoonfed by the media, believe the country went to pot under Labour and their policies, so why would they listen to Jack Straw.

    On the subject of the 'parties' we had some blinding gigs in the yard of the Scrubs at the turn of the century, the Mail would have ceased to exist had they known such would have been their affront I honestly believe heads would have exploded at the pressure as they sat incandesant, forget steam out of the ears, eyeballs would have been everywhere.

    It brought joy and solidarity, especially a reworded version of 'No Woman No Cry'.

  7. The nearest we got to a party in cookham wood was a play by some of the inmates, the rest of us were promised a chocolate bar and a coke, in brackets it said "can of" one of the kangas said they had to spell it out, as someone would come and argue the toss about wanting a "line of" good time had by all, till bang up at 9. Hardly anything the daily mail ought to get worried about.