Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What’s Worse? Looting or Invading?

Politicians take great umbrage when poor people violate property laws (as in the British riots) but the same leaders readily absolve themselves of guilt over much more serious crimes (like aggressive war in Iraq that killed hundreds of thousands). Such was the hypocrisy of British parliamentarian Jack Straw, writes Robin Beste.
 
By Robin Beste, Consortium News, August 15, 2011

Jack Straw, former foreign secretary in Tony Blair’s government, was quick to his feet, following British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech on the UK riots in Parliament on Aug. 11.

“We need more prisons,” Straw told Cameron and the House of Commons.

He may get his wish, looking at some of the sentences that have already been handed down in the hundreds of cases rushed through emergency courts — no doubt at the government’s bidding, to show that instant retribution will take precedence over justice.
A mother of two, who was asleep at home during the riots, has been given a five-month jail sentence for accepting running shorts stolen by someone else. A 23-year-old student got six months for stealing a £3.50 case of water from a supermarket. A 43-year-old man is in jail pending sentence for stealing items worth £1 from a newsagent.

But, if Jack Straw is right and we need more prisons, he should be one of the first inmates, alongside Tony Blair, who he served so loyally throughout the 13 years of New Labour government.

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