Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Saturday 24 September 2011

Letters to Lillys.

WHAT with holidays and other hoo-hahs it's been a while since our last delve into the mailbag, so let's put on our goggles and rubber gloves to see what we've got.

(I know of Fleet Street agony aunts who open their post in just such a way. I see no reason to throw caution to the winds).

First up is this piece about the early release, two-thirds of the way through his sentence, of the man who watched Baby P abused and killed by his stepfather. Some of the newspapers got their knickers in a twist about him being freed, but failed to take Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to task.

Tom said: "You've got to let him out at some point." Richard added: "Great, let's move him in next door to you then." Max said: "Meanwhile Manchester's courts have locked up a fifty-year-old alcoholic for looting a box of Krispy Kreme during a riot. The system really does value property over people."

And Nik pointed out:
"Ken didn't have anything to do with the justice system when Jason Owen was arrested, tried, convicted or sentenced... that was Jacqui Smith. Let's have the right people held accountable..."
Ed: Ken is the one in charge now, so he's the one to ask about it. Otherwise we'd be asking every previous cabinet minister back to the year dot.

Then snoresheet columnist Johann Hari was given a slap over the wrist for making up quotes, misleading his Editor and his readers, and dragging the reputation of his newspaper through the mud, but rather than being sacked was sent to New York for three months. This offer to retrain him the foxy way drew 100 per cent approval.

Justin said: "Bravo!" Rachel added: "Bravo indeed!" And Enid said: "That's just the half of it, Lillys. But I'm afraid he just doesn't get it."

Jill added:
"Brilliant - spot on. And he didn't just set up a fake identity, but he stole the real identity of another (real) journalist to make vile attacks on people he didn't agree with or failed to see he was a living legend. It drove me nuts that so many seemed to think it was an issue of right and left, when it was all about right and wrong, no more, no less. Don't understand at all how he can still be in a job. He'll never have any credibility again."
Tim said: "What bugs me is that there is apparently nothing any of us can do about it - it turns out, as usual, that however badly caught out you get, if you have the brass neck to just ignore everybody you get away with it."

This post about the International Space Station and things to feel positive about on Mondays went down well with Mark, who said: "I do so like your positive blogs. That's not being sarcastic, I really do."

Paul said:
"I very much like your take on the benefits of research and development. I would have so in favour of funding and building the Large Hadron Collider out of a small portion of the bank bailouts and then enjoying the employment, expertise and brand-spanking-new physics leading to patents leading to innovation leading to future revenue all owned by the UK...That would be a way out of our recession. We could be the Hong Kong of Europe, an offshore island of free thinking hard working people not bound by European nonsense."
Martin added:
"You are right about the fact that those innovations might have come about eventually, but having that cutting-edge science, primes the universities and encourages people to take up science and engineering. Just look at how our nation has declined from the one that created Concorde (most engineers will tell you that Concorde was as technically challenging as going to the Moon was) and the jet engine to one now that bales out half-witted mongs who lose our money and then rewards them with a bonus. We are one of the biggest designers and manufacturers of satellites in the world, yet this successful industry is ignored. We give billions to bankers, perhaps we should be giving money to people who make things instead?"
Then ex-minister Elliot Morley became the latest expenses-fiddling MP to be let out a quarter of the way through his sentence and this post compared it to the 2010 Tory manifesto which had promised with a straight face to "clean up Westminster".

Manfred said: "'Tis the rich wot gets the pleasure, tis the poor wot gets the blame."

But Guy pointed out:
"The rules are being followed just as for anyone else. Sentencing is chemin-de-fer. It's just you don't know the rules, only the most egregious cases normally being newsworthy. 'Prison time' means the nominal sentence not the time that will be served in prison. Almost none of them has a previous conviction. All plead guilty and all will have made appropriate protestations of remorse. This is weighed and counted and determines the sentence. A judge if he strays from the guidelines has to produce a solid, clear, allowable reason, if he isn't just going to waste the public's money (many many thousands) getting appealed. Early release likewise is subject to rigid rules, which you have either to be unusually stupid, a maniac, or honestly believe yourself to be innocent and say so, to fall foul of."
Ed: I'm fairly certain none of them has expressed any remorse, and in fact they all spent thousands in legal aid arguing the criminal justice system had no jurisdiction over them. They changed their tune when the same system gave them early parole.

The most popular post by far this week was about Tory minister and millionaire Jonathan Djanogly's.

Rachael said: "That cunning stunt should be in jail." Sam asked: "Will this actually get through though? Will other MPs not see this and do their best to avoid being linked to it in any way? Much like that awful woman Dorries. If only writing to my MP and asking her to fight this had any point whatsoever."

Stuart wrote:
"Jonathan Djanogly is just another example of politicians who are totally disconnected from reality. Multi-millionaires who will never have to worry about money have no concept of the hardships they inflect on the 'average' person with their ongoing stupidity. Let's have a campaign to say that no politician can serve more than two terms in central government whether that's the Commons or the Lords. Once that's done they're banned from public office forever."
And Chris took the time to write a highly personal email which he has kindly agreed can be reproduced in full, with a few changes to prevent him being identified.
"I was an abused husband. In a strange situation: I was a war veteran. I had been raised that one should never lift a hand to a woman, no matter what. The abuse began with verbal insults. Over a short period of months it elevated to being hit with wooden rolling pins about the head because of temper tantrums and my cheek being gouged with surgical tweezers used in a downward stabbing motion; the cause of which I cannot recall. I was between a rock and a hard place. Here was I, a well-built man and a veteran exercising supreme self-control not to allow my self-defence instincts to rule me and hit back. Yet I was looked on by my colleagues as some form of mewling puff (as one chap called me). When I eventually complained to the police they detained me claiming that I had caused injuries to her. Admittedly I had, by scraping the skin off her knuckles where she had repeatedly punched me in the head until I turned around and shoved her onto the floor. I then had to wait seven months until the police dropped the charges with no apology or explanation forthcoming. I appreciate your article, particularly the tone of exasperation. Keep up the good work. Some of us out here are counting on your voice. Admittedly adding to it with my own, less conspicuous, voice. Thank you."
Which is a rather humbling way to sign off. Thank you to Chris for letting me pass his story on to you.

Have a good weekend everyone - we're due a last burst of summer next week.

Foxy out.