The Home Secretary, Theresa May looked both inadequate and stupid yesterday as she had a very public tantrum over the recent ruling by the UK’s Supreme Court that those on the Sex Offenders Register must have the right to appeal against lifelong registration requirements.
Before we discuss anything else, let me make a few things absolutely crystal clear:
- The ruling did not come ‘from Europe‘, as portrayed by Sky News and the Murdoch owned Sun newspaper. It came from London, was handed down by British judges sitting in a British court in a building just across the road from Big Ben.
- The ruling does not result in what the tabloids refer to as a ‘perv’s charter‘ as it only allows a right to appeal, not removal and even that cannot be exercised until 15 years after release.
- The Home Secretary’s assertion that “There will be no appeal against the decision of the police” is worthless. Judicial Review will be available
Having got a few facts straight, let us examine what this move is really about as in reality, it has very little to do with sex offenders and a great deal more to do with Conservative ideology, headlines and politicians’ lust for power.
Firstly, there is a simple formula that TheOpinionSite.org has referred to before that says, “Closing hospitals costs you votes, bashing sex offenders wins you votes.”
This simple mantra is engraved on the forehead of every government minister and has been for the last 20 years. It is engraved particularly deeply on the brows of Home Secretaries. The current incumbent of that office, like her female predecessor (the £160,000 expense fiddling Jacqui Smith) seems to rely on it more than most, judging from her vindictive and very bitchy performance yesterday.
Of course the many and, I have to say often very thick and ill-informed MPs who stood up in succession to support the Home Secretary’s statement could not wait to be seen on camera kicking the sex offender football around for the benefit of their tabloid reading constituents.
Even the more clever MPs who pointed out the flaws in the statement didn’t have the guts to tell the truth; that the sex offenders register is a waste of time, a waste of money – that’s what the police think anyway (http://theopinionsite.org/?p=88), is over bureaucratic and only covers those who have been convicted, not the majority of offenders who haven’t been caught yet.
As for those in the child protection industry whose jobs are fast disappearing, they were content to come out with their usual and completely inaccurate statement that all sex offenders always re-offend which, as the government’s own research shows, they don’t.
In fact, as studies from Durham, Northampton and other leading universities show, those who offend against children have the lowest recidivism rate of all at about 20%, those who commit offences against adults about 32% whilst the re-offending rate for most other offenders, muggers, robbers, drug dealers and serious violent offenders is about 54%.
Strange, don’t you think that there is no register for them.
The figures above are rarely mentioned by the ‘child protection experts’ or the ‘professionals’ because the truth hurts them. They make their living by instilling fear into people and they do that by telling lies and using exaggeration whenever possible.
Strong words, yes but Google the figures yourself and you will be surprised at what you find. Fear is a powerful weapon and is often used by the ‘professionals’ and ‘experts’.
Only this morning it was reported by the BBC that police in Devon have issued 2,000 letters to parents warning of possible child exploitation. The police have stated that the intention of the letters was “reassurance to parents”; the result has been precisely the opposite. Nothing like instilling a little fear to ensure that your force’s budget isn’t cut too severely.
So if this political manipulation is not actually about sex offenders or the true, as opposed to the perceived risk to the public, then what is it about?
TheOpinionSite.org, together with many others believe that this is about a weak, right wing Conservative government (forget the now useless Liberal Democrats) that is trying to satisfy the power lust of right wing politicians on both sides of the House of Commons.
These MPs have used the recent rulings regarding votes for prisoners and now the sex offender register to try to get rid of the Human Rights Act and also, if possible force a rejection of Europe and all it stands for.
This is about Britain (Scotland has passed its own, more sensible ruling) being an island whose population have an island mentality, are xenophobic and insular, who want to stay in the past and whose love affair with punishment and custody is never ending; at least, that is what the government would like to believe.
The truth is though that Britain cannot afford not to be part of Europe, must come into the 21st century, abandon its Victorian vision of Law and Order and, to be frank, realise that is no longer a world power and that it has very little influence anywhere.
May’s statement yesterday was full of holes.
For example, she said that the police would be responsible for the appeal decision making process but she was not prepared to give them extra money to do it.
She proposes that those on the register must inform the police if they wish to take a day trip abroad. The previous regime only required notification if the trip was for 3 days or more. This was for good reason too. If the police have to go through the cumbersome and time consuming business of taking all the details from every person on the register every time they travel, even for one day, the workload will be enormous.
May also forgot to tell anyone that this particular change would actually cover 50,000 people at present, not just the 20,000 or so on life registration.
Once again there would be no extra money to cover the extra workload. This at a time when police across the country are already reducing the number of unannounced home visits to offenders because they do not have sufficient resources.
Perhaps the biggest hole of all was over the right to appeal that the Home Secretary says will not exist.
That was until an MP mentioned Judicial Review by a High Court judge. Then, and very reluctantly she had to admit that JR was always possible.
This whole argument is part of a war between on the one side the government, Parliament and the tabloid fed ‘little Englanders’ whilst on the other side are the judges and Britain’s international treaty and legal obligations.
It’s all a fraud too:
- The measures will be enacted by means of a statutory instrument rather than primary legislation and therefore cannot be voted down
- Nothing will happen for at least another year as there is to be a ‘consultation’
- Other cases are already pending in the courts which could sink the plans anyway
- It’s all going to cost money which the government does not have
- The fact that it is secondary legislation makes it far more likely to be the subject of Judicial Review
There is one other point that should also be made and it is the most important point of all:
Judges and courts exist to protect the individual and the weak from the excessive power of the executive, the government. We may not always like or approve of the decisions that the courts make but they must not be ridiculed and attempts must not be made by the executive to undermine them as this government is attempting. To do either leads to only one possible result – dictatorship and a police state.