There\’s a little meme going around the blogs at the moment, which are, were, the best blogs, the best blog posts. There\’s even which were the worst being asked.
Megan McArdle asks a slightly different question.
I\’m actually more interested in what people would select for their own best blog posts. Who do they think they are, at their best?
Why, we might take that as our very own little game, why not? You, you other bloggers out there. What do you think is the best blog piece you\’ve done? Take up to five if you wish. Spread the meme far and wide.
Of my own output I\’ll go with this:
Those who win their appeals at the first attempt will get no compensation. Others who have spent years in prison will see any pay-outs capped.
A discretionary compensation scheme, introduced in 1985, which paid out £2m a year would be scrapped immediately because it had become "increasingly anomalous", Mr Clarke said.
Scrapping that scheme means people will not be allowed compensation if their cases have been quashed while going through the normal appeal process – winning at the first attempt.
And new limitations will be placed on claimants under a statutory scheme – which will remain in force – which currently pays out £6m a year.
"The changes I have announced today will create a fairer, simpler and speedier system for compensating miscarriages of justice," Mr Clarke said.
"These changes will save more than £5m a year which we will plough back into improving criminal justice and support for victims of crime."
So let’s think through what happens when someone is wrongly convicted shall we? They lose some years of their life to the prison system. Sad but true and there’s no way we’re ever going to have a justice system where this doesn’t actually happen to some unfortunates at least occasionally.
What matters is what we do when it does happen.
There are a few other trivial things that happen too. They miss seeing their children grow up perhaps, lose their jobs and careers. Most will probably lose their house, whether rented or mortgaged. Some trauma perhaps at finding the State imprisoning you for no good reason.
All in all you could say that there’s some direct damage, both economic and psychic, from such wrongful convictions.
So what does Charlie the Safetly Elephant suggest? That if you’ve only spent, what, 20 odd months, damn near two years inside (the length of time it usually takes to get an appeal heard), lost perhaps your house, job, children, maybe even marriage, well, that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, eh? Y’know, bad things happen, not my fault Guv?
And for what? To save 5 million a year? 5 fucking million? Out of 500 billion that he and his wastrel compadres are spending each year?
That is, 0.001% of public spending is going to be saved by not compensating those whose lives have been irretrievably fucked up by the actions of the State?
Have these people no shame?
Do you know what else costs some 5 million a year? Subsidising the snouts in the trough in Parliament. Literally:
parliament\’s £5.7m annual catering subsidy
Talk about your misplaced priorities mate. Nope, sorry, I don’t care how nice he was to Rachel and her Dad (eventually), think nothing of whatever laws have been passed about the incitement to terrorism and give, quite frankly, two shits about the consequences of this statement.
Charles Clarke should be hung from the nearest lamp pole, assuming we can find one to bear the weight of the fat fucker, the assembled political parties forced to watch as he tap dances on air and happy children gambol at his feet.
If we as a society get things wrong and imprison the innocent it is our duty, as that very society, to both say sorry and to compensate them as best we can. What we offer can only ever be inadequate but to deny this moral fact, to save the price of MP’s pork pies?
You fuck Clarke, for shame.
Yes, I\’ll stand by that: makes up in part for some of the inanity I\’ve been responsible for I think.