One Law For Them, One Law For Us

Politicians sometimes seem to get favourable treatment too.

After a much publicised incident when Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott lashed out at a voter the authorities let him off without so much as a binding over to keep the peace or a couple of hours community service. `Thats just John,' said the Prime Minister, explaining his deputy's attack on an ordinary citizen with his usual sickly grin.

I wonder if the police would have been so forgiving if old Mrs Smith had said the same thing after her son John had punched someone in the street. Would I escape scot free if I punched John Prescott?

When Labour Home Secretary Jack Straw's car was caught speeding at over 100 mph on a motorway the politician's driver escaped any censure on the grounds that the Home Secretary had been in a rush to get to a meeting.

When a man was arrested under anti-terrorism laws another Labour Home Secretary, David Blunkett, publicly announced that the man arrested `posed a very real threat to the life and liberty of our country' and stated that the security services believed that he had connections with al-Queda groups.

When lawyers warned that the Home Secretary's remarks could jeopardise the man's chances of a fair trial, the attorney general brushed aside the complaint and said that Blunkett's remarks did not `create a substantial risk of serious prejudice to any proceedings'. Personally, if I was the defendant I would think that any sort of prejudice might be unwelcome. And I certainly believe that if you or I had made widely publicised judgmental remarks about a man who had been arrested but not yet brought to court we would ourselves have found ourselves in court.

After a local village burnt an effigy of a gipsy at its annual Guy Fawkes night celebration, twelve people were arrested for `racial' crimes. But when Jack Straw MP described gipsies as people `who think that it's perfectly ok to cause mayhem in an area, to go burgling, thieving and breaking into vehicles, causing all kinds of trouble' he was not arrested. The difference? The twelve villagers were ordinary folk. Jack Straw MP was Home Secretary at the time.

Taken from Why Everything Is Going To Get Worse Before It Gets Better (And What You Can Do About It) by Vernon Coleman, published by Blue Books. Available at the webshop on this site, at other web based bookshops and at all good terrestial bookshops.

Copyright Vernon Coleman 2004