Friday, 7 January 2011

Richard Littlejohn's column. Again. Because I don't like him.

Today's Mail column by esteemed prophet Richard Littlejohn offers another tantalizing view of the written medium used to its full extent, a superb piece of artwork comprised of 1,655 individual masterpieces that resemble both the old masters, and words. Well, ok. I lied. Now, I'll start by giving Littlejohn some credit - his end paragraph sticking up for Billy Bragg wasn't too bad. Pity about the rest of the article.

 Today's article was an attack on the police. Not a literal attack, of course, this isn't a blog about bank robberies or anything. But anyway, I digress...
  Speed limits - perhaps you break them, perhaps you don't. I'll be virtuous and claim unabashed, that I've never broken the speed limit. Then again, I don't drive. However, speeding is a serious offense - on average 9 people die on British roads every day, and 85 more are injured. Of this, the Mail claimed (In a 2006 article), only one in 20 of these accidents is caused by speeding. Is that all, only one in 20? Gosh... In reality, that works out at 3.2 deaths every week, and 30 injuries, on average. Now, this isn't a huge weekly figure, but I image that for the friends and families of 3.2 people, this figure is far too high.

  Mr. Littlejohn, of course, disagrees. He refers to the conviction of Mr. Michael Thompson, who was fined for flashing his headlights to alert moterists of a nearby police car.
Presiding magistrate Jean ­Ellerton said: ‘We found that your flashing of your headlights was an obstruction, we found that you knew this action would cause ­vehicles to slow down and cause other motorists to avoid the speed trap and avoid prosecution.’
And your point is, pet? (Pet? Ah, because she's a woman. So you patronize her, brilliant! Another brilliant blow for equality.) 
For years, the Old Bill has insisted that the purpose of speed traps is to encourage safe driving and enforce the speed limit — not to secure convictions and raise money. Mr Thompson’s prosecution blows that argument out of the water. (Yes. It has destroyed society as we know it. Right now, packs of wolves are roaming the streets, sentient and demanding blood. Babies turn and eat their own mothers.)
By warning other drivers of the speed trap, he was encouraging them to slow down and drive safely. So what’s the problem? (Well, let's say I see some police officers on their beat, who have stopped to survey passers-bye. Their job is to encourage people to not commit crimes and to feel safe. Passing them, I warn approaching pedestrians there're policemen up ahead. Or better still, I go and find some would-be murderers, and warn then about the police. They flee, and because of my action, there is no murder. Of course, these people go uncaught, and I don't tell the police about a felony I was aware of. So what's the problem?)
In what way was he obstructing the police, other than preventing them nicking people? He's stopped them nicking people, as you so eloquently put it, when they are breaking the law. This is clearly obstructing the police.
Silly question. That’s exactly why he was prosecuted. Yes. For obstructing the police. Do you want obstructing the police to be legal? Do you live in a fantasy world, where we can go around pushing policemen off cliffs or something?

 He goes on:
Unfortunately, there are coppers who measure their success by the number of arrests they make, no matter how trivial the alleged offence, not by the number of lives they save or the number of crimes they prevent. (As I demonstrated with maths earlier, catching speeders would prevent crime and save lives. It would do this in a very simple and easy fashion.)

 They delight in showing us who’s boss and deliberately antagonising law-abiding, tax-paying citizens (Yes, I image there are police officers like that. Of course, there are people like that in every job in existence. Some people just aren't very nice, and of course, its a shame they ruin it for the rest of us. But really, should we judge the whole of the police force by the actions of a few people? I mean, there are some so-called journalists who peddle bigoted, misleading, fear-mongering columns in tabloid newspapers, but we can't judge their whole kind by a few bad eggs). What’s worse is when they are supported by senior officers, the allegedly-independent CPS (Ooh, are you hinting at a conspiracy here?) and, especially, the magistrates who are supposed to uphold justice.

 This case should never have reached court. And when it did, it should have been thrown out. Speeding costs lives. I've given you the figures. It isn't hard not to speed, and people are rarely in enough of a rush to justify over three deaths a week. Indeed, many speed limits are in place around schools and pedestrian areas - would you be in favour of people helping speeders to continue speeding near where your kids are educated? Because, frankly, I think having to leave your house a little earlier every day to drive to work is a prize worth paying if it saves just one life - when, in fact, if it could save 166 lives a year.
But no, Mr. Littlejohn would rather live in his fantasy world, where the role of the police is simply to terrorise and oppress good white folks, and let terrorists run amok, than accept that laws are actually in place for a reason.
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  1. pretty poor effort i'm afraid, especially considering the size of the target. and if you actually did find some 'would-be murderers', and by warning them of the existence of the Police they then didn't commit a murder, that would actually be a good thing.

  2. ^^^ what anon said. I agree with the general point about Littlejohn and about speeding, but I also enjoy nitpicking. What 'felony' have 'would-be murderers' actually committed that you could report them for?

  3. Yea, it was a bad example, an attempt at hyperbole gone wrong. The point was, yes it is good that this action stopped people from speeding. But it didn't stop them speeding pernamently, or make them realise why speeding is illegal. They only stopped speeding briefly, out of fear. But, I suppose that's the point of the law. Perhaps we could set up a system where our every move is watched, by a sentient computer. That couldn't go wrong. Overall though, it was a poor comparison - there are few similarities. How about I see the police officers, then warn some vandals or shoplifters? More plausable. They stop their crime briefly, so as to not be caught, then continue. They do this out of fear of being caught, like the speeding/headlight dipping scenario. It's good they stopped, but their ways haven't been amended, so it might have been better they'd been caught. Better?

    Incidentally, if we're nitpicking, I'm pretty certain planning to commit murder is against the law... But yes, the grounds of proving it and so on are difficult, especially since they're hypothetical and rather two dimensional. I have no idea what their motivation is, either. Or why they're presumably planning on the street, in a way that will make them walk past two police officers. Perhaps they're carrying signs proclaiming they're planning a murder, but that just makes the whole thing more ridiculous...


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