• Emma Boon, Taxpayers Alliance : Au contrair, mon ami….

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    Above is the excellent Emma Boon of the Taxpayers Alliance with which we have to disagree on this issue of the former MP for Bury North, David Chaytor.

    Mr Chaytor has recently been released from his 18 month sentence after serving a quarter of it.

    When asked for her comment (for the Taxpayers Alliance) Emma responded:
    “Chaytor might not be considered a threat to the public, but prison isn’t just about protecting society from dangerous criminals. It’s also there to offer a deterrent to those who would commit further crimes, and it’s there as a punishment. Given the seriousness of the offence, taxpayers will ask if this was a serious enough punishment or deterrent. He stole thousands of pounds from taxpayers and in doing so he seriously damaged public faith in the parliamentary system. Taxpayers will be rightly angry that Chaytor has served less than half his sentence.”

    The British Gazette most emphatically disagrees. The raison d’être of the Taxpayers Alliance is the efficient use of taxpayers money for the provision of public services. Of course there will always be a difference of opinion as to whether the country should be a high tax large public sector (e.g.; Sweden) or low tax low public sector (e.g.; USA) or something in between (UK), but one thing that should unite all sensible folk is to see what money is collected is not wasted.

    This means hard decisions. It is very easy to cut funding for something you don’t like. Which is why such as Caroline Lucas would loose no sleep over the idea of cancelling Trident. Correction: the British Gazette is totally wrong – Caroline would have a sleepless night as she would spend that evening partying in celebration!

    The fact of the matter is this: Prisons are an area of public expenditure which are vital and yet very few taxpayers would want to see money spent on them. Asked where £100 million should go: a new hospital or new prison the people will nearly always choose the hospital. Given this reality it is therefore vital to reduce the prison population to ease the financial as well as physical cost.

    Prisons work only in the sense that the offender is not at large to commit crimes against law abiding persons – many do continue to commit crimes – against their fellow inmates. Prison is an incredibly destructive answer to offending behaviour. It rarely cures the offender and can in many cases cause a minor criminal who had they been handed down a non custodial sentence would not have reoffended – instead to cause the petty wrongdoer to descend into a recidivist cycle of reoffending.

    The British Gazette is of the opinion that NONE of the convicted MPs should have been sent to prison and that all should have been given Community Service Orders. This of course would have been politically unpopular. The readers of the tabloids wanted to see these unfortunates sent to prison, so sent to prison they were.

    Prisons are vital to keep dangerous felons from harming the public. Mr Chaytor and his crooked colleagues do not fall into this category.

    NB: We speak from experience, being previously employed by a supplier to HM Prisons of building and civil engineering materials and having been inside many British prisons as a consequence. In other words, we know what we are talking about.

    • Of course reducing the prison population will save money, but Chaytor’s was a grave offence and it would have been deeply unpopular with taxpayers if he had been seen to walk free from court after his conviction. It’s not about tabloid readers it’s about a sense of justice being done as part of the process to restore public faith in the parliamentary system. A Community Service Order would not have been acceptable as it is not in line with what other fraudsters get.

      You say that ‘prison is an incredibly destructive answer to offending behaviour’, but simply not sending criminals to prison is not the solution; improving and reforming those institutions is. There is also a separate argument to be had about reducing crime too.
      Best,
      Emma Boon

    • It is quite clear to me that the whole issue of MP’s expenses is not at all understood by the majority of the British public. I do not condone the actions of those guilty of inventing claims. However, I am quite certain that they were all encouraged to claim as much as possible in order to make up what was considered a poor salary.

      How many members of the public would turn up the chance of a tax free hand out if their employer encouraged them so to do?

      It would take a person of impossibly high principle not to make the “allowance” claim….surely?

    • Well, to comment that I’m surprised to read this editorial somewhat understates this emotion. I’m not a tabloid reader and I do have experience – lots of it.

      Since our society opened Pandora’s Box and abandoned all concept and understanding of truth, guilt, shame, remorse and personal responsibility we have become fixed in a vacuum of immorality. Where are the standards and values that made this admittedly imperfect country and its people the most admired and copied country in the world?

      Our justice system – once exported around the world is now, with the help of the Human Rights Act, a laughing stock. We continue to be affronted by daily news items concerning this criminal or that villain receiving wholly inadequate punishment at the hands of our liberal/left judiciary. Crime is crime. There are no degrees of crime. Theft of £1 is the same as theft of £1,000 and should be treated in exactly the same way. There should be no toleration except zero toleration.

      I have a friend who sits as a magistrate. Apart from the constraints on his sentencing actions imposed by nonsensical ‘guidelines’ my friends views summarised by his reluctance to imprison are typical of his liberal/left convictions and are very much part of the problem. I asked him how many of the most recent ten or so defendants appearing in Court expressed contrition or offered any even vague apology? Not one.

      Emma Boon is quite correct and our Editor is not. We have a shamelessly corrupt and criminal society in which the practitioners of crime know absolutely no fear of detection and the condign punishment which should follow. In contrast to past years when there might have been some excuse for crime to support one’s poverty ridden existence,we live to-day in a fabulously rich society where the prime motive for crime is primarily greed – greed for money, drugs, power etc. When the criminal is in prison, I know that my family is safe and that, to my mind is paramount.

      Here is my prophecy: About twenty five years from now I am sure that there will be a Moslem majority in Parliament. When that comes to pass, Sharia law will migrate to fill the vacuum left by the failure of will and the impotency of the judiciary.. Serious peripheral consequences aside, Sharia law will mean the re-imposition of at least some civilised values meaning that our citizenry will once more have to fear the consequences of their unlawful actions .

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