• 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.