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Friday, January 26, 2007 

Scum-watch: It had to be a dirty paedo pervert, didn't it?

The Scum is having a field day with John Reid. Gone from praising his illiberal rabble-rousing rhetoric, it's turned on him with all the typical tabloid viciousness of building someone up to then tear them down.

JOHN Reid was dealt a new hammer blow yesterday when a PAEDOPHILE was freed because of his failure to build prisons.

It just had to be. To quote an idiot, you couldn't make it up.

Paedophile Williams — who had more than 180 sickening images on his computer — was let off with a six-month sentence and suspended for two years. He was also placed on supervision.

Married Williams, 46, of Blaenau Ffestiniog, was ordered to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for seven years. He was caught after his wife called in police. The revelation that a paedophile is among those escaping justice makes any hopes Reid might have of succeeding Prime Minister Tony Blair seem ludicrous — without taking account of the crime figures released yesterday.

What I'm about to say a lot will probably disagree with, but Williams is not technically a paedophile. A pervert, yes, but a paedophile, no. A lot like sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken, looking at sexually explicit photographs of children does not make you a paedophile. If we want to get really pedantic about it, then Wikipedia reproduces the diagnostic criteria for psychiatrists:

The APA's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 4th edition, Text Revision gives the following as its "Diagnostic criteria for 302.2 Pedophilia":[27]

* Over a period of at least 6 months, recurrent, intense sexually arousing fantasies, sexual urges, or behaviors involving sexual activity with a prepubescent child or children (generally age 13 years or younger).
* The person has acted on these urges, or the sexual urges or fantasies cause marked distress or interpersonal difficulty.
* The person is at least age 16 years and at least 5 years older than the child or children in Criterion A.


So it's not clear that Williams would be a paedophile, unless we're also now considering thought crime when it comes down to labelling people. The Scum also doesn't bother to mention the mitigating circumstances which were involved in his case:
that he pleaded guilty, and that the case had taken a long time to come to court, through no fault of his own. It's not as if he was entirely let off or freed - his sentence has just been suspended, and he's been put under supervision and has to sign the sex offenders' register for 7 years. The head of the NSPCC therefore obviously didn't bother even to look into the background of the case before she opened her mouth:

It is unacceptable that people who have committed crimes against children are not jailed simply because prisons are too full if the severity of the crime requires a prison sentence."

Unless we go along with the assumption that those who view child pornography are as a result going to want "new" material and that this will drive abusers on, i.e. supply and demand, an argument that is shaky to say the least, then Williams wasn't committing a "crime against children". Rod Liddle, in one of his rarer lucid moments in the aftermath of the Pete Townshend arrest,
wrote a decent piece questioning the underlying assumptions all around the viewing of child pornography. I'd personally say that the sentence Williams received is about right. Others will more than likely vehemently disagree. In Keith Morris's case on the other hand, he would be a paedophile, or if we're being really pedantic and the child was older than 13, an ephebophile. He has been released, I assume with a tag, when otherwise he would have been held on remand. Anyway, I've been sidetracked. On to the Scum's hilarious piece for looking for Reid's brain:

JOHN Reid skulked off to his office yesterday as The Sun stepped up the hunt for his missing brain.

He looked blank as he emerged from his smart Westminster town house.

I said: “Good morning, Mr Reid. The Sun and our readers are desperately trying to find your brain — can you give us a clue?”

He stared at the floor and shuffled to a Jaguar.

I asked: “Can you recall the last time you used it?” — but he sped off.


...

Finally, Tim went to the last place likely to know anything — the Home Office. Staff wanted to help — but said they were “not fit for the purpose”.

Oh my aching sides.
But guess what? The Scum have found the prison ship!

THE Sun yesterday found a prison ship John Reid could use to ease the jails crisis — the SAME ONE the Government sold just six months ago.

HMP Weare is still moored at the same Channel port as it was when the Home Office got rid of it for just £2.5million in August.

Mr Reid repeatedly told The Sun that the Weare had been sold off and could not be bought back — while his aides even said it was being lined up for the scrapyard.

For just £2.5million? Seems like a shrewd deal considering its sea-worthiness certificate had ran out,
that it had no fresh air and that the ship itself was in the wrong area for a prison.


But last night it was revealed the vessel has undergone a huge refit and could be bought back — but at THREE times the amount the Home Office got for it.

The Sun stepped in after disclosing the scale of John Reid’s failure to deal with the prisons overcrowding fiasco.

Within a few hours we discovered the Weare, which was opened in 1997 and closed in 2005, is still moored at Portland, Dorset.

It had been completely refurbished by its new owners, Sea Trucks Group, a Nigerian-based firm specialising in supporting the offshore oil industry.

Sea Trucks have spent a small fortune upgrading the vessel to provide accommodation for up to 1,000 people such as oil rig workers.

Exactly, as would the Home Office have had to spend a small fortune to keep it going. It instead decided that it wasn't worth the money, and also explained that it could be shut
because a new private prison had opened in Peterborough. Instead of spending £10 million buying the thing back the money would be better spent on an actual new prison, or on refurbishing extra places that already exist. None of this matters though, it's just something to bash Reid about with.

“As I understand it, when it was used as a jail it only had the least dangerous prisoners so that the security measures did not need to be the very highest.”

At the height of its use the Weare — built in the 1970s and used to accommodate soldiers in the Falklands — held 400 low-risk inmates.

The Sun here doesn't bother to inform its readers of extra details other than it held "low-risk" inmates -
it was a Category C prison, one security level above an open prison. Elsewhere, it's time to "name and shame" some more people involved in the Home Office, whether they're actually responsible for the chaos or not:


NINE top civil servants are responsible for day-to-day running of the Home Office.

They are meant to ensure prisons, probation, immigration and other services meet ministers’ targets.

Sorry to break it to you lot, but if the Home Office’s current shambles is the best you can do, you need your heads examined.

Obviously. Now that they've been insulted by the UK's best-selling newspaper, they're just bound to look themselves in the mirror and think: God - am I really this shit?
On then to the Scum's leader:

THE fiasco that is the Home Office gets more ludicrous by the minute.

It is now clear that John Reid is not the only one whose brain is missing in this benighted government department.

There are 73,359 public servants serving under the Home Secretary and his clutch of ministers and senior mandarins.

Not one of them has managed to find an answer to the problem of a prison network littered with signs declaring: “Sorry, No Vacancies”.

While officials and ministers shrugged, it took The Sun just two hours to find a jail ship floating on England’s south coast.

It is empty but spruced up and ready to take 1,000 criminals.

Laughably, it is the same ship decommissioned by Charles Clarke when he had his turn at making a mess of the Home Office.

If you presented this as the script of a Carry On film it would be rejected as too ridiculous.

Yes, and this sprucing up wouldn't have involved removing any of the normal features of a prison by any chance, would it? I'm sure the workers for Sea Trucks would have loved having their doors locked from outside without being able to get out, or other workers spying on them through the hatches for looking in. It was decommissioned because it wasn't worth spending the money on fixing it up; the money is now not worth spending on buying it back.

But you would have to be an idiot not to know our jails were heading for disaster.
# Convicts and suspects have been crammed into police cells, taking hard-pressed officers off the beat.
# Courts have been told by John Reid to cut the numbers being sent to jail.

You'd also have to be an idiot to think that having a prison population of 80,000 is sustainable, even in the short term. This isn't a very popular view however though in the Scum.

Which helps explain why yesterday’s crime figures showed robberies rising, and big increases in vandalism and drug offences.

Yep - in overcrowded prisons those inside are even more like to come out and re-offend. The Scum just wants more places built, without thinking about how prison for minor offences, especially for vandalism and drug offences simply doesn't work, especially without treatment programmes in the latter case, which are hopelessly oversubscribed and underfunded.

At the centre of this mess the Prime Minister, The Chancellor and all four Labour Home Secretaries are unable to answer a few simple questions:

Why weren’t extra prison places built years ago?

Most likely because they hoped that judges would take notice of their pleas for only serious and violent offenders to be jailed, but instead they've taken more notice of the media and political climate to get ever tougher on crime. Who is this climate driven by? You guessed it.

Who is to blame for this monumental error?

The last few home secretaries, Michael Howard for starting the "prison works!" crap in the beginning, the tabloids, led by this very newspaper, and some judges themselves.

What about using old army camps in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as England?

Because the money would be better spent on new prisons proper rather than doing up dingy and potentially unfit for human habitation army facilities, not to mention angering and not consulting those who live in the area.

How about that floating jail that has been staring them in the face?

Which err, doesn't belong to the government anymore, would cost way too much to buy back and wasn't worth refurbishing in the first place. Apart from that, great idea!


And why does a crisis have to be a catastrophe before this government gets its brains into gear?

But then, we were almost forgetting. Some of their brains are missing.

Probably because they would rather continue with the idiocy of banging up 80,000 or more rather than face annoying the Sun by going "soft". The current situation is still probably better than further riling the Wade and Murdoch banshee.

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