Conservative Commentary
"the blogger whose youthful effusions have won him bookmarks all over Whitehall ... horribly compelling" - The Guardian
Great Weblogs
The Enemy Within

Most recent posts ...

Thursday, November 27, 2003
Justice for some

Jean Freke should count herself lucky she is a woman. The eighty year-old widow awoke in the night to discover two six-foot burglars smashing her door down to steal whatever they could, callously assuming she was too old and vulnerable to mount any defence. The spirited lady, desperate to protect her pension money, rushed downstairs with her late father-in-law's army sword, and the cowardly thugs fled in fear of the octogenarian.

Mrs Freke is rightly a heroine to decent people, and even the British police took the now unknown step of speaking in defence of a victim of crime.

Detective Inspector Garry Smith said: "The attack on Mrs Freke was despicable and cowardly with a vulnerable widow being targeted in her own home.

"We are absolutely disgusted with what has occurred. Jean fought back and fought them off with her sword and I take my hat off to her."

Quite right, too. But what if she had been an old man? I suspect that very different treatment would have followed, authority's idea of legitimate self-defence at best extending only to vulnerable old women, if them. For whatever reason, his 'disproportionate' behaviour would no doubt be the subject of instant investigation by the police, and he would now be preparing for a court case as we speak.

One need not extrapolate this from the ridiculous treatment Tony Martin received after putting one 'persistent offender' permanently out of action. We only need to remember what 77 year-old Bill Clifford endured a couple of years ago. A gentleman who fought in the Second World War for this country, his retirement was plagued by feral young hooligans taking out their aggression on anyone who dared to challenge their tyranny of misery. As they broke his windows and attempted to kick down his front door one day, he flung open his door in fury and scared them off with a replica handgun.

You can probably guess what happened next. The police who were so indifferent to the suffering he endured were suddenly right on the scene, and the poor man faced criminal charges for his desperate efforts. On the day of his court appearance, Mr Clifford, who had harmed no one and had never been in trouble with the law before, hanged himself rather than endure the shame of being treated like the criminals against whom he defended himself.

It is instructive to imagine how Bill Clifford must have felt in the days and nights before he took his life. The anger everyone else feels about cases like his, certainly. But also how much of his sense of self-worth must have been destroyed as he contemplated his time in the dock. One supposes he thought back to his childhood and his youth, to all the people who had known and respected him, to everyone who had looked up to him for his military service and to all the friends and family who felt able to trust and rely on him. It must have rattled around in his mind how each one would have viewed his present predicament; in particular what his parents would have thought if they had lived to see their son answering criminal charges in court, how his stern grandfather or warm grandmother would have reacted. Imagining how his neighbours might watch from their windows as he made the journey to the court house that morning must itself have been a haunting thought. With his suicide he was at least spared the reality.

What an outrage against the most elementary principles of justice such cases are. What a signal they are of the sick liberal cancer at the heart of British society.

A few weeks ago, Tony Blair was back at the usual place on Remembrance Sunday, laying the standard wreath at the Cenotaph in honour of Britain's war dead. I'm sure his contorted expression of awe and sadness was a sterling effort. Yes, he can put on a good show of respect for the conservative values that move his people. Certainly Blair knows how to exploit people's patriotism and fairness when it suits his agenda. But Bill Clifford and those like him are the reality of how Blairite Britain treats its war heroes. Don't ever forget it.

Great Sites
Tory Party
Reading ...