Cameron ‘dynamite’ on crime?

David Cameron is getting himself in such a mess over economics and is also attracting the ire of his own right-wing. So, what better to reassure the faithful than popularist tub-thumping on law on order. Conservative Home reports the following quote, which Cameron was expected to give in an interview for the BBC’s Politics Show, as being ‘dynamite’:

“The moment a burglar steps over your threshold, and invades your property, with all the threat that gives to you, your family and your livelihood, I think they leave their human rights outside.”

For those that have followed the Conservatives crime policy however this is hardly surprising. It is fully in line with Chris Grayling’s ‘Justice is beating a burglar brain-dead’ raft of policy proposals. Meanwhile, Shadow Justice Minister, David Burrowes MP pens a piece for Conservative Home  today Burrows takes Labour to task for ‘failing the victims of crime’ and shockingly he mentions the ‘r’ word (rehabilitation):

We need to not so much ‘redefine justice’ as refocus justice on delivering personal, open and honest punishment, reparation and rehabilitation.

 One wonders how long such ‘wooly liberal language’ would last in Cameron’s real Cabinet. However, there maybe hope for Burrowes yet because he also makes use of the other ‘r’ word, ‘restorative’ [justice]. This shows how the Conservatives sometimes struggle to make their ideology fit the English language.  Justice can never be properly restorative because it is never possible for the situation that existed before the crime to be restored unless Messers Burrowes, Cameron and Grayling have invented a time machine. In practice, when justice is angled this way it tends to tilt towards being more punitive because in a linear; eye-for-an-eye way its assumed the route towards ‘restoring’ the situation is to punish the perpetrator.

However this is not the case as Burrowes kind of acknowledges;

For many victims, a simple apology is all they are really looking for. Other victims want answers to their questions – why me? And some victims want to confront the offender with the real impact of their crimes, to make them understand the impact of their actions on others, in the hope that the offender will be motivated to change their way of life.

He wrongly labels this ‘restorative justice’; it isn’t, in fact its rehabilitative (for both the victim and the criminal, hopefully). If Cameron actually got off his high-horse for a second and stopped in his grubby vote-grabbing popularism then he might be able to cobble together a decent policy on crime. However, I wouldn’t hold your breath…..

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About darrellgoodliffe

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