There seems to be a real gloom in the news at the moment. Most of our guys are back from the Gulf but I am still very worried about the future there, the use of the British Armed Forces as political tools is not new but using them as a political tool in someone else’s election is really scraping the barrel. There are over 100,000 American Troops in Iraq at the moment so I cannot believe that 850 Jocks from the Black Watch will make any difference other than on the political level.
You can tell that there is an election looming, the Government are casting around for headline grabbing policies that will go down well with “middle England” and then can be quietly dropped after the election, if they get back in. The latest of these is the disclosure of a defendants past convictions, this may seem like a good idea but it creates a very dangerous president. It makes it almost impossible for someone to turn over a new leaf, let me give you an example.
Mr. X. was found guilty of theft in his early twenties. A few years later after serving his punishment he is arrested for theft again, there is no tangible evidence against him other than the testimony of one of his past associates (who hate him for ditching them and going on the straight and narrow). He is in court and his past conviction is read out and influence the jury, he is found guilty again despite the lack of evidence. This would now indicate a pattern of crime and make it increasingly difficult to live a life without crime. Like so many other things the government is going for what they think of as the easy fix rather than sorting out the core problem.
The problem is not that juries that are too lenient, the problem is that we are not catching enough criminals in the first place, that would be solved by having more police and letting them get on with their jobs.
The British legal system is very old and a lot of the potential contradictions and problems have been sorted out over time, governments should be very careful before changing things as fundamental as this.