We'd resolved to eschew the fevered imaginings of the Daily Mail for a bit. It rots yer brain, you know. And makes hairs grow out of the palm of your hand.
But today's article by Richard Littlejohn is so … well, so right that we just can't resist. Damn. It probably makes you go blind, as well …
Jackboot Jacqui brings back the ducking stool
Good morning, here is the news. The Government has today announced plans to bring back the ducking stool in a new crackdown on paedophiles.
Anyone remotely suspected of having an unhealthy interest in children will be immersed in freezing water until they confess. If they still refuse to admit their guilt, they will be handed over to a committee of Accredited Persons, who will be authorised to burn down their houses and kill them.
Under new provisions, known as Jacqui's Law, gibbets are to be erected in public parks for the summary execution of any unaccompanied adult discovered within a five-mile radius of an adventure playground.
Dismissing fears that this could lead to miscarriages of justice, the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said it was better that one innocent man went to the gallows than millions of toddlers were molested in their beds.
Her statement follows the lynching of an attendant at a council boating lake, who was spotted sitting beside a notice advertising pedalos for hire.
Accredited Persons are being given free rein to batter down the front doors of suspected paedophiles living in any town which has a school. They are empowered to seize computers and search record collections for copies of Gary Glitter's Greatest Hits.
They are also authorised to search pantries for traces of confectionery, which could be used to lure unsuspecting youngsters into a fate worse than death.
Under Jacqui's Law, no adult will be able to buy a packet of jelly babies without a licence and a full criminal record check. Those who refuse to comply will be tarred and feathered and have "Nonce" tattooed on their forehead.
From midnight tonight, it will become an offence - punishable by up to 30 years in prison - to walk a dog in a public place. The Home Secretary said it was a well-known tactic of predators to use a puppy as a pretence for abducting children for the purposes of the vilest forms of sexual gratification. Better to keep all dog-walkers off the streets than risk a repeat of what happened to Sarah and Maddie.
When it was pointed out that Madeleine McCann was snatched from a holiday apartment in Portugal, Miss Smith said it only went to show you couldn't be too careful. You never knew where these monsters would strike next.
That's why the Government is to bring forward plans to make everyone who comes into contact with children undertake ordeal by fire. Schoolteachers, scout-masters and sports coaches will have to walk barefoot across red-hot coals to prove they do not harbour lascivious thoughts towards the young people in their charge. Anyone failing to complete the five-mile course will be burned at the stake....."
OK, so you get the gist. But ducking stools are only one step beyond what is already official government policy.
Not content with giving her vigilante army of Accredited Persons quasi-police powers to spy on us and hand out fines, Jackboot Jacqui has decided to permit just about anyone to snoop into other people's backgrounds.
Single mums will be allowed to demand criminal record checks on their boyfriends to make sure they're not paedos, real or imagined.
Police will be required to provide details not only of arrests and convictions, but also acquittals and suspicions of 'worrying behaviour'.
Even grandparents and neighbours can demand an investigation into the background of any person who comes into contact with the children of family or friends.
In practice, that means absolutely everyone, unless you happen to be a hermit living in a cave in the Orkneys.
Ministers and police chiefs insist that those under suspicion will welcome the opportunity to prove they have nothing to hide.
Ah, yes. Those who have nothing to hide have nothing to fear. Where have we heard that before? It's the mantra of the tyrant down the ages.
Never mind the data protection laws or the privacy provisions of this Government's beloved 'yuman rites' act. In Brave New Labour Britain, when it comes to kiddie-fiddling, we are all suspects - guilty until proven innocent.
Only last week, we learned that in Telford, Shropshire, adults taking the air near children's playgrounds are being approached by council wardens and ordered to account for themselves and their intentions.
How many more times? If you give anyone any kind of authority, they will always, always abuse it.
This exciting new scheme will apply only to suspected paedophiles - not burglars, or rapists of girls over 16, or murderers released early, for that matter.
Wouldn't you want to know if you had a housebreaker or a killer living next door? Of course you would. But in this country, once someone has served their sentence, the slate is supposed to be wiped clean, so the book remains closed.
Just in case you think I'm being soft on child molesters, I'm not. For the record, I'd throw away the key. And therein lies the problem. If incurable paedophiles were locked up in secure units, none of this would be necessary.
The trouble is that the system is geared to putting them back on the streets after five minutes, whenever possible, rather than building more jails and hospital units to accommodate them. How many times do we read that someone has reoffended shortly after being let out, despite evidence that they remained a danger to the public?
Allowing every Wayne and Waynetta to trawl through the national criminal database in search of the slightest suspicion of 'worrying behaviour' isn't the answer. It's the starting pistol for mob rule. Meanwhile, last night a known pedestrian out walking his labrador was found hanging from a lamp-post after a patrol of Accredited Persons spotted him buying a quarter of sherbet lemons at a sweet shop just four miles from a paddling pool popular with unmarried mothers and their children.
The GOS says: Very good. I wish I'd said that.
Actually, come to think of it, I did say that. What's more I've been saying it and things like it for years. It's just nice to have someone agree with you for once.
The fact is that this paedophile hysteria is entirely a product of the British media. They know that we are a prurient, dirty-minded lot, and that nothing attracts attention and sells newspapers like stories about child sex. Disgusting and shameful, but true.
That's not to say that paedophiles don't exist - they do, of course. And while we may be able to beat Croatia at football, our paedophiles can't hold a candle to those in Belgium and Austria. When it comes to child abuse, the Belgians and the Austrians are the daddies … er … so to speak.
There have always been people who wanted to have sex with children. In nineteenth century London literally thousands of child prostitutes were able to make a living. The difference is that these days we have a highly effective media system which ensures that every case is instantly common knowledge, to be dissected and pawed over by every newspaper hack, pontificated on by television commentators, pronounced upon by publicity-mad politicos and religious quacks, and chewed over in every public bar in the land.
This is enormously dangerous, not only to the mental health of the nation and the self-confidence of our children, but to the individual safety and freedom of every man. Everyone knows the story about the doctor set upon by a mob of vigilantes who didn't know the difference between a paedophile and a paediatrician. A couple of quotes from visitors to our Guestbook …
"This government hasn't got a good record with people's private data at the best of times. Suppose someone with my name but some horrid habits was captured, and it got onto my file. I don't know about it until I go for a job or get kicked out of a charity and wonder why. Then there's the job of clearing my name. And don't forget that 'mud sticks'. Meanwhile, a disk goes missing ..."
"On the subject of mistaken identities, this is a very real danger. You know this thing we all do but don't admit to, searching on Google for our own names? I happen to know there's actually a paedophile in an American prison who has exactly the same name as me. Scary thought."
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