I had always thought that MPs were not meant to publicly question judicial decisions made in the courts, but it seems that I got this very very wrong. Just a couple of months ago I saw an MP on The Daily Politics who did exactly that.
They were talking about the judge who ruled that the blanket ban on prisoners having books sent in was unlawful when a Conservative MP from Leeds said: “The Judge was absolutely wrong. As far as I am concerned, it was an idiotic decision.”
So, not only is he questioning the decision, he thinks the judge is an idiot for making it! And if anyone was unsure what idiocy looks like, he then went on to demonstrate it by stating that “the library in Wakefield prison has [plenty of] books for each prisoner, and prisoners can order books from outside libraries too if they want to.”
What he clearly doesn’t realise is that the library at Wakefield prison has an abundance of horror or fantasy books, and lots of books on business or sports too, but less than a dozen books on science and mathematics and absolutely no books on game theory or anthropology. What’s more, although we can indeed order books from an outside library, we cannot search by subject, or even by Dewy code, we have to search by title or author. So if you want to research a subject and you don’t already know what books are written about it or by who, you simply can’t get anything!
But what’s new? The courts examined all the evidence and ruled that it was strange to consider books a privilege, yet the MP only has to listen to a couple of headlines and he suddenly knows that the judge is an idiot and prisoners are lucky to be allowed to read at all.
That’s the Tory ‘Rehabilitation Revolution’ in action, folks!