Laws Are Like Cobwebs

Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies,

but let wasps and hornets break through.”

– Johnathan Swift

Over the last few years it has become increasingly clear that the law in Britain is applied very differently, depending upon who you are and what background you come from.

There are literally dozens of examples, but here are a few which have been taken from national news reports within the last decade.

A teenager leaves a nightclub and pushes away someone who is being aggressive to them. They fall, hit their head and die. The teenager is charged and convicted of murder and receives a life sentence. Meanwhile, a subcontracted private firm supplies officers to police a London demonstration. A man who has nothing to do with the demonstration approaches one of these officers to find out how he can get home, past the protests. When he gives up and walks away, the officer pushes him over. The man dies just minutes later. The officer receives no sentence whatsoever.

The Prime Minister issues a statement saying that, when someone is found to be carrying a knife, the default position will be that they should be treated as intending to use it against another person. Months later, the Home Secretary announces that there will be an increase in the number of tasers issued to police officers but claims that these are not intended to be used except in the most exceptional of circumstances, where it is necessary for self defence.

The Proceeds of Crime Act is expanded upon and implemented against hundreds of people who have been found to have benefited from crimes such as theft and deception. The claim is that no one should be allowed to keep property which is not rightfully theirs. However, the British Government refuses to return the Elgin Marbles to Greece.

The Government puts on a convincing show of taking a hard line against those who abuse children. Then it comes out that high profile figures in the Justice System (including a number of MPs and the then head of the Prison Officers’ Association) turned a blind eye to the abuse perpetrated by certain high profile celebrities. In response, an even harder line is taken, even against the celebrities who find themselves at the sharp end of such an allegation. But then it emerges that similar abuse may have been committed by MPs themselves and that the Home Office lost the evidence.

A film is made about a fictional assassination attempt against the premier of the United States. The production company are threatened with action and the film is scrapped. Society in general deems such an idea tasteless in the extreme. Then a film is made about a fictional assassination attempt against the premier of North Korea. The production company are threatened with action and the film is scrapped. Society in general deems this an oppression of free speech and the premier of the United States insists upon the film’s release. It is released, around the globe.

You break the law. You are put in prison. The Government says that, by breaking the law, you have forfeited your civil rights, including the right to vote. The European Court rules that this ban in itself is illegal, and the Government are breaking the law. The Government continue to break the law in this way, the Prime Minister saying that it makes him “physically sick” to think he may have to comply with it, but they forfeit none of their civil rights.

The laws of joint enterprise are implemented against an increasing number of people year on year. If you have any knowledge of a crime having been committed and do not attempt to prevent it, you are liable for prosecution. Then a marine is filmed shooting an unarmed suspect at point blank range whilst his colleagues watch on and even agree to cover it up. They will say they saw nothing. The marine is found guilty (how could he not be when the film has been leaked worldwide?) But none of his colleagues are tried under joint enterprise.

The facts are these: if you believe the law is fair, then it should be applied to everyone in the same way. If you believe it is unfair, it should not be applied to anyone at all. Anything else just proves the corruption of our Justice System and Government.

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