Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Bearded Lefty's Blue Rinse Horror

He could easily be the Chief Druid - they've never been seen together

This morning's R4 Today programme featured Prog Con spokesman Mark Easton (aka the BBC's Home Affairs Editor) telling us why Finland's "welfare" approach to young criminals is far superior to our "incarceration" approach. Naturally, there was no mention of the fact that Finland is a very different country - much smaller, no big cities, no mass immigration, much less family breakdown, etc etc*.

Well, what's new, you ask.

Nothing, really. But the 8.10 discussion on the issue featured our old friend Prof Rod Morgan (pic), the wibbly ex-head of the Youth Justice Board who was "resigned" by Home Secretary John Reid in 2007. And he blew the whole thing.

It should have been easy for Morgan. Not only was he batting off Easton's incredibly supportive intro, he was put up against traditional BBC hate figure Michael Howard, who is only ever allowed on to sound scarily of the night.

But the Prof just couldn't control himself. After a rambling diatribe about how awful we are to disadvantaged young thugs, he suddenly started ranting about how Howard had "thrown red meat to the blue rinses in 1993".

Humphrys tried to shut him up but the damage was done - Howard was now the reasonable man, able to remind everyone that it was his incarceration policies - pushed though in the teeth of massive opposition from the likes of Morgan (and, er, Easton) - which had achieved the first reduction in crime for 50 years.

Of course, here on BOM we rise above the cheap stereotyping routinely deployed by Prog Con "thinkers" like the Prof. We'd never dream of calling him a bearded lefty who throws organic muesli to the hippy sandal wearers.

Oh no.

*Footnote. A quick Google immediately tells us the Finnish situation is much more complex than Morgan/Easton would have us believe. A 2006 paper from the Finnish National Research Institute of Legal Policy compares incarceration policies in Finland with those in E&W and notes:

"The Finnish child welfare and penal systems appear to present us with a contradiction. The penal system maintains a remarkably low imprisonment rate, while our preliminary findings suggest that a significant number of minors are institutionalised within the auspices of the child and youth welfare system."

When is incarceration not incarceration? When it's institutionalisation, of course.

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