Drugs, deluded ravings and doddery fools

I suggest we all wander to the council estate and sit on the stairwell injecting heroin

Share

The easiest speech to make in the world must be the one at the Conservative conference about crime.

The easiest speech to make in the world must be the one at the Conservative conference about crime. You start by moaning how we're being flooded with criminals, and only the party of Jeffrey Archer, Jonathan Aitken and the Thatcher family can stop this happening. Then you scream that prisons have become holiday camps, trying to be fiercer than you were the year before. By next year the speech will start, "Now prison has become SO soft there are many jails in which prisoners are no longer buggered by their mentally ill cell-mates. What comfort is there for the victim of a crime if they know that, even if the criminal is caught, they will take a shower unmolested in this way? I ask you."

One delegate yesterday was so anti-crime he went full-circle, saying "Criminals will benefit from a ban on hunting, because the police will be forced to spend their time chasing law-abiding citizens hunting." So under the tough Tories, you'll only get away with disobeying the law if you can prove it's a law you don't agree with.

But if the police do pursue hunters the way this Tory fears, it would make for marvellous entertainment, a three-cornered chase between the fox, the hunt and the police. They could bring back The Sweeney, so Jack could go, "George, I tell you what villain I heard is back out and on the prowl, ready to cause some naughties: Cholmondley-Bartholomew-Fothergill-Brocket, that's who."

Strangely, the main plank of the pro-hunting party's attack on crime will be a "war on drugs". But to take one example, surely all that clubbers who take ecstasy are doing is meeting up once a week to enjoy a pastime that harms no one else, as part of a long tradition that goes as far back as 1983. And it's a lot less violent than hunting. If you introduced a fox into the Ministry of Sound, it would be surrounded by people cuddling it and cooing, "Cool, I love you, you're so bushy, man."

But the party of Kenneth Clarke, (who is paid £100,000 a year as a senior director of British American Tobacco), just went on and on snarling about the evils of drugs.

In any case, even with hard drugs, anyone who has worked in this area knows only the most desperately pathetic character becomes a crackhead, so what good will it do to shout: "We won't put up with this." You might as well have a "war on suicide", and scream: "We're fed up of having to clear people up from under bridges and behind exhaust pipes. So let these yobs know, under the Conservatives there will be zero tolerance for this anti- social behaviour, and this will happen on day one."

Getting someone off hard drugs is a complex business, but obviously depends on them feeling their life has some purpose, as it's hardly an attractive pastime if things are going well. That's why it's very unlikely that the chairman of a Rotary Club would announce: "This year, for our annual summer get-together, I thought we'd try something different. Instead of the usual garden party, I suggest we all wander to the council estate and sit on the stairwell injecting heroin into each others' wrists. Now, I'm aware some of you may be concerned this could lead to one or two of us offering ourselves for prostitution to get another fix. But fortunately Lady Smethwick from the antiques shop has kindly donated this charming set of wicker chairs, which she assures me we can exchange with a local dealer for enough gear to get us all mashed for the whole day."

Fortunately there is a model for the tough-on-crime policies of the Tories, which is America, with its zero tolerance and electric chairs and its Death Row and sentences such as a 10-year stretch for stealing a pizza. And as we can all see this works like a dream, as barely a single felony takes place in America from one year to the next.

The Tories must know their catchphrases would have no effect on crime. They're aware that David Blunkett has been as proudly draconian as any of their lot. But still David Davis said Labour's attitude to crime is, "Fancy mugging an old lady? Why not try it?" If he's going to make stuff up as ridiculous as that, you'd think he could at least be a bit imaginative. He could have said "Every pensioner in Britain lives in constant fear of pillaging. And what does David Blunkett propose? To abolish the police force and replace it with a tank full of tropical fish. I ask you."

Their problem is they have to appeal to the doddery idiots slumped in the hall, but know that in the real world, the "bang 'em up" speeches are meaningless. So Mr Davis said he'd introduce a drug rehabilitation programme for every prisoner. And one woman yelped that her Tory council had cut crime by providing a skateboard park for local kids. Surely this went against everything else that was said, but the dodderers didn't seem to notice and clapped as usual, exposing the utter pointlessness of the whole conference.

None the less, Blair may try to copy them by announcing his own war on drugs. He'll incinerate an entire city, then tell us it doesn't matter in the slightest when it turns out there wasn't so much as an ounce of dope in the whole place.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Development Manager

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Tradewind Recruitment: Humanities Teacher

£120 - £180 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: The Humanities Department of this ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Music Teacher

£120 - £180 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Newham Position: Music Start dat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Sutton Position: Science teacher S...

Day In a Page

Read Next
This coming Tuesday marks 100 days until the general election  

In defence of Westminster - why we should go easier on our politicians

David Kirkby
Kim Sears is reported to have directed abuse at Berdych  

Kim Sears: A woman at a sports event makes the front pages! Shame it’s for swearing and not participating

Alice Jones
Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee