Less fair, we felt in our prickly way, was the rather personal charge that wherever the editor of the Independent lived, 'it certainly isn't in the real world'. Oh dear, the real world again. Where does it exist? Or rather, where can the unreal world be found? The answer to both questions is usually from the mouths and the keyboard fingers of people who have run out of argument, even if they had one in the first place. Geographically and traditionally the unreal world has been said to exist: (a) south of Watford; (b) particularly in Hampstead, though North London generally will do at a push; (c) among folk who drink claret. The real world - nasty, brutish but certainly not short - is almost everywhere else. Weybridge, Devon, Upper and Lower Slaughter, the offices of the Sun and the Adam Smith Institute, all as real as real can be. The unfairly stereotyped taxi driver has a detailed working knowledge of its plains of ignorance, its mountains of prejudice, its plantations of human nature, its wide estuaries of common sense.
And the real world of the Silcott case? Simply that a Conservative Home Secretary decided that the law must be upheld, however distasteful that may be to many people, and that an eminent QC set an amount of compensation under the 1988 Criminal Justice Act passed by a Conservative government. You can argue about that, but the real world need not get its foot in the door. It is too much with us already, awesomely so in a place like Rwanda: no compensation thereabouts.Reuse content