Liam Stacy, a 21-year-old student, has been sentenced to 56 days in prison for racism. In other words, he has been punished more severely than most burglars, who, if you divided their sentences by the number of crimes they have committed, serve much less time per transgression. There is also another difference between burglary and racism, or should be as far as justice is concerned. The former is easy to define; the latter isn’t.
Let me remind you of the facts. A week ago the Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba suffered cardiac arrest on the pitch. His heart stopped for 78 minutes, and only the timely and expert intervention by medics of the two teams involved saved his life. Though still in intensive care, he’s gettting better, thank God, to the joy of everyone who hates to see a young man struck down in his prime.
Stacey’s immediate reaction to the tragic incident was to get drunk and post an obscene message on Twitter, ending with the words, ‘He’s dead. HaHa.’ When Muamba’s friends, most of them black, took issue with the posting, Stacy responded with vile racial invective.
Louise Barron, acting for the prosecution, waxed indignant: ‘The recipients were disgusted.’ As well they should have been. I know exactly how they felt for I too find quite a few things disgusting.
I’m disgusted every time I see a picture of Tony Blair or Dave Cameron. I’m disgusted at the sight of architectural monstrosities disfiguring our cities. I’m disgusted whenever MEPs, 30 percent of whom used to belong to assorted communist parties, pass laws we have to obey. I’m disgusted when Maxim Vengerov, a tasteless vulgarian, is described in the Daily Telegraph as ‘the best violinist of all time’. And nothing disgusts me more than other reviewers talking about female pianists, such as Yuja Wang, in the terms normally reserved for describing pole dancers (not that she is artistically superior to pole dancers).
Yet whenever I feel that way I tell myself to grin and bear it. Much as I’d like to see those who offend me in jail, I know I won’t because their acts, though in my view reprehensible, aren’t illegal. There is, or ought to be, a difference between causing offence and committing a criminal offence. Stacy is surely a revolting excuse for a human being. But that by itself doesn’t make him a criminal. What does then?
The definition of racism, or racialism, as it should be properly called by those who haven’t succumbed to American usage, is too vague to be enshrined in British law. In this country people traditionally haven’t been criminalised for what they think, feel or say — provided that what they say doesn’t constitute incitement to commit the sort of crimes that are covered by the Decalogue, and I don’t mean those of the misdemeanour variety. No press coverage I’ve seen suggests that Stacy’s rants fell into that category. Neither District Judge John Charles nor the prosecutor claimed they did. So what did they claim?
In his concluding remarks Judge Charles said, ‘At the moment not just the footballer’s family…, but the whole world were literally praying for his life, your comments aggravated the situation. I have no choice but to impose an immediate custodial sentence to reflect the public outrage at what you’ve done.’
Let me see if I understand this correctly. Stacy’s comments ‘aggravated the situation’ — how? For whom? They didn’t diminish Muamba’s chances of survival, for I doubt he has access to the media in his intensive care unit. So whose situation was aggravated? That of the outraged public? But if so, one doubts that any permanent damage has been done: the public will have forgotten the whole incident in a week or two. It always does. One has to come to a conclusion that would have been unthinkable in this country even a few decades ago, never mind centuries: the judge ‘had no choice’ but to pass his verdict in response to ‘the public outrage’ of ‘the whole world’. For ‘the whole world’ (surely a bit of an exaggeration, Your Honour?) and the judge both worship at the altar of political correctness where the EU is high priest.
What has happened to the British? A nation hugely admired by all for its dignified self-restraint has turned into a mob easily given to mass hysteria expertly whipped up by TV and other irresponsible conduits of PC incitement. It started with the Goddess-Princess (‘People’s Princess’, in Blair’s asinine but politically effective term), when she still lay dead oozing ichor on the grimy Paris tarmac. It went on with various pop celebrities, such as Amy Winehouse, who was, nil nisi bonum and all that, truly hideous. Fluffy teddybears, oceans of flowers and, in Amy’s case, bottles of the beverage that did her in acted in the capacity of sacrificial lambs dragged to the altar of emotional incontinence and rotten taste. And now it’s Muamba, who is still alive and, God willing, will stay that way.
There is a difference between sentiment and sentimentality, and as a rule they are mutually exclusive. The mourning sickness of the mob doesn’t spring from any true trauma or any genuine grief. It’s a manufactured rite of passage, a statement of belonging to the High Order of Modernity. Excessive outrage at ‘racism’ is the same sort of thing. But surely, regardless of popular outbursts, our justice system outght to be dispassionate and objective?
And so it would be — if it were indeed our justice system. If it had indeed evolved out of the millennium of British legal tradition rather than representing the dictatorial urges of EU federasts wishing to put their foot down every which way they can. Creating bogeymen out of ‘racists’, ‘mysoginists’ and ‘homophobes’ is a proven trick, guaranteed to work with our brainwashed masses.
Hating people for something they can’t help, such as the colour of their skin, is truly revolting. And being drunk is no excuse — booze only opens the floodgates for the putrid emanations of something that’s already there. But if such hatred isn’t expressed as incitement to violence, it must not be criminalised in a free country. You know, the kind Britain used to be.