Legal case is just laughable

PUBLISHED: 12:34 16 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:14 06 May 2010

ARE we all going stir crazy, trapped in a namby-pamby, topsy-turvy society where right is all too often regarded as wrong and the utterly stupid is applauded as innovative and worthwhile? What prompted me to ask was the news that our wonderful Government

ARE we all going stir crazy, trapped in a namby-pamby, topsy-turvy society where right is all too often regarded as wrong and the utterly stupid is applauded as innovative and worthwhile?

What prompted me to ask was the news that our wonderful Government had caved in over the issue of prisoners and drugs.

Some consider it verging on lunacy for the Home Office to have lost its bottle in a legal challenge and agreed to pay out tens of thousands of pounds to six prisoners and ex-lags because they were forced to stop taking heroin or other drugs in jail.

And that could open the floodgates to getting on for 200 more claims from ne'er-do-wells.

That amounts to an awful lot of money which would come out of the taxpayers' pockets - yours and mine.

Am I reading the situation correctly? Drugs are a major reason for crime. Many prisoners are behind bars because they have committed shoplifting, street muggings, burglaries and the like - often bringing misery to the victims - to steal property to sell and use the money to buy illegal drugs.

When they get banged up, the supply from their dealers dries up. Smuggled drugs are available in prisons but obviously that's not good enough for those who threatened High Court action. They want to be supplied officially.

In mitigation, defence lawyers often tell judges that since their clients had been on remand in prison awaiting their court appearance they had experienced a period of being off drugs and were determined not to go back on them.

So they welcome a spot of cold turkey to help them turn their lives around. It's a pity others don't feel the need to grab the opportunity to try to help themselves, rather than insist on getting official approval to carry on with a habit which may well kill them.

So what next? Perhaps the alcoholic prisoners who form a large part of the jail population will gather together and threaten the Government with the High Court if they don't agree to change current practice and make booze available behind bars rather than just in bars.

After all, their need is just as urgent as the drug takers - and what they ingest is not even illegal, so where's the problem?

Another news item this week sent my memory racing back quite a few years.

When I was a kid, central heating was a luxury few people enjoyed.

So in wintertime when Jack Frost was knocking on the door we tended to stick together as a family unit in the living room, where the coal fire was burning brightly.

Bedtime was a bit of a ritual - donning pyjamas and dressing gown and grabbing a hot water bottle before dashing upstairs to the cold bedroom and jumping into an equally cold bed.

So the emergence of a more affluent society with central heating everywhere was welcomed.

But it seems we may have gone nearly full circle, judging by the latest piece of advice from energy supplier Npower which has raised its prices three times this year.

Now it is cheekily telling its customers facing record heating bills to encourage their children to go to bed in woolly hats or clutching microwaveable rice cloth bags.

Socks and sleeping bags are suggested on really cold nights.

They'll be talking about thermal underwear next.

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