Revenge and Punishment 60

The country is in a mood for revenge. The BBC reports that 200,000 people have signed a petition for withdrawal of benefits from those involved in rioting, while housing associations and councils have started to initiate evictions.

This is madness. If you believe – as I do, and David Cameron claims to – that these lootings were nothing more than simple criminality, then surely they should be treated no differently to ordinary criminal procedure. Criminals do not receive benefits while in jail anyway, whatever the Daily Mail may wish its readers to believe. But deprivation beyond that appears to be the aim of politicians now, wiht those not jailed losing their benefits and loss to those jailed extending beyond their sentence.

I support custodial sentences for many of the looters. I have absolutely no time for gangster culture. Many of these criminals have shown that decent people do indeed need protection from them – in the case of murderers, muggers and arsonists, for a long time. But the custodial sentence for the man who pinched two bottles of water was a totally irrational over-reaction.

If we have learnt anything about punishment in modern times, it is that prison purely as punishment and isolation does not work long term. The purpose must be rehabilitation, training and a better understanding of society and its obligations. There is not enough of this in custodial centres already. To add to it the idea that people should be returned to society in a state of enforced homelessness and with no income, is absolutely mad. There is no other word for it. A more certain way of causing future crime could not be found.

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60 thoughts on “Revenge and Punishment

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  • craig Post author


    All good questions. To which you have to add whether they have actually ever tried to better themselves though non-criminal activity, or whether they live in a social milieu in which criminal activity is glorified and seen as the normal and socially prestigious path.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    “…it is that prison purely as punishment and isolation does not work long term. The purpose must be rehabilitation, training and a better understanding of society and its obligations. There is not enough of this in custodial centres already.”

    There are some of us out in the world, who not only agree with you, but are actively studying ways for implementation of effective reforms – wouldn’t you believe it…

    Which basically deals with what, in summary, is written below , and will be studied across 14 jurisdictions. I welcome all constructive ideas….
    “SUNDAY, APRIL 5, 2009
    Prison and Penal Reform in the Turks and Caicos Islands – Britain’s colonial prison responsibility
    Prison and Penal Reform in the Turks and Caicos Islands

    Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands ( Advance copy – n.b. this is a pre-publication announcement and the original shall be released on the 6th April, 2009)

    Courtenay Barnett has today transmitted his “Prison and Penal Reform in the Turks and Caicos Islands: A Position Paper for Improvements in the Prison System” to His Excellency, the Governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands ( TCI) for delivery to the Secretary of State in London, England . This scholarly work is a call to action for the British Government to fulfill a duty to the people of the TCI in regard to obligations existing under Article 73 of the United Nations Charter.

    Mr. Barnett draws upon his personal experience as a defence attorney in the TCI, and his academic research to define the problems in the penal system as it currently exists and presents practical actions for mitigating them. There has been a steady rise in crime from 1986 to 2009 in the TCI, with a tendency toward more violent crimes, which can be traced to certain internal and external factors that have affected the indigenous population. As prison sentencing has increased, this increase in imprisonment has resulted in a shortage of capacity in the local prison facility. The simple choice given the Secretary of State is either to invest in building more prisons, or to invest in cost effective programmes that can reduce the need for imprisonment. The TCI is offered as a laboratory in a small controlled environment for testing policies and programmes designed to minimise recidivism.

    The primary material factors contributing to the rising crime problem in the TCI are: colonial neglect; a highly skewed economic distribution accompanied by a desire for material possessions exceeding the earned income of many inhabitants; governmental and public administration corruption on the part of the colonial appointees and local elected officials; illegal migration; illegal guns; and illicit drug related activity. Realising that the TCI is not economically viable without external support, the people of the TCI have shown that they are unwilling to accept political independence. The well-being for the TCI therefore remains the legal obligation of the British Government imposed by Article 73 of the UN Charter, which states that as a member state having assumed responsibility for a territory must “…ensure, with due respect for the culture of the peoples concerned, their political, economic, social, and educational advancement, their just treatment, and their protection against abuses.” Hence, Mr. Barnett appeals to the Secretary of State for specific grants to address these issues as a matter of legal duty towards the TCI.
    Addressing income earning potential for the population between the ages of 16 to 35, the age group most prone to engage in criminal activity, he suggests that Her Majesty’s Government establishes a non-political and non-partisan office of ‘Youth Commissioner’. The main focus of this position would be: implementation of a programme to assess and guide the individuals in that age group to purposeful academic training, job skills, and placement in income earning activities. The jobs envisioned can be directly linked to national development, whether they are initiated by the private sector or the government, thereby benefiting the society as a whole.

    Mr. Barnett cites illegal immigration from Haiti as directly linked to the increase in illegal arms and drugs in the TCI. He makes an urgent request to Great Britain to fund maritime border patrol of the islands, engaging the US in assistance with this effort, but not ignoring the need to provide humanely for legitimate refugees. Further, he advocates working with the US to eradicate the sources of guns and drugs flowing through Haiti and elsewhere.

    ‘DIMET’ is the term he has coined standing for the principles to address reform in the prison itself: Define goals for the prison; Individually structure rehabilitation for the prisoner; Monitor discipline; Educate the inmate; and, effect Transitional justice for the prisoner after release. Mr. Barnett acknowledges that there will be individuals in every society who are violent and unrepentant and who therefore are not candidates for reform. However, for the rest, it is in the interest of the society to make every attempt to work with convicted offenders to keep them from engaging in criminal activity again after they are released. He advocates a structured programme, whereby the prison has defined goals with specific and measurable outcomes at the societal and individual levels.

    The paper engages the British Government at the policy level. It questions the assumptions behind merely depositing undesirables in prison. It focuses on the historically derived racism which has led to British public policy neglect of the TCI. It reflects on the real issues underlying prisoners social origins and presents practical and just solutions.

    Wilberne Persaud, former head of the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies, said “A welcome eye-opening look at a problem, elements of which are much too common in our region … perhaps exposure to a broader audience will force the authorities to act.”
    It remains to be seen whether Her Majesty’s Government can appropriately and responsibly assist “the honest people of the Turks and Caicos Islands” to whom this paper is dedicated.

    1. Page ii “a society . . . find” should be “a society . . .finds”
    2. Page 10 “populous” twice on page 27 instead of “populace”
    3. Page 19 reference to Binyam Mohamed as “citizen” is incorrect since he is a “resident” of the UK
    4. Page 38 “sanitised” (sanitized in US spelling) is misspelled “sanistised”.
    5. The number 1 is used instead of capital I for the Roman numeral on:
    Page 23, George III and Henry VIII
    Page 38, William III
    Pages 43, 47, 49, & 50, prisoner numbers
    Only the first is a real solecism and the others might be excused for reason of typographical constraints
    6. Page 32 “ on the police” should read “ harsh on the police”
    7. Page 35 “ Chagossians” is misspelled “ Chaggosinas”
    8. Page 41 “Bloom-Cooper” is misspelled “ Bloom-Copper”
    9. Final correction: “ Change your mind and you change your outlook” – please read with that thought in mind.

    N.B. Any findings of error can be forwarded to [email protected]. Critical comments and/or constructive suggestions are welcomed.
    Courtenay Francis Raymond Barnett is a graduate of London University. His areas of study were economics, political science and international law. He has been practising law for over twenty seven years, has been arrested for defending his views, and has argued public interest and human rights cases. His web site:”

  • dreoilin

    Craig, I ask you again, how do you know it was *valuable* jewellery?
    And who among commenters has used the term “political protest”?
    You asked me if I believed criminals exist. I and my family have been the victims of drug-addled criminality. Crashing into my house at 3am, threatening us with a broken bottle, having previously threatened to knife my son. When I faced him, he said if I called the police he’d get his friends to petrol bomb my house. I told him that the police were already on the way, and that if he threatened my family or my home, I’d see him in prison. And that’s precisely what I did.
    And you blithely ask me if I believe criminals exist.
    The problem is that there was context i.e. family background that made me sorry for him. And if this wasn’t such a public space, I’d explain it. But believe me, you give offense with your throw-away remarks.

  • craig Post author


    Soory to bring back bad memories. Did not mean to offend, but I am genuinely disturbed by the rush to sanctify Duggan.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Dreoilin,

    “Crime” is not a pretty or easy problem to deal with, and your experience brings home the nature of hardship on the ‘victim’ and the human ( however distorted or damaged the criminal’s humnanity may be) element involved in the interaction between attacker and victim.

    You sound like a very humane person, Dreoilin – given what you experienced.

  • mark_golding

    I read the name ‘Blair’ A red flag to a bull – off topic but I feel better.
    In March 1999 at the annual Beveridge Lecture on social justice Blair said something remarkable:
    The “historic aim will be for ours to be the first generation to end child poverty”
    Blair would demonstrate that government spending on children is rising by more than £6bn over this period of Parliament.

    As a result of tax and benefit changes, 700,000 children will be lifted out of poverty, he went on to say.
    According to Barnardo’s child poverty has remained at 4 million, the figure in 1999.
    In March 2003 Blair went on to murder, maim and traumatise over 300,000 children in so many days and left a million orphaned, without home, searching bomb-sites for anything that could sell for food including cluster bomblets provocatively shining in the mid-day sun.

    Mr Blair will explain that providing better support for children – through tax reform, the minimum wage and increases in child benefit – will create a new popularity for welfare.

  • wendy

    i suspect the current demand by right wing hawks, pro authoritarian hawks , was always on the cards and the riots have been hijacked to pursue an ideology . a means to an end. in the same manner blair used terror to introduce ever increasing authoritarian laws.
    does anyone beleive that IDS and Cameron were not going to attack the welfare state, that May was not going to increase the powers of the police state. That osbourne was not going to look after his wealthy friends?
    gangsta culture, too right and it starts at the top.

  • Clark

    Craig, my guess would be that some have and some haven’t tried to better their lot. I’d further guess that more tried longer ago, and that more recently, the presence of many who have tried and failed has discouraged the up and coming. I read a statistic of 55% youth unemployment in Tottenham.
    This is the poverty of opportunity. A young person looking ahead sees that hard work at school is unlikely to lead to a job, and now no longer leads to higher education. Meanwhile, those gaining wealth from criminal activity are doing better than many who remain law-abiding, so the wrong way forward looks more attractive to the young. This vicious circle needs both broad paths of escape, and better enforcement of existing law. Either without the other will be much less effective.
    Drugs policy is important here, too. Many people today see drug usage as normal and drug dealing as respectable as retailing. So long as these are included in the broad definition of “crime”, the definition of crime is itself devalued.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    Precisely my point – there is a direct relationship between suffering at home in the UK and the suffering inflicted on others abroad by the UK.

    Most people see the wrong visited them at their doorstep – few want to view or consider the wrong done to the neighbour next door or a few doors down the road (figuratively speaking – and – applying the metaphor to our world and countries within it).

    As Colin Powell said in his manly way – he did not keep count of the dead on the other side. Of course not – neither are “they” your global “neighbour” – nor – are they human beings – so why count their suffering or their dead bodies – aren’t they just “the enemy”? Isn’t that really the point – Mark?

  • Clark

    Craig: “I am genuinely disturbed by the rush to sanctify Duggan.”
    We don’t have your sources, Craig, and we have seen so many people smeared in the press via leaks from the police. Hell, Bloggerheads is full of examples. I’m sorry, but I for one can’t make an exception for your sources, one never knows who might have been pressured or misled. It’s a matter of principle. It should all remain unsaid until actual evidence can be presented.

  • Clark

    Myself, erratum: “we have seen so many people falsely smeared in the press via leaks”.
    This includes Duggan (“fired at police”), and yourself, Craig.

  • dreoilin

    @Craig, I don’t wish to sanctify Duggan. But if I see holes or inconsistencies in someone’s argument, I pick at them. That’s the way I am.
    Thanks, @Courtenay. The young man’s family background was nothing short of tragic. He is now deceased.
    “Many people today see drug usage as normal and drug dealing as respectable as retailing.” –Clark
    I found it interesting that there was no talk of drug usage among rioters. Perhaps I missed it. But I’d be surprised if it was not somewhere in the mix. Are we to assume that all of those young rioters were drug-free? I’d be doubtful.

  • Courtenay Barnett


    I really chuckled when I read what you just posted:-

    “@Craig, I don’t wish to sanctify Duggan. But if I see holes or inconsistencies in someone’s argument, I pick at them. That’s the way I am.”

    I thought – only difference between this blogger and myself – is that when I do my professional “picking” – I get reasonably well paid for it. Guess – as you might say – “That’s the way I am”.

  • johnstone

    Craig, a polite warning….

    Your blog is good and has attracted some thoughtful commentators who mostly do their homework and therefore have some very intelligent contributions to make. For this very reason I keep coming back to it, so it would be a great pity if you chased them off (which I am sure is not really your intention) with your throwaway remarks, because if you do I for one shall certainly go elsewhere for insightful comment on current affairs.

  • Vronsky

    “In general I am not convinced poor people commit more crime. ”

    Crime is politically defined. Wrongdoing is most likely to be defined as ‘criminal’ when we are talking of the actions of the poor. Many here may feel that the actions of the elite are ‘criminal’, but they are not so defined. Samuel Butler got to this a long time ago – read ‘Erewhon’. In that sad country, it is a crime to be ill. One man, accused and found guilty of suffering from consumption, pleads that he is just unlucky. Says the magistrate:

    “But I will enlarge no further upon things that are themselves so obvious. You may say that it is not your fault. The answer is ready enough at hand, and it amounts to this—that if you had been born of healthy and well-to-do parents, and been well taken care of when you were a child, you would never have offended against the laws of your country, nor found yourself in your present disgraceful position. If you tell me that you had no hand in your parentage and education, and that it is therefore unjust to lay these things to your charge, I answer that whether your being in a consumption is your fault or no, it is a fault in you, and it is my duty to see that against such faults as this the commonwealth shall be protected. You may say that it is your misfortune to be criminal; I answer that it is your crime to be unfortunate.”

    Familiar? But I expect Butler was just another demented idealogue.

  • Vronsky

    “Meanwhile, those gaining wealth from criminal activity are doing better than many who remain law-abiding”
    I do work for a volunteer group in the east end of Glasgow. We were discussing the problem of juvenile drug dealers in a particular estate. ‘Trouble is’, said one of the locals, ‘the kids don’t see it as a problem – they can make £400 a week and it’s wonderful – there is no problem that they can see’.

  • Johann Green

    @ Craig

    “You say that possessing lots of valuable jewellery does not make you not poor. Are you really sure you mean that?”

    You are surely aware that the UN’s HDI index, drawn up with the help of Amartya Sen, regards poverty as a multidimensional concept? Employment and the possession of jewellery (which could well be fake) are not the only markers of wealth, just as the lack of both does not constitute ‘poverty’. According to the HDI, poverty is assessed in regard to the agent’s ability to achieve certain functionings; which are tied to a given capability ‘context’. Other poverty indicators include diminished access to education and healthcare,increased income inequality, lack of empowerment etc. In fact the HDI list contains about 20 categories which each represent a fragment of multidimensional poverty. To somehow think that we can reduce it to what one wears and to the job one does (and there are many demeaning ones at that) is folly indeed.

    “My point is, as you well know, that criminal milieus possess more wealth than is captured in official statistics.”

    That might well be the case, but can we honestly say that kids below the age of 16, many of whom were involved in the London violence, are all part of a criminal milieu? Is this good enough? Are we to call them criminals and not investigate ‘how’ they normalise criminal behaviour as such? Surely this just side-steps the broader issues that we are to deal with as a society? You seem to regard criminal behaviour – rather like a Medieval scholastic – as some type of uncaused cause. As if the criminal act emerges from nothing and is determined by little more than its ability to cause offence. Yet by brushing the context aside, and by rejecting the link between poverty and crime, you are overdetermining the role of agency. We are not born outside of time, Craig. Some of us are fortunate to have received a good education, to have attained the respect of our peers, and to have risen through the ranks; but others are less fortunate. These others might be discriminated against, searched perpetually, sidelined to the margins of society. They might be forced to bear tremendous cuts to the slither of a lifeline that we call benefits. They may even become embroiled in a gang culture because of this. Therefore we must punish crime and punish the criminal, but never lose sight of the causes that underline his actions.

    “My problem is that so many are anxious to co-opt the criminal spree to forward their political aganda, that they are unwilling to acknowledge that most of this violence was carried out by very unpleasant people indeed and have no wish to acknowledge any personal responsibility by the criminals.”

    A totally disingenious comment. I have already said that I attribute criminal wrongdoing to the actions of rioters. See above. Also, what ‘political’ agenda are you talking about. Please tell me this isn’t part of your favourite ‘lefty conspiracy’ which you wheel out as often as a tea party republican when you can’t deal with a counterargument? People are not unpleasant full stop. They are unpleasant because of a) agential motivation (how they see the world) and b) contextual causation (how society sees them). You look to the first and disqualify the second. I’d rather look at both – principally because I hate to think so reductively of human beings.

    “Also if you wish to characterise this as political protest…”

    I didn’t say that at all.

    ” We should sharply differentiate political protest from looting.”

    Surely it has occured to you that an act can be political without needing to be referred back to an ideology? Looting can be caused when political consensus breaks down – as in the New Orleans floods – or when the guardians of a society hold the most disaffected in the utmost distaste. Looting ‘can’ be a reaction to other things, can it not? Again, I’m hoping you won’t be reductive in your response.

    “Kindly address my question about why the looter is less culpable than Blair for his crimes.”

    First of all, I didn’t say that a looter was or is any less responsible than someone like Blair. Of course their actions, by way of degree and magnitude, are far from equivalent. One is a genocidal religious zealot, the other is a social deviant. Both are however linked by virtue of the fact that they have committed crimes; again the balance of scale is different as the first has committed war crimes whereas the second has committed property violations. Anyway, setting this minor detail aside, the looter is as responsible as Blair and should be sentenced accordingly. I have maintained this point from the beginning.

    But, just as the looter’s actions can ‘also’ be explained with reference to a given social context – political disenfranchisement, social deprivation, lack of education – so the actions of Blair can be explained in a like manner. So, what is the context behind Blair’s actions, and what lead him to make the decisions he did. We can cite several contextual factors:

    1. He supported a neoliberal ideology whose goal is to set the profit motive before societal wellbeing. His exposure to this ideology allowed him to carry through Thatcher’s broadscale privisation of the public sector and to deregulate British financial markets even further. Free market liberalism set the tone for his entire term in office.

    2. His criminal wars involved dealings with a criminal cartel – a gang, in modern parlance. This gang forced him to go ahead with an illegal conflict. Whether he wanted to invade Iraq and Afghanistan or not – and I think he did – he was greatly persuaded by the bravado and wild Christian abandon of leaders like Bush. In other words he was influenced by outside players.

    3. The supine liberal media, ever ready to justify a patriotic conflict and imperial venture, allowed Blair to invade at will. Simpering stories hedged on the lies of a dodgy dossier were written day on day. Blair knew that his war agenda would be supported, and so he went for it. Let’s call this the context of supine journalism.

    So you see, we can find contextual reasons for Blair’s actions – neoliberal ideology, influence by foreign leaders, and a toothless media – as well as for the actions of looters. The difference is just one of scale.

    I rest my case.

  • dreoilin

    @Courtenay, I’ll think of you as the pro bono blogger forever more. 🙂
    “Mob violence tends to be alcohol fueled” — Clark
    Makes sense I suppose. False courage and a loss of inhibitions. The only drug I know of that mimics alcohol would be a benzodiazepine.

  • ingo

    lets shoot any drug/gold/currency smugglers and their criminal ilk, is that the sort of message we should get across the general public, regardless and without kniowing all the facts?

    That the IPCC is already stalling for time does not really matter, thats just how it is, isn’t it? NO IT IS F..ING NOT, its for the long grass to grow, other stuff to come forward, cover, diversion, day on day off.
    Must be hard to see a system come crushing down one once served.

    Shit happens, not a reason to flap and flail but to organise and take on the opportunities that exist, political organising! not last minute affairs.
    If you want to position yourself to the right and take a running leap, thats fine, you did never take much advise, should you succeed it will be merely scratching the surface of this establishment that cannot bear to be without controlling the media, politicians and oiks like us.

    If on the other hand this is just sniping to get attention for what one is doing otherwise, thats great for those who want to partake.

    If thats off the agenda when all is creaking, then I don’t really know what this blog is all about ? fannying about?

    If anybody ever want to see proper change, get organised.

    I hoped, once.

  • Courtenay Barnett

    @ Dreoilin,

    “@Courtenay, I’ll think of you as the pro bono blogger forever more.”

    Hey -” ‘ol Dred ” – if you don’t mind me getting a bit chummy – if you can afford it and do want to support the just cause – you are free to meet my fee note. Smile – chuckle – laugh – not a problem mate.

  • David Brown

    Dear Craig

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. I believe that the blanket, knee-jerk response by the authorities is not only over-simplified but also dangerous. It is only natural for peoples’ fears to be highlighted and pronounced during times like these but a government that panders to such an emotionally charged reaction is unwise and opportunistic, but then again could we expect anything else from a Prime Minister with a PR background, in my opinion.

    On a wider note I think it also symbolic of a further shift, particularly in the US and Western European countries, to a neo-liberalist ultra-conservative paradigm. These groups, which consist of a highly vocal minority. like The Republic Tea Party and extreme factions of the conservative party in the UK wish to roll back even further the role of the state in terms of providing even basic social services and consolidate their own power-base. They do this by appealing to peoples’ base fears and eschewed notions of social justice. Only a zeolot can think in absolute terms, I like you believe that the criminality has to be punished but we also need to look into creating socially conscience solutions to a social problem and not just risk further “ghettisation” of many inner-city districts.

  • mary

    Some handy intelligence just in via the state broadcaster.
    ‘ENGLAND RIOTS:Police say possible attacks on Olympics site, shopping centres and London’s Oxford Street prevented through social media intelligence’

  • ingo

    Listening to Duncan smith yesterday, refering back and forth to the good examples he and other british politicians have garnered in the US, its becoming perfectly clear, there is no other reference one could find examples from. Europe does not exist for the lost politicians of this dark age, nothing good can come from Europe at all. Have they paid their parking charges yet? No? shut their f.. ing embassies then, the lot of them until they do, send them home, don’t care including the Krauts, bunch of priviledged leeches.

    Who the hell gives a damn about nazi’s like Ms. Bachmann and Mr. perry, screw mega dollar US politics bereft of good examples, the BBC can stop their preferential piss poor speculative coverage, start looking nearer home and apply scutiny to those who got away with widening the gap between rich and por for 30 years.

    Politicians of all creeds have become whores to a false american dream, they are wedged for ever in a special relationship that is gunning to oust the Euro in favour of a dollar that has lost its value, everywhere, for what reason? sheer rivalry and Angst that the Euro ‘offers reasonable returns’ (Chinese PM)and that China is going to favor it.

    If this is the future, then these riots are just the start.
    Looking at the response and the lack of ideas from the US arse scratching lackeys in charge, it will take more of the same to get them off theor perch.

    beginning to think revenge has a long way to go, that the lot has to be lanced, including the civil servants and other establishment bods who can’t see past their own horizons, a few judges for good measure, as well as all freemasons in public office, however many of these Breivig loveys there are.

    Shall paint the front door now, making it all nice and shiny for when they come and break it down, vidi, vidi.

  • mary

    Enough said Ingo.
    Michele Bachmann ‘Foreign policy
    Bachmann says in dealing with Iran, diplomacy “is our option”, but that other options, including a nuclear strike, shouldn’t be taken off the table.[155]
    She has also said that she is “a long time supporter of Israel”.[12]’
    Rick Perry ‘Christian religious beliefs
    Perry has been referred to as an Evangelical Christian[62] and a Methodist.[63] He grew up in the Methodist church, and he and his family have been members of Tarrytown United Methodist Church since the 1990s, the same church that former President George W. Bush attended in Austin. In 2010, Perry began attending Lake Hills Church in Austin. Perry’s former deputy director of communications and principal speechwriter of four years, Andrew Barlow, was pastor of creative development at Lake Hills Church for seven years.[64] Perry says that as governor, he regularly attends numerous churches to speak. As for why he ultimately chooses to go to one place and not another, he said he administers a simple test: “If I remember on Wednesday what the message was on Sunday, it was a good message.”[65]
    In 2006, in what was described as a “God and country” sermon at the Cornerstone church in San Antonio, attended by Perry and other mostly Republican candidates, the Rev. John Hagee stated, “If you live your life and don’t confess your sins to God Almighty through the authority of Christ and His blood, I’m going to say this very plainly, you’re going straight to hell with a nonstop ticket.” Perry was asked if he agreed with those comments and said, “It is my faith, and I’m a believer of that.”[66] Perry went on to say that there was nothing in the sermon that he took exception with.[67] In May 2011, at a meeting in East Texas with business leaders, Perry stated that at age 27, he felt “called to the ministry”.[68]
    While visiting Israel in August 2009, Perry gave an interview to the Jerusalem Post in which he affirmed his support for Israel from his religious background, “I’m a big believer that this country was given to the people of Israel a long time ago, by God, and that’s ordained.”[69]’
    Yet another mad man and a mad woman.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Hell sounds quite interesting, Mary. Warmer and drier than Scotland in August, at least. So, the Holy Joes can have Heaven, it’s probably like the Trossachs or something. Very pleasant, but wet, muddy and with lots of midges. Just like Michelle (ma belle) Bachmann, midges get to go to Heaven, too, you know. Unless they’re left-wing, of course, in which case they travel to Purgatory (Rotherham, circa 1982, on a wet Sunday afternoon).

  • mary

    An illustration of the reporting of the waspish Michael White. What an unpleasant piece of work he is.
    In his today column, Guardian Assistant Editor Michael White writes:
    “Yet I’m not sorry at the thought that Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan (we must blame the parents for that name, but a non-custodial sentence is appropriate) and Jordan Blackshaw woke up in the slammer on Thursday remembering that, no, it’s not all a bad dream. It could be like this for the next 18 months, lads. And what if that big bloke on the next floor takes a shine to you?
    Mean? No. People write all sorts of really ugly and stupid things on Facebook, Twitter, email and other anti-social media platforms (including this one), and it’s time they realised that they matter.”

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