Monday, 19 November 2012

Too Depressed to Go to Gaol

So Margaret Moran, the Labour MP who fiddled the expenses system to wrongly claim £53,000, has been spared going to prison, because she told the judge she was "depressed". She cheated justice just as she had cheated her constituents and the tax-payer for so many years. It seems that she just had to get an obliging shrink to write that she was feeling glum, and had a bad case of the the blues, and the judge accepted this as a good enough reason to spare her the custodial sentence that is supposed to be statutory in cases of major financial fraud.
Mrs Moran will not have to go "inside", she will not have to sleep on a hard narrow bunk bed or take meals in a canteen with other felons, because she is depressed at the thought of it - while other convicted criminals are all overjoyed of course.

This may not be the stupidest decision a judge has made in England this year, but it makes you wonder what we have got sitting on our benches.
Did Mrs Moran get soft, sexist treatment? So far all the MPs gaoled as a result of the Parliamentary expenses scandal have been men.

If the court was soft on Mrs Moran it was positively perverse in the case of Abu Qatada. How foolish, how embarrassed, Home Secretary Chris Grayling looked on BBC Question Time last week when forced to explain this. Qatada is not a British citizen and he hates our guts but we can't throw him out and we let him live here on state benefits along with his large family. Jordan has said emphatically that he will not be tortured there but the lawyers paid for on Legal Aid argued that even this was not sufficient assurance. Harriet Harman also took the line that we ought to be able to get rid of Abu Qatada, and was careful not to mention that the reason we cannot do so is the bloody stupid Human Rights Act passed under the Blair Government, in which she was a leading minister. The Human Rights Act brought all the warped notions of the ECHR home to Britain and will forever be the criminal's best friend until it is abolished.
Qatada, who already inhabits a £400,000 house courtesy of the British tax-payer, is now demanding a bigger one to make room for his ever-growing beard. The only member of the panel who talked any sense was Nigel Farage. He could have been forgiven for laughing at the quandary the other panel members found themselves in. After all, doesn't it prove you are a fascist if you say that Britain has any problems at all with - er - immigration? Border control? Citizenship? Cheeky foreigners breaking our laws and then claiming benefits? That's just what you would read in the Daily Mail - isn't it?
I suppose Labour would say it is completely reasonable for Abu Qatada to be suing the UK government for £10 million now, in compensation for wrongful detention.
After all, we've got nothing better to spend that money on, have we? It's fine for children to be denied cancer treatment so that this non-citizen can get his "human rights".

Abu Qatada has something to thank Margaret Moran for. She along with Harriet Harman, was one of the Labour MPs who passed the Human Rights Act, without which Qatada could simply be put on a plane and chucked out of this country. If that happened he might indeed be feeling rather depressed but everybody else (apart from the lawyers) would be jubilant.

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