Friday 17 May 2024

Pirate Laura


For decades, at least, the Tory Party has liked to be known as the party of Laura Norder. It used to express itself as a demand for the restoration of hanging and flogging, but has more recently manifested as a desire to criminalise more people for doing more things and increasing the punishments for said crimes and misdemeanours, all whilst cutting the costs of law enforcement including both policing and the courts. Sending more people to prison without a commensurate increase in the number of prison places is just one of many logical incoherences in the approach. Releasing people early and delaying sending them to prison in the first place are two of the inevitable results of the government’s failure to understand the consequences of that basic arithmetic by which the PM claims to set such great store.

One of the aspects of their love for Laura which was less obvious in years gone by but has become increasingly obvious under the last three Prime Ministers is that Laura is for other people, not for them. That is to say, breaches of ‘the law’ are to be severely punished if committed by someone else, but ignored or covered up when committed by Conservative politicians. It’s not just the comparatively minor things like ignoring their own regulations on partying during a pandemic, or failing to abide by the laws of the road, it’s also about taking a cavalier approach to the UK’s international obligations and treaties, and being willing to defy courts whose jurisdiction they have formally signed up to. Breaking the law in a “specific and limited way” is still breaking the law.

Sunak was at it again this week, declaring that he will ignore any court ruling which he doesn’t like. He claims to be doing so on grounds of ‘national security’, but he seems to be demanding the unilateral right to make unchallenged decisions as to what national security is and which court decisions might threaten it. It’s hard to find objective grounds for arguing that proper processing of asylum claims from desperate people, in accordance with international rules and treaties, is a threat to national security, but then a feeling of entitlement doesn’t require objective evidence. Indeed, ‘evidence’ is positively undesirable. From the perspective of someone who believes that being cruel to the desperate and vulnerable is what will make people vote for him it might be easy to confuse national security with security of tenure in Downing Street.

It's not an argument that they would accept from anyone else. “I ignored the law on shoplifting in order to prioritise the security of my family” is not a get-out clause that can be found in any law on theft, and would be given short shrift by any judge. But then Tory Laura isn’t the blind-folded figure as which Lady Justice is often portrayed, judging people equally regardless of their position in society. Tory Laura’s job is to keep people in their place, to maintain the imbalance between rich and poor, and above all to prop up the existing order and government. Tory Laura sports a pirate’s eye patch instead, ensuring that she sees only what they want her to see.

1 comment:

Gwyn Jones said...

As someone said the Tories believe that law and order is for the lower orders.
Gwyn Jones