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11th September 2013: The world's gone mad and I'm the only one who knows
13th August 2013: Black is white. Fact. End of.
11th August 2013: Electric cars, not as green as they're painted?
18th June 2013: Wrinklies unite, you have nothing to lose but your walking frames!
17th May 2013: Some actual FACTS about climate change (for a change) from actual scientists ...
10th May 2013: An article about that poison gas, carbon dioxide, and other scientific facts (not) ...
10th May 2013: We need to see past the sex and look at the crimes: is justice being served?
8th May 2013: So, who would you trust to treat your haemorrhoids, Theresa May?
8th May 2013: Why should citizens in the 21st Century fear the law so much?
30th April 2013: What the GOS says today, the rest of the world realises tomorrow ...
30th April 2013: You couldn't make it up, could you? Luckily you don't need to ...
29th April 2013: a vote for NONE OF THE ABOVE, because THE ABOVE are crap ...
28th April 2013: what goes around, comes around?
19th April 2013: everyone's a victim these days ...
10th April 2013: Thatcher is dead; long live Thatcher!
8th April 2013: Poor people are such a nuisance. Just give them loads of money and they'll go away ...
26th March 2013: Censorship is alive and well and coming for you ...
25th March 2013: Just do your job properly, is that too much to ask?
25th March 2013: So, what do you think caused your heterosexuality?
20th March 2013: Feminists - puritans, hypocrites or just plain stupid?
18th March 2013: How Nazi Germany paved the way for modern governance?
13th March 2013: Time we all grew up and lived in the real world ...
12th March 2013: Hindenburg crash mystery solved? - don't you believe it!
6th March 2013: Is this the real GOS?
5th March 2013: All that's wrong with taxes
25th February 2013: The self-seeking MP who is trying to bring Britain down ...
24th February 2013: Why can't newspapers just tell the truth?
22nd February 2013: Trial by jury - a radical proposal
13th February 2013: A little verse for two very old people ...
6th February 2013: It's not us after all, it's worms
6th February 2013: Now here's a powerful argument FOR gay marriage ...
4th February 2013: There's no such thing as equality because we're not all the same ...
28th January 2013: Global Warming isn't over - IT'S HIDING!
25th January 2013: Global Warmers: mad, bad and dangerous to know ...
25th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
19th January 2013: We STILL haven't got our heads straight about gays ...
16th January 2013: Bullying ego-trippers, not animal lovers ...
11th January 2013: What it's like being English ...
7th January 2013: Bleat, bleat, if it saves the life of just one child ...
7th January 2013: How best to put it? 'Up yours, Argentina'?
7th January 2013: Chucking even more of other people's money around ...
6th January 2013: Chucking other people's money around ...
30th December 2012: The BBC is just crap, basically ...
30th December 2012: We mourn the passing of a genuine Grumpy Old Sod ...
30th December 2012: How an official body sets out to ruin Christmas ...
16th December 2012: Why should we pardon Alan Turing when he did nothing wrong?
15th December 2012: When will social workers face up to their REAL responsibility?
15th December 2012: Unfair trading by a firm in Bognor Regis ...
14th December 2012: Now the company that sells your data is pretending to act as watchdog ...
7th December 2012: There's a war between cars and bikes, apparently, and  most of us never noticed!
26th November 2012: The bottom line - social workers are just plain stupid ...
20th November 2012: So, David Eyke was right all along, then?
15th November 2012: MPs don't mind dishing it out, but when it's them in the firing line ...
14th November 2012: The BBC has a policy, it seems, about which truths it wants to tell ...
12th November 2012: Big Brother, coming to a school near you ...
9th November 2012: Yet another celebrity who thinks, like Jimmy Saville, that he can behave just as he likes because he's famous ...
5th November 2012: Whose roads are they, anyway? After all, we paid for them ...
7th May 2012: How politicians could end droughts at a stroke if they chose ...
6th May 2012: The BBC, still determined to keep us in a fog of ignorance ...
2nd May 2012: A sense of proportion lacking?
24th April 2012: Told you so, told you so, told you so ...
15th April 2012: Aah, sweet ickle polar bears in danger, aah ...
15th April 2012: An open letter to Anglian Water ...
30th March 2012: Now they want to cure us if we don't believe their lies ...
28th February 2012: Just how useful is a degree? Not very.
27th February 2012: ... so many ways to die ...
15th February 2012: DO go to Jamaica because you definitely WON'T get murdered with a machete. Ms Fox says so ...
31st January 2012: We don't make anything any more
27th January 2012: There's always a word for it, they say, and if there isn't we'll invent one
26th January 2012: Literary criticism on GOS? How posh!
12th December 2011: Plain speaking by a scientist about the global warming fraud
9th December 2011: Who trusts scientists? Apart from the BBC, of course?
7th December 2011: All in all, not a good week for British justice ...
9th November 2011: Well what d'you know, the law really IS a bit of an ass ...

 

 
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The GOS makes no apology for having lifted most of this page from an excellent article by Richard Woods in this week's Sunday Times. He hopes Richard Woods won't mind. To be honest, this issue is so important that it needs airing as widely as possible. A little plagiarism doesn't seem very important
 
About one million people a year are fined for filing their tax returns late. In the last two years, 40,000 were fined even though they'd done their returns on time. If you don't recycle your waste properly you can be fined up to 2,500. Recently the Kent police issued a teenager with an 80 penalty notice for saying "fuck". A 10-year-old was prosecuted for calling his friend "Bin Laden" in the playground - the judge told the CPS to go away and think again, more credit to him (but the teachers' unions have spoken out in favour of the prosecution).
 
In London CCTV that was installed to catch criminals is now being used to fine people for double-parking, even when they are stopping only briefly to pick up a friend and aren't causing any danger or obstruction. Almost every week someone invades the GOS sitting-room by threatening him on the television with what will happen if he doesn't renew his television licence.
 
Tony Bliar claimed that he intended to be "tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime". In fact, he has done the opposite. A new book, A Land Fit for Criminals by David Fraser claims that successive governments have talked tough on crime while acting soft, and that the public has been hoodwinked over the true nature of government policy on crime and punishment. And Fraser should know - he spent 26 years working in the probation and prison services.
 
He says the reality is that criminals convicted of dreadful offences often face nothing tougher than probation, fines or community service. For instance, a Scottish paratrooper battered a 19-year-old girl so badly when she refused to have sex with him, that she spent four days in hospital. He was fined 1,200 and walked free. Financier John Monckton was murdered by a criminal released early on probation. Four out of the six gang-members who raped, tortured and murdered Mary-Ann Lenaghan were at liberty on probation.
 
There's one law for criminals, and another for motorists. In 1951 there were 536,000 cases of summary action (ranging from written warnings to court proceedings) for motoring offences. Since then the number of vehicles on the road has risen by seven times. The number of legal actions has risen by 25 times - in 1991 it was 8.3 million cases, and in 2004 it was 13.5 million.
 
Partly this is because of improved technology - since 1996 over 6,000 cameras have been installed, and unlike policemen they do not exercise discretion or take circumstances into account. Local councils are now using their own parking "attendants" - often private contractors looking for profit - and parking offences have soared from 3.7 million in 1997 to 7.6 million in 2004.
 
Common sense and any contact with the real world have gone out of the window. A London businessman, John Conneely, parked his Mitsubishi with one wheel on the pavement. By the time he went to the compound to reclaim his 11,000 car, Haringey Council had crushed it. "Rules are rules," they said. I suppose John should console himself with the thought that at least he wasn't actually in the car at the time. Mark my words, it'll happen sooner or later. Just don't ever leave your kids or the dog in the car when you pop in to a shop!
 
The reasons are obvious. Motorists (and don't forget, that's almost all of us) are a cash cow to be milked. Criminals in prison, however, cost money. Fraser says "When I joined the probation service in the 1960s the policy was to target for probation the people who were at the beginning of their criminal careers. The purpose was to divert them from crime, and it made sense. In the 1970s all that changed. The new policy was to divert offenders from prison - to save money."
 
For years successive governments have led the public to believe that probation and community service work and, at the same time, that Britain already jails more offenders than most countries. None of it is true, says Fraser. "It's one of the biggest cons," he said. "They don't want the public to know, and it's the public paying the price."
 
Home Office statistics reveal that, while it is true that Britain has more people in prison than most other European countries, when compared to the size of our population and the number of crimes committed, the picture is very different. Spain, for instance, has 46 prisoners for every 1,000 crimes committed. The number of crimes per 100,000 of the population is low, at 2,470.
 
In Britain we have only 12.1 criminals in jail for every 1,000 crimes, but we have a massive crime rate with 10,608 crimes for every 100,000 population. It is plain that locking criminals up works very well in Spain. Only Sweden does worse that Great Britain.
 
The government is quick to claim that we are jailing a higher proportion of criminals today than in the past. They say that in 1991, for instance, only 37% of convicted burglars were imprisoned, while in 2001 the figure was 60%. But these figures are meaningless when you know that in 1950 more than 5% of all offences resulted in custody, while by 1990 that figure had fallen to 1% (when your enforcement rate is so abysmal, up is the only way it could go, obviously).
 
Yet still the government continues to bleat that prison doesn't work, though common sense dictates that it has to work. If a burglar is in prison for five years, that's five years when he isn't burgling our houses. If that's not a result, what is? The Home Office recently advised police to caution, rather than prosecute, numerous first-time offenders including those admitting some types of assault and theft (though not, presumably, 10-year-old boys mouthing off in the playground).
 
There is no such leeway for law-abiding citizens however. Bob Lloyd, boss of a small construction company, committed the heinous crime of parking outside his house. Though he parked legally because he knew that a previous restriction had been lifted, he still received three fines and had to resort to the Freedom of Information Act to get the evidence that he was innocent.
 
So the message is pretty clear, the GOS thinks. Commit burglary, rape or assault in the reasonable knowledge that you'll probably get off quite lightly, and that if your victim fights back you can sue him or her for damages. Park your car in the street, exceed the speed limit, smoke a cigarette in the wrong place, put the wrong sort of rubbish in the wrong sort of bin or forget your tax return and you're a social pariah to be pursued with the full might of the law.
 
The GOS says: Thanks, Richard Woods and David Fraser. Keep telling it like it is. Not that anyone'll listen.
 

 

 
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