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This newspaper respects and defends the jury system. It is not perfect, but it is better than alternatives practised elsewhere.
Jurors, having heard all the evidence, are entitled to reach a verdict as they see fit.
Yet there are serious questions to answer after four social justice warriors were acquitted of criminal damage for toppling a statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston.
The most troubling is: What has become of the rule of law?
There are serious questions to answer after four social justice warriors were acquitted of criminal damage for toppling a statue Edward Colston
Yes, many undoubtedly found the Bristol monument offensive. But there were democratic paths for its legal removal.
Worryingly, the jury (signalling its virtue?) has conceded the principle that vigilante vandalism is justified as long as it accords with a fashionable political cause.
But who decides a legitimate target for attack? The Left’s cultural gatekeepers?
Gandhi, for instance, held profoundly racist views. Does that give a mob the right to destroy statues of him? Of course not. Criminal damage is never acceptable.
But with extremist protesters increasingly risking lives with their antics, laws must be applied dispassionately to protect us all.
The Attorney General should appeal against the Colston Four’s case to prevent it becoming a vandal’s charter.
If courts give individuals the green light to ignore laws they decide are unfair, the whole system will collapse into anarchy.
Public sector paralysis
Despite the perpetual hysteria of the pro-lockdown Left, there is no evidence the NHS is falling apart at the seams.
Still, we accept hospitals are under huge strain. Surging Omicron cases, staff absences due to self-isolation, the usual winter workload… all contribute to the pressure.
Yet isn’t this predicament partly of the health service’s own making? For it is stuck in a time-warp of ossified thinking.
Take outdated infection rules. By forcing thousands exposed to Covid patients to quarantine for 14 days – even those testing negative – bosses worsen bed shortages.
Meanwhile, egged on by militant teaching unions, ultra-cautious schools are ignoring Government guidelines to keep recovering pupils at home for longer, further damaging children’s education.
And GP chiefs claim family doctors can no longer provide a proper service for patients because of the virus (although after the shameful disintegration of in-person appointments could anyone tell?)
Public sector dinosaurs must emulate their private sector counterparts – ditch their archaic mindsets, engage common sense and become more agile. Failure to end this paralysis is detrimental to us all.
No newspaper has campaigned more ferociously than this one for government action to fix the social care scandal.
And while we felt deep unease at Boris Johnson’s un-Tory solution – hiking National Insurance – at least he grasped the nettle.
But with household budgets pummelled by soaring living costs, April’s tax raid will be an intolerable burden on pay packets.
Given the billions earmarked for elderly care won’t arrive for three years (first being poured into the NHS’s insatiable maw) Tory MPs want the Chancellor to scrap the rise and spare families financial pain.
Ministers must do something to help the public with rocketing bills. It is good that this conversation has started.
- Every day, the fury grows over the conferment of Tony Blair’s knighthood. If his illegal war in Iraq was insufficient to demerit him, granting immunity from prosecution to IRA killers should have been. Not only did this betray terror victims, it bartered away our country’s fundamental principles like trinkets. Blair’s conduct is not worthy of honour, but dishonour.