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Thursday, January 25, 2007 

Scum-watch: Downplaying Iraq, hypocrisy over prison overcrowding, and still lusting after young ignorant flesh.

What a happy coincidence it was for the first full debate on Iraq since 2004 in the House of Commons to come on the same day as John Reid was forced to go cap in hand to the judges, begging them to only jail serious and persistent offenders due to the crisis created by the government's perpetual crackdowns, spurred on by the tabloids. There was only ever going to be one topic on the mind of the Sun, but even by their standards the coverage given to the debate is utterly derisory and spectacularly dishonest. The article itself is dumped right down at the bottom of the online news page:

PM's rap for Ming over Iraq

TONY Blair dismissed calls yesterday for him to name the day British troops will leave Iraq.

The PM said it would be “disastrous” to set a deadline for withdrawal while killing continues.

He branded Lib Dem chief Sir Menzies ‘Ming’ Campbell “irresponsible” for demanding our forces are home by October 31.

Mr Blair vowed to see through the mission to put Iraq on its feet.

He stormed: “Our troops are there under a United Nations resolution, with full support of the government of Iraq.

“For us to set an arbitrary timetable — saying we will pull them out in October come what may — would send a disastrous signal to the people we are fighting in Iraq.

“Whatever its superficial attractions, it’s deeply irresponsible, which is probably why it’s Liberal Democrat policy.”

Mr Blair hit out after Lib Dems called for a phased withdrawal of our 7,000 troops from May.

Sir Menzies also rapped him for refusing to lead last night’s Iraq debate. But Mr Blair hit back during Question Time saying: “I’m debating the issue NOW.”

And err, that's it. They didn't even bother covering the actual debate, just the preliminary digs during PMQ's. Doing so might have exposed the war the Scum has supported before even Blair did for what it has been: a catastrophe.

Even so, the sophistry displayed here by Blair is glaring. The very policy Labour is currently pursuing is for a phased withdrawal to begin by the Spring - the Lib Dems are simply calling for all troops to leave Iraq by October, instead of being withdrawn to a barracks, an air base or close to the Iranian border, where they'll simply be an even bigger target for jihadists and roadside bombs. It's the very policy which Sir Richard Dannatt urged, calling for troops to leave soon in his interview with the Mail late last year.

Focusing on Campbell's call was the soft option for the Scum, attacking those who dare to differ from their own continuing support for never-ending war, while ignoring the Tories' more nuanced assaults on Blair's spineless response to whichever new initiative Washington announces. Trevor Kavanagh, the former political editor of the Scum also wrote an adulatory ass-kissing piece a couple of days ago about how Israel is ready to "blitz" Iran, marvelling at the same wonderful airborne harbringers of death that last year killed over 1,000 Lebanese civilians:

The Sun can reveal for the first time the astonishing force at Israel’s disposal.

It has 280 of the most sophisticated warplanes in the world — American-built F-16 and F-15 multipurpose jets, capable of flying to Iran and back without refuelling.

They carry at least two 2000lb long-range precision-guided bombs, capable of flying down an airshaft or through a window. Some have rock-blasting warheads which can reach deep underground, where Iran’s nuclear workshops are hidden.

With more pilots per aircraft than any other country in the world, Israel’s jets could be in the air almost 24 hours a day, flying hundreds of sorties over Iran.

Instead the Scum focused on Reid's failings to provide more prison cells:

A MASSIVE hunt was under way last night for Home Secretary John Reid’s BRAIN after his abysmal failure to solve the prisons crisis.

There were fears for the Home Secretary’s sanity after he broke a series of promises to get a grip of the overcrowding fiasco.

Mr Reid had pledged to build more cells, set up prison ships and turn disused Army camps into jails. But, in what could have been a sign of dementia, he has resorted to begging judges to let crooks loose rather than send them to the slammer.

No he didn't. Reid told judges to remember the other options, such as community sentences, except when dealing with serious and persistent offenders, which should be common sense in the first place. That it isn't is due in large part to the Scum's never-ending demands for tougher sentences, which has been shown before to highly influence judge's sentences as a whole rather than just for those who do genuinely need to be locked away both as a deterrent and to protect public safety.

Another article by the Scum's politicial editor goes on:

SWAGGERING John Reid was in the dock last night for a string of broken promises that fuelled the prisons crisis.

The big-talking Home Secretary was blasted for vowing to BUILD 8,000 more jail places, CREATE prison ships and GRAB disused army camps to relieve overcrowding.

But as jails are now so full that convicts are being kept in police cells, Reid has been exposed as delivering absolutely NOTHING.

This is bollocks to begin with, as the Scum only a few days ago praised the fact that a new prison is to open by the spring in Maghull on Merseyside. Still, at least there's one potentially bright spot to come out of this, as the whole situation seems to have led to the Scum dropping their previous support for Reid as Blair's successor:

Last night 152 convicts were being held at police station and court cells as the number “in jail” hovered above 80,000.

The fiasco will smash Reid’s proudly-held reputation as a self-styled tough guy.

Then the Sun blames Reid for not coming through on stupid and ill-thought out solutions which it suggested in the first place:

Reid cockily assured Sun readers in October that he would supply prison ships. He even ordered officials to scour ports looking for disused ferries.

The Home Office said at the time: “The Home Secretary has made it clear he wants to explore innovative solutions. We hope it will see us with extra capacity on floating vessels.”

But night Home Office officials admitted NO ships have been bought.

The Sun naturally ignores the fact that the last prison ship was closed because it had been recommended for closure by Anne Owers, head of the prisons inspectorate:

Her investigation found that the jail was "unacceptably cramped and claustrophobic" with prisoners having "no access to fresh air". The prison healthcare facilities were "very poor" and jobs for inmates were "very limited".

The money necessary to convert an "disused ferry" (ferries are only ever disused once they're utterly clapped out) to anywhere near something acceptable for use as a prison would much better spent towards building new prison space, or refurbishing current accomodation, something which has been cancelled throughout the system as a result of the overcrowding crisis.

The Scum continues:

In November, Reid vowed to open disused Ministry of Defence sites as prisons.

He said at the time: “We are in negotiations with relevant authorities over a number of sites in England and Wales.”

There is still no news of ANY MoD sites in the pipeline.

The Scum then very conveniently forgets both about its own role in suggesting MoD property as possible sites, and about its abrupt reverse ferret over Connaught Barracks, once it realised that families living locally had soliders serving overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. Seeing as the existing MoD housing for soldiers has recently been condemned, you have to wonder just how bad the out of use accommodation is. It should have been obvious to anyone with half a brain that such a scheme was half-baked and that it was contradictory in the extreme when the Sun has been fuming about the open prisons, being, err, open when that is exactly what the sites would be, but these are Sun hacks we're dealing with. That they were listened to seriously in the first place ought to give an insight into the mindset of John Reid's Home Office: appease the tabloids first, think about realistic solutions second.

Not that this has saved him from the vitriol of today's Scum, the leader of which is foaming at the mouth:

THIS government’s policy towards locking up dangerous criminals can be summed up in two words: promises, promises.

So today The Sun has this message for Labour: we are SICK of your promises. When the hell are you going to DO something?

The prison population has gone up by roughly 25,000 in the last ten years. They seem to have more than fulfilled their promise.

Once again we are faced with letting out offenders early — or not sending them to prison at all — while judges are urged to give more soft community sentences.

And so the Scum continues the cycle. Community sentences are "soft". The public see them as "soft". Judges don't want to be seen as "soft", so they imprison even more offenders. Continue until the end of time.

The Sun does not believe every lawbreaker should go behind bars.

Quite so. The ginger ninja herself might otherwise have found herself in Holloway for assaulting her ex-husband.

But serious offenders deserve time in custody to teach them a lesson and protect the public.

But it's not working, is it? Re-offending rates have gone up from 55% five years ago to 67% now. As much as "teaching them a lesson", it's further teaching those that go in young that there's nothing for them outside.

Home Secretary John Reid and Chancellor Gordon Brown must stop feuding and come up with the plans and money for more prison places.

Including a prison ship. Do you hear that, Home Secretary? A prison ship. Like you promised.

Brilliant idea. Fuck bricks and mortar, just bring on the floating vessels.

Wake up Labour, and put the country first instead of your own careers.

Perhaps Wade ought to follow her own advice and from now on think what's best for this country instead of what Mr Murdoch thinks is best for this country. That doing so would result in her dismissal would be no excuse.

The failure of mass imprisonment to solve the problem of crime could not be more apparent, as today's figures released by both the Home Office and British Crime Survey show. Despite nearly 80,000 being behind bars, the chance of being a victim of crime has risen for the first time in years, up 1%, while personal robbery, fuelled by the carrying of expensive and easily sold-on mobile phones and mp3 players, jumped by 14%. Only a complete reappraisal of what prison is actually for will solve the overcrowding crisis, but it seems that no one is willing to listen, and with the Scum never ceasing to scream, this government is too cowardly to even consider such "radical" proposals as that of the ex-head of the prison and probation service, Martin Narey. The Scum is already reporting the Reid appears to have heeled to Wade's cry for ships and MoD bases to be used.

Elsewhere, the Scum is today yet again advertising the creepy charms of its MyScum MySpace rip-off community by plugging the desperate flesh-flashing of those who don't know any better, written appropriately by Dave Masters (warning: nudity):

Page 3.com editor Di James praised the girls' efforts and said it could lead to one of them being spotted by a top agency.

She added: "It's a great way to put yourself in the shop window!"

Indeed. An Amsterdam shop window.

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