The Public Interest

The rich are getting richer. The middle class are getting poorer. The poorer are also getting poorer. The poorest are getting locked up. The story of a trio of no fixed abode getting arrested for stealing food from a bin caught my attention. My eyebrows were raised further when I read that the legislation they were being charged with was a rather ancient bit of legalese that was entered onto the books before dear old Queen Victoria had even sat her ample behind on the royal throne.

But what really had my eyebrows spin out of control into full Roger Moore mode, was a line from the CPS, declaring why they wouldn’t drop the case. The reason – “….because we feel there is significant public interest in prosecuting these three individuals” . We have vital funds being cut from social programs throughout the country, food banks have gone from being unheard of to common place, and wages have stagnated across the economic board. Well the bottom 99% of the board. But what the public is really interested in, apparently, is seeing what few pounds they have left, being spent on prosecuting three hungry fellows for taking discarded food from a bin to eat.

I am going to be bold and dissent from this ‘majority view’. I don’t think the public could give a crap about three guys stealing food out of a bin. If they had an opinion, it would more than likely be to ask why the shop is throwing away edible food. In fact, I’d go so far to say that I could stand on a high street quizzing passing John and Jane Does for weeks, months or years before I’d find anyone willing to hand over their cash to put towards the prosecution costs of the CPS in this case.

Alas. My voice, and the voice of the public, does not actually count towards what is defined at ‘the public interest’. And my tax money will be wasted. It’s another sign that we’re not ‘in this together’. It’s more evidence of a serious disconnect in our social infrastructure. Do any members of the ‘virtual public’ care to defend the CPS? Have I got this all wrong? Have I missed something?  Maybe. Maybe not. Anyway, I came across this photo earlier. Seems appropriate.



8 thoughts on “The Public Interest

  1. norm says:

    Another brick in the wall. Well the Tories showed the unions the door, who needs manufacturing and extraction industries, we are bankers after all.

    .Votes matter, even if you have to hold your nose in the process.

    A start to bringing labor (drop it on your toe type labor) back to Britain and the US for that matter, is an import tariff equal to whatever your payroll tax might be.To let a good cross a boarder for less than a workmen must pay into the public coffer to make that good is akin to your social effects from the Enclosure Act. We are only seeing the beginning. A person going to jail for ‘dumpster diving’ is a symptom of a very bad social head cold .When your Liberal Democrats got in bed with the Tories I knew you good people were going to have some problems-good luck with your next government, it will be here sooner than later.


    • Philip Kirkland says:

      I have to say that I am leaning a little towards the UKIP now, much as it hurts me to say it as a life-long and committed Conservative, but they do seem to be more aligned to traditional Conservative values than the current party. However, I will still vote Conservative, as a vote for a minority party is a vote for Labour, and having just read another of its nanny-state policy proposals today (smoking ban in cars) that’d never do.


      • Which UKIP? The 2010 UKIP, with the dodgy manifesto that they have since disowned? Or the current UKIP who don’t actually have a set of policies beyond ‘out of Europe’?

        The trouble with UKIP is that it’s attracted far too many of the wrong sort of people for the worse reasons and is little more than a posh version of the BNP with more thoughtful packaging.

        The smoking story – it too fills me with despair. Both that a party has come up with the idea, but also the fact that there are parents who drive around in their cars puffing away with a baby in the back seat.

        I’ve often said, a lot of legislation is passed to outlaw stupidity. Such is life.


    • I blame the union leaders themselves more for their demise than I do the Tories. They were a very self destructive bunch. And I’ll voice my voice, right here. But in this corner of the interweb, would a politician here if my tree fell in the dead of night? Meh.

      The Liberals took a big gamble joining up with the Tories. Should they, shouldn’t they? Well, probably yes. What they really should have done, in my humble opinion, is to bail and trigger a general election at the end of 2012 or beginning of 2013. That was their opportunity to emerge from this coalition with credit, rather than an unhealthy layer of tarnish.


  2. You can imagine how this puts my libertarian teeth on edge. How is it possible to steal something that has been abandoned? Philosophically, it makes no sense to me, at all. Even though I have been knee-deep in British politics since the 70s, I can never quite find a party that even comes close to representing my view of the world. I suppose the Liberals did at one point — before they became a social democrat institution. But I need not worry my little liberty head about that dilemma. Just try finding a classic liberal party in Mexico!


    • You’ll be pleased to hear that sanity triumphed in this story. It turned out that the supermarket involved was unaware of the arrest and hadn’t even been informed of the incident. They made a complaint to the CPS, who have now dropped the case.

      The reason for the u-turn? It isn’t ‘in the public interest’. I might suggest that the reason is actually that the case is in the public eye.

      As for your political dilemma….go start that party! 🙂


  3. Jean Valjean, are you reading?!?

    I totally agree with you, Gary. The law is ridiculous, to prosecute someone under it is beyond asinine. This is the kind of thing that gives government a bad name.


    Kim G


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