To­day’s real prob­lem? The san­dal

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Paul Stainton - PaulS­tain­ton BBC Ra­dio Cam­bridgeshire’s Paul Stain­ton writes for the Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph

Afar bet­ter writer than I (Charles Dick­ens) once claimed, through a cer­tain Mr Bum­ble, that the law was an ass and re­cently I am in­clined to agree.

I am not sure when the pub­lic’s re­spect for law and or­der started to wane but I am tempted to blame the demise on the hum­ble san­dal.

Grow­ing up, I didn’t dare mess with my fa­ther, the lo­cal bobby or my head­mas­ter, but a male teacher wear­ing a san­dal, that was a very dif­fer­ent ket­tle of fish with lentils.

My first ex­pe­ri­ence of this strappy footed phe­nom­e­non oc­curred when I was about eight or nine and from that mo­ment on, my tem­ple of re­spect/fear, that had been painstak­ingly built up over the years, be­gan to crum­ble.

His dress and his “right on” at­ti­tude to­wards “the kids,” gave us the green light to abuse his good na­ture and ex­ploit his wor­thy in­ten­tions; amidst the tor­rent of fly­ing mis­siles and pro­jec­tiles that awaited him every les­son, we knew that he cared more about our right to ex­press our­selves, than he did about his own safety.

The same is true in to­day’s so­ci­ety, the san­dal is the call­ing card of the do-gooder, peo­ple who mean well, but ul­ti­mately ruin ev­ery­thing with their good in­ten­tions.

Be­fore the “happy clappy” bri­gade came along, freed our minds and re­minded us about our var­i­ous hu­man rights and what ben­e­fits we were en­ti­tled to, re­spect for the law of the land was al­most ab­so­lute.

The odd “bad un” would rob a train or steal a paint­ing or two, but the ma­jor­ity stayed on the straight and nar­row and if you didn’t, you knew the con­se­quences.

Fast for­ward thirty years and many of the men in san­dals are now politi­cians, with wide smiles and fake prom­ises. Oth­ers have started or­gan­i­sa­tions with strange acronyms, and reg­u­larly ap­pear on our TV screens, to preach their mes­sage of tol­er­ance and equal­ity for all.

Which is a fine mantra to pro­mote un­less of course you are a crim­i­nal.

You can call me old fash­ioned if you like, but in my mind, as soon as you step over the line you have cho­sen to give up your rights and there should be no tol­er­ance.

Un­for­tu­nately, the “san­dal­is­tas” have in­fil­trated so­ci­ety to such an ex­tent that you would have to steal every car in your street, rob the whole of Queens­gate and re­peat­edly beat the top “rozzer” in Cam­bridgeshire, with Timmy Mal­let’s ham­mer, just to get a bit of “bird.”

Even then you would be out in six months and free to start the cy­cle all over again.

Peo­ple are not wor­ried about the con­se­quences of their ac­tions be­cause in their mind they are not worth wor­ry­ing about.

Why else does half of Cam­bridgeshire think it’s ac­cept­able to drive about on the county’s roads, whilst chat­ting on their mo­bile phones?

With po­lice cut­backs you have more chance of see­ing Lord Lu­can rid­ing Sher­gar, than you have of see­ing a po­lice car on the A14.

We have peo­ple at­tack­ing traf­fic war­dens and break­ing their legs, all be­cause of a park­ing ticket; that war­den will have to live with that for the rest of his life, his at­tacker will be free to at­tack some­body else in just nine months.

The lorry driver, who killed po­lice of­fi­cer, Sharon Gar­rett, whilst he was check­ing his phone, will be out in three years; her fam­ily have been handed a life sen­tence.

Danny Warby from King’s Lynn, had a list of driv­ing con­vic­tions as long as your arm and if the law had been stronger, he would have been taken off the road and two chil­dren might still have a mummy.

It seems to me that we need far fewer rights and a lot more con­se­quences, the pen­du­lum has swung way too far. The san­dal has a lot to an­swer for.

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