A cross section of my Facebook friends' lists contain a bunch of ardent football lovers. For the purpose of this argument, nameless, they shall be sectioned to one group - staunchly patriotic, right-wing and largely working class. It suits my purpose to contain the soccer and rugby-football lovers within the very same group. Although the experience of attending a soccer match is so vastly different to the passing by hand game that as a passionate soccer fan myself, I'd rather be in a rugby game any day just for the sheer friendliness. The infield brutality of a hard nut-crushing tackle inspires those in the stands with a rather gentler spirit. The level of passion feels less visceral. This need not be translated as a complete turn down of courtesy tickets to see West Bromwich Albion play any other premiership team should any come my way but, a mere admission that if I had no interest in either sport, I'd still rather see Blues playing the Scarlets rather than see lower league soccer in any blisteringly cold winter evening. The winter breeze in these parts is so cold.
Yesterday, my football friends, proudly working class, engaged in a tame exercise of highlighting how preposterous the recent claim by Milli Dowler's killer against the Prison Service had been. Apparently, he had been physically abused in prison by other inmates. The ground of their disconcert lay in wanting the individual to be punished in all forms by natural and poetic means for what they did to Milli. The latter mean, an elaboration of whatever punishment self righteous inmates might dictate upon newcomers on the grounds that they are deserving of further punishment. The problem with this argument is that the deliverer of poetic justice are themselves accused of other crimes and perhaps as violent, and heinous as the Dowler killer. My football friends have no sympathy for rapists, murderers, dole-scroungers, shoplifters, pushers and pimps but seem to be utterly sympathetic to poetic punishments channeled through them.
When the tabloid and for that matter the broadsheet print media take on the part of judge, jury and executioner, a climate of fear descends upon whoever is at the receiving end of such cases, whether justified or not. The Dowler family will never be united with Milli again, at least not in this life if one believes in reincarnation or predestined life there after. Yet retribution does not stop with the family who have emotive grounds for demanding harsher punishment. The general populace have no such justification other than thinking of their own children, nephews or nieces and take on the role of a moral adjudicator.
The prison system, in principle remains an opportunity for the individual to realise what had gone on. Any reality over prison overcrowding, drug-infestation, habitual gang rape over passing the soap games need not cloud our judgments as possible additional punishment for the odious few who are locked up. A prison sentence is a banishment from society for the duration of the sentence. No further qualification or addition required. Period.