David Thompson


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September 13, 2012


Furor Teutonicus

XX Burglars Have Feelings Too XX

Yes. That is why it is so much fun to attach electrodes to their bollocks.


I saw this halfway down the Monday Books link:

"Among the things on the horizon are a book about stupid criminals, a new paramedic’s book, a book about teaching Spanish kids in English in Spain, a book by a London copper about working with various police forces in the USA and a political polemic by the blogger David Thompson. More details as and when."


Is there something you're not telling us, David?

sackcloth and ashes

I thought Pam Posnett was going to be a LibDem. Imagine my surprise ...



"...Theodore Dalrymple now has a regular column..."

Oh, yes indeed! *bookmarks on all devices*

sackcloth and ashes

Actually, I think Dalrymple has been a bit naughty. Here's the full quote:


'“I know the debate will now start again about people’s right to protect their property and that’s very subjective. I feel very sorry for the residents of the property who were put in this position. It must have been a dreadful thing for them to have faced. I also have some sympathy for the people who broke in, in so far as how the situation was handled, but they were breaking the law. I don’t think there’s any excuse for people invading someone’s privacy like that".'

In short, Ms Posnett could have chosen her words better, but it's clear that (1) when she talks about 'how the situation was handled' she's referring to the shooting, and (2) she's making it clear that the burglars broke the law, and are morally culpable for their behaviour.


Pam Posnett is as deserving of losing her freedom as the criminals she makes excuses for.



“In short, Ms Posnett could have chosen her words better…”

Posnett’s sentiment still strikes me as bizarre. If anything, her qualification makes it even odder. And the phrase “invading someone’s privacy” hardly seems adequate, given the situation. It’s a bit like saying, “Mr Smith had broken in through the girl’s bedroom window and was just about to molest her when the girl’s father dislocated Mr Smith’s jaw with the swing of a heavy screwdriver. There is no excuse for attempting to molest schoolgirls and it is against the law, but I also have some sympathy for Mr Smith who lost several teeth.” I feel no sympathy – none whatsoever - for gangs of burglars who get slightly wounded, or indeed killed, during their violations. To extend sympathy to such people seems… well, pretentious.


Curses. Rumbled.

David Gillies

It's worse than pretentious to extend sympathy to criminals injured in the course of their activities: it's morally corrosive. We may, if feeling a bit wishy-washy, bemoan the circumstances that drove them to blah blah blah, but actually regretting harm befallen an evildoer in the commission of a crime isn't so much bleeding heart liberalism as a full-blown aortic dissection.


sackcloth & ashes,

I don't think Dalrymple's being 'a bit naughty' at all. Posnett is basically saying she feels 'very sorry' for the victims but she doesn't think they should have defended themselves. Because people's right to protect their property (and themselves) is 'subjective'.

Posnett should be ashamed.


a political polemic by the blogger David Thompson.

Great news, David. When will it be published?

sackcloth and ashes

'she doesn't think they should have defended themselves'.

She specifically states that the burglars were 'breaking the law', and that there was 'no excuse' for what they did.

I strongly suspect that Posnett is trying not to justify vigilantism (which got Hague into trouble over the Martin affair), but I don't see her saying that (1) burglars are on a par with their victims and (2) that householders don't have the right to protect her property.

I'd like to think that my comments on previous threads (notably with reference to the August 2011 riots) show that I'm not a bleeding heart on matters of crime, and that I automatically side with law-abiding citizens over toe-rags. The thing is that whoever missed out the final part of Posnett's statement is doing her a disservice. She is not doing a China Mieville or a Laurie Penny.

Horace Dunn


“To extend sympathy to such people seems… well, pretentious.”

And Sackcloth:

“I strongly suspect that Posnett is trying not to justify vigilantism”

Surely what is of concern here is the fact that Posnett felt the need to qualify her assertion that “[there’s no excuse] for people invading someone’s privacy like that”. If, indeed, that it was she was trying to do (of course we’re interpreting here).

Leaving aside her characterisation of this attack upon the householders as merely an invasion of privacy, why could she not have taken the more robust approach that her fellow party member, Alan Duncan took? If the answer to this is, as you surmise, Sackcloth, that she didn’t want to “justify vigilantism” then we need to ask why she was compelled to make this qualification. After all, the facts as reported indicated that what took place was not vigilantism, but simple self defence.

The problem here is that the law, or at least the way in which it is being applied, is not clear, which is why Posnett feels compelled to express sympathy for the burglars in order to cover herself. Well, if that’s the law, then it is, in this case, clearly being asinine.

Spiny Norman

Curses. Rumbled.

Oh! Excellent news! When it's published, will autographed copies be available from this website?

* hint, hint *


The implication of Posnett’s statement seems pretty clear. She would rather the burglars hadn’t suffered minor injuries while terrorising their victims. “How the situation was handled” – the gang’s victims defending themselves – is apparently a reason to feel sympathy for the gang. She says there’s “no excuse” for the gang’s predation, yet apparently it troubles her that people might defend their families and property against such predation. The morality of this position isn’t obvious to me, nor is it remotely realistic. It implies a remarkable failure of empathy for the actual victims. Perhaps we should all assume that people who live in remote farmhouses and who’ve been targeted before should simply cower under the bedclothes in the vain hope that someone else will, magically, take care of their physical safety, just in the nick of time, despite all past experience to the contrary.

As noted previously, when faced with burglars in your home in the small hours, it’s probably best to assume they mean you and your family grievous, perhaps mortal, harm - and to respond accordingly as best one can. To assume, based on nothing, that the intruders are merely “invading your privacy” - as Posnett put it, absurdly - would be foolish. If a gang of criminals is willing to violate your home at a time when they know you’re most vulnerable, with no regard for normal boundaries and what could easily happen, why should you assume they only mean to rob you? Or that maybe they’ll just rob you and will only beat you insensible if they think you might recognise them in a line-up? Or that maybe they’ll just rob you and will only beat your wife, just a little, around the face?


Early next year, I think.

sackcloth and ashes

Let's be frank - she's expressing some measure of regret about the fact that some burglars got shot, but she's not denying the homeowners the right to self-defence, nor is she minimising the crime the housebreakers committed. The full quote makes that clear.



Right again and, in my humble opinion, this is a rare miss for the usually incredibly measured Mr Thompson.

Look forward to the book, but with a hint of disappointment that it won't make my Xmas list.


Mr and Mrs Ferrie must be really pleased that Councillor Posnett feels 'sympathy' for the people who tried to rob them.


Since sackcloth brought this up and Horace seemed to describe it as I would can I ask, is someone considered a vigilante in Great Britain who shoots and wounds, or kills, a person breaking into their home? When they're in the home? We call that self-defense here in the U.S. Going out after finding your home has been broken into and shooting a person you think is responsible, now that is vigilantism. And it would be punishable under the law. Am I missing something?


An 'invasion of privacy' is when the Government quizzes you about who was staying at your house on Census Day. Aggravated burglary is 'an invasion of privacy' in the way violent rape is 'a sexual encounter'.

Her use of this phrase, plus her sympathy for the burglars, marks her as a loony relativist, regardless of the boilerplate caveats she tossed around to mask the scent.


I'm confused by all this. It seems that the general criticism here is that this MP didn't express herself with the moral certainty of a George Galloway or Laurie Penny.

Is that what you want from politics, more Galloways?



Morally speaking, coherence and consistency would be better words than certainty. And neither of those are qualities I associate with George Galloway or Laurie Penny.



I'm not sure how you are able to judge somebody on the basis of a couple of sentences delivered under who knows what circumstances (probably a phone call from a journalist with no time to think about a measured response). In the space of those couple of sentences, however, she does seem to be consistently vague and consistently determined not to let anybody know what she really thinks, so I'd say she has nailed the consistency thing, though I agree that the fence sitting does somewhat hamper the coherence.



Well, yes, it may be that Ms Posnett misspoke, as it were. And I haven’t suggested that the Councillor be taken out and shot. But if it’s just a gaffe, it’s an odd gaffe to make. Given the circumstances she’s referring to, stating one thing while strongly implying something contradictory is… peculiar. As Dalrymple suggests, it does rather evoke a broader learned confusion on the subject.


The article describes the criminals as "burglars". A better word would be "home invaders". Leave "burglar" for those who steal when they think nobody is home. Most thieves used to be very careful to steal only when they thought nobody was home, because they feared violence. Now, with draconian laws disarming the honest citizenry, criminals have become increasingly bold, because they know that their victims will be prosecuted by the law if they dare to use violence to defend their homes.

I think it is entirely reasonable for citizens to shoot criminals like these. And it is entirely reasonable to regard those who want to disarm honest citizens as traitors to civilization--no matter how high an opinion they may have of themselves in their silly little pin-headed minds.

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