Found Guilty by the Court of Public Opinion

Daily Mail (London), March 3, 2009 | Go to article overview

Found Guilty by the Court of Public Opinion


Byline: LITTLEJOHN richard.littlejohn@dailymail.co.uk

HAVING discovered that the Government can't legally strip disgraced banker Fred Goodwin of his [pounds sterling]693,000-a-year pension, Harriet Harman announces an appeal to the 'court of public opinion'.

Labour's deputy leader says she is determined Fred the Shred won't see a penny of his retirement fund, whatever the law says.

Ministers have been told that any attempt to stop his pension would fall foul of their own precious yuman rites legislation. But that won't stop Hattie. She declared: 'It might be enforceable in a court of law, but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the Government steps in.'

This is an intriguing development. In most other circumstances, this Government fights tooth and nail not to give in to public opinion.

When they force through unpopular measures, ministers pride themselves on resisting the wishes of the people who pay their wages. In those cases, the 'court of public opinion' is dismissed as 'mob rule'.

If this is indeed a sincere change of heart then, frankly, I'm all for it.

In the court of public opinion, for instance, Jacqui Smith would be convicted of stealing, for fraudulently misrepresenting her sister's back bedroom as her 'main' residence for parliamentary expenses purposes.

In the court of public opinion, Peter Mandelson would have been banged up for dishonestly obtaining a mortgage by lying to his building society. He certainly wouldn't have been handed a first-class return on the gravy train, elevated to the peerage and appointed to a key role in government.

In the court of public opinion, Tony Blair would find himself accused of war crimes after sending troops to Iraq on the basis of a dodgy dossier cooked up by his co-conspirator Alastair Campbell. The court of public opinion would have convicted him of selling honours and taking bribes from Formula One.

In the court of public opinion, Two Jags would have been found guilty of assault after punching a punter on the campaign trail.

In the court of public opinion, Gordon Brown would be convicted of criminal negligence for selling off Britain's gold reserves at car-boot-sale prices.

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