Magazine article The Spectator

If the Liberal Press Is to Be Believed, Nobody Has Ever Been Stabbed -- Ever

Magazine article The Spectator

If the Liberal Press Is to Be Believed, Nobody Has Ever Been Stabbed -- Ever

Article excerpt

An apology to all readers: a couple of weeks ago, in a publicspirited sort of way, I offered advice as to how to go about getting stabbed. Although I hope you will accept that I was well intentioned, the article was clearly deficient and even offensive in two important respects. First, I neglected to explain how one might go about getting stabbed twice -- and, since I wrote, the window for that particular opportunity seems to have been closed. Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, unveiled an exciting plan to let stabbers loose in hospital accident and emergency wards, where they might joyfully run around stabbing people who are recovering from having already been stabbed by someone else, as part of a rehabilitative process for the stabber. However, quite inexplicably, this policy was dropped only nineteen and a half minutes after it had been announced and the opportunity has now been lost. Apologies.

Second, I stated that if you wished to be stabbed, your best chance would be via a knife wielded by a white person, as black people would more likely shoot you in the head than stab you. I deeply regret this insinuation, which I think was the result of institutionalised racism on my part. As the intervening two weeks have shown, black people will be more than happy to stab you with very great vigour. The implication of my article -- that, when it came to stabbing people, blacks were somehow inferior to whites -- was quite wrong, and as a consequence I will enrol on a two-month course to expunge from my mind all vestiges, conscious or unconscious, of stabbing-related racism.

It may well be that I will need to apologise again. My article was intended to help people take advantage of what I assumed to be a growing trend, particularly in our capital city -- being stabbed. But it now seems that I may have been mistaken even about this fundamental point. According to various reports in our liberal newspapers, almost nobody has been stabbed, ever. It's all a right-wing fiction whipped up by the likes of Paul Dacre, editor of the Daily Mail. And worse, the mere act of making all this stuff up encourages our young people to carry knives around, out of fear. This had not occurred to me but now, upon reflection, I can see that the likes of Toynbee and Aaronovitch may have a point. You can imagine young people across the country saying to one another: 'Good lord, have you read this piece by Christopher Howse on the Telegraph op ed pages? Chilling, it is. I think I'd better buy a Stanley knife, or a cat skinner.' Having peremptorily dropped the A&E stabfest plan, the Prime Minister then suggested that he would like to see all people convicted of knife crime -- including being caught in possession of a knife -- sent to chokey. I hope Gordon has apprised the country's magistrates of this aspiration, and indeed his own Justice Secretary, Jack Straw.

For ten long years our magistrates have been urged not to send convicted offenders -- and especially young offenders -- to prison, but to find suitable alternative punishments, such as painting the walls of the local community centre, or sitting at home watching television with a small electrical device on their legs.

Jack Straw reiterated the very same aspiration earlier this year. An admission that this policy was stupid and counter-productive would not go amiss, Prime Minister. …

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