Thursday, 9 July 2009

The rule of the law -for some

It is quite extraordinary what is happening in the UK in the last few months.

A few weeks ago, we woke up to discover that our elected representatives are more corrupt than any of us ever imagined. To its credit, The Daily Telegraph provided great and unpartisan coverage of the scandal. They are all, the vast majority, at it: Labour, Tories, LibDems and even the SNP. Milking the system for their own benefit.

I wonder how the Police and HMRC would react if I told them that I forgot to declare rental income from an old flat, or if I told them that I was getting tax exemption for items that had nothing to do with the rented property. Would a very sincere apology suffice?

They would probably let me know that “ignorance of the law is not excuse” or less likely they would intimate “ignorantia juris non excusat”.

Today, we woke up to find out that a newspaper has been breaking the law repeatedly and systematically, and that it is settling with the victims out of court trying to conceal the matter.

The Guardian reports that the News of the World, a British tabloid, has been tapping into mobile phones and landlines of public figures, with a view to get “exclusives”. [BBC]

The Metropolitan Police has decided that there is no case to answer and that further investigation is not in the public interest. Once again, the Metropolitan Police is not going to take any further the investigation of alleged crimes. [BBC].

So the question is:
- When is an alleged crime not deserving of a police investigation?

- When the alleged criminal has more power and more means than the vast majority of citizens.

Thus, News International and particularly News of the World are left off the hook.

I see a pattern:

1) Insolvent banks are saved and bail out by the taxpayer, despite being private companies, because they are deemed too big to fail;

2) Politicians are immune from prosecution despite overwhelming evidence of tax fraud;

3) A powerful newspaper is spared a police investigation into alleged criminal conduct on an industrial scale, because it has the means to pay off its victims.

Thank God things could only get better.

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