"Perhaps you should have noted that the Victorians managed to reduce crime rates dramatically - at a time when the most enormous social changes were taking place.
Of course, they had one crucial advantage over the Roberts' and Toynbees of this world - that 'Old Testament in hand' bit, with its ridiculous emphasis on 'thou shalt not steal'.
I read 'Oliver Twist' to my small daughter over two or three weeks recently - never hacked my way through his prose before. The remarkable thing is, that with all the cruelties and injustices visited upon the young orphan, all the horrors of the workhouse and Victorian poverty, neither the author, nor any authority figure in the book, suggests that stealing is anything other than a great evil which should be punished severely. "
Is there point to arguing with idiots ? Or lifers ? (Mr Erwin is coy about why he got his life sentence. That's why I guess it was murder.)
Not that I put Yvonne Roberts into either category. Her trouble is that she formed her mindset in the right-on Seventies and has made a reasonably successful career out of it.
To start acknowledging reality at this stage would entail too high a price, both in material terms (look at the problems the Magna Mater Melanie Phillips and Peter Hitchens find getting published, and the hysteria directed against Mel in particular) - and perhaps more importantly, in terms of self-image. To acknowlege that you've turned into one of the people you've been battling against for thirty years takes a sort of courage - even without the thought that your career and many old friendships may be at stake. Why do you think I blog anonymously ?
Against such considerations matters of truth, or right and wrong, come lower down on most people's moral scales.
Erwin James is a different case. Liberals love that frisson they get from close contact with the bad guys. John McVicar made a better living from being a former armed robber than he did from being a real one.
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