Looks like I shot my load too early on Jon Venables. Above is yesterday's Channel 4 News; skip to 6.10 where Peter Price of Radio City in Liverpool comes in. This guy is a dick.
Just take a look at the first thing he says:
"There's a woman up here with some children who lives in fear of this subhuman person turning up one day on her doorstep."
The woman in question, it turns out, is Denise Fergus, James Bulger's mother. Why would Denise Fergus fear Jon Venables, or Robert Thompson for that matter, coming to find her? Her son was not deliberately targeted; they weren't out looking for "Jamie Bulger of that Bulger family, we've got a thing or two to show them bastards", they were looking for any small boy. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I know of nothing to indicate they're fixated with the family and if there were ever any indication that they were, that would be a breach of their licence and they'd be straight back in prison. Ditto, if Denise Fergus had ever had any slight contact or threat from them – she'd be straight onto the police. This is such a ridiculous argument that I can't believe I've spent so long on it.
Back to Peter:
"The papers are going to be full of it, the papers aren't going to leave it"
You said it.
"On my phone-on last night we had four solid hours of people saying 'what about Denise? What about the victim? Why is it always the perpetrator?' She has children. She lives in fear for her children."
Seriously, people of Liverpool. Get a grip. Or stop being wound up by local radio jocks. See the above: what danger are Denise Fergus and her remaining children actually in? Other than from being held in a permanent state of victimhood by their neighbours?
The other lawyer guy on the show makes some good points between 7.30 and 9. Except then Peter butts in again.
"All these years though, she has lived in fear while they've been out, not knowing whether they're on her doorstep."
*sigh* You're intelligent people, I'm not rehashing that again. At this point I'm really wanting to know whether Denise Fergus really does / did feel this way (anyone read anything?) or whether it's this guy whipping up a mob frenzy by ignoring / not understanding the terms of the release licence.
"Nobody's thinking of her, everyone's thinking of this monster."
This is starting to get tiresome. Actually, what it's starting to sound like is the old 'nobody thinks about the white working class' stuff trotted out by the far right to justify anything they perceive as an injustice, when it's actually just something they don't understand.
Jon Snow now (9.25) points out that we don't know if there's a new victim that had a crime committed against them. If there is another victim, what about that victim's mother and their right to a fair, uncompromised trial? (It was here that I started cheering Jon Snow.)
"So what do we do about all the big cases that have been tried where they found juries? Where do we pussyfoot, and where do we stop and start, and where do we think about real people paying taxes in this country to be protected?"
The Ian Huntleys of this world, during their major trials, did not have their previous convictions aired in the media and known to the world while their trials were going on. It's a fundamental tenet of our justice system, isn't it, that previous convictions aren't revealed to the jury unless the judge rules them admissable, in case such knowledge prejudices the jury? So, Peter, no comparison. Sorry.
I'm not even going to comment on the taxpayer bit.
"But is this family, the whole family, and all the people who touched James's life, are these people ever going to have any peace in this life?"
Not while you're determined to rake over the murder of a small boy for ratings, no.
Jon now asks if all the people who rang the show would be happy simply to know what it is Venables is accused of.
Jon: They don't want to know who he is?
"They want to know what it is that he's done. There's all this speculation in the press."
Gosh, yes, all that speculation in the press. How dreadful of them / you.
Jon: But what difference will that make?
"Well, if they know that it's a sex crime, or to do with children, then we know that the system has totally and utterly failed."
Uh-huh. That's the overriding concern of the mob right now; the integrity of the prison and rehabilitation system. If they were to find out Venables was accused of something relating to sexual assault or paedophilia, they'd be perfectly content to rail against the system, rather than forming a line outside every prison in the country demanding to know his new identity (to protect our communities, of course) and trying to string him up.
And Peter's final thoughts:
"Do you honestly believe that the British press will take a pause, and take a breath? They want to know because this is such a big case and because he is such a monster."
That's the third time Venables has been referred to as a 'monster' or 'subhuman'. (By the way, I read this article in The Times today about whether children are 'born' evil and how to make rehabilitation work, very interesting.) But I think this repetition is revealing: they're not interested in the principles of the justice system or the right of the family to know, they're interested in perpetuating their own view that some people – even ten year old children – are just 'evil'. Because wouldn't the world be a simpler place if that were true? Then nobody would have to take responsibility for themselves or each other, or have to work through the complicated bit where you take someone with massive emotional problems and try and make them less fucked up, for the good of us all. No, it's easier to condemn for eternity and rant and rave on Channel 4 News which, juxtaposed against two very rational people, makes you look like a dick.
Incidentally, I saw on Twitter (I forget where) that a comment on the Daily Mail's website said: "They should have been strung up. You don't kill children". I wonder if there's any way the author of that comment will ever understand what they wrote.