I was going to blog about decency a few days ago, and then this happened ...
Tuesday 18 September 2012, Manchester, England:
Two female police officers were called to report a burglary at an unoccupied house. On arrival, they were shot multiple times and then blown up with a hand grenade. The officers, young mother PC Fiona Bone, aged 32, and PC Nicola Hughes, aged 23, were killed. They were unarmed, other than the usual protection equipment and a Taser. Probably, had they been armed, the result would have been the same. They were lured to an ambush and would probably have had no time to shoot back and defend themselves: it has been reported that a Taser was found on the ground next to them, indicating that this was so.
That was bad enough: two unarmed women ambushed for no reason other than a person who may have a psychopathic personality wishing to make a name for him-/her-self. But then the Facebook pages emerged, the ones praising the actions of the killer. In my book, these trolls are as bad as the killer.
OK, the police aren’t perfect, and many people don’t like them as an organisation, but the vast majority of officers joined for the right reasons and do their best under trying circumstances, often without support from their managers and certainly in the face of massive attacks on their pay and conditions by politicians. Add to that the assaults they suffer, the abuse they take, etc.
Not every officer is a Simon Harwood, or gets embroiled in allegations of corruption following a major tragedy - most get on with the job of helping people and solving crime.
Look at the faces of these two women: does anyone really think they deserved to die, simply for donning a uniform?
And now to what I was originally going to write.
The Duchess of Cambridge:
I am not prudish, as a read of my new novel, Rathbone Kydd – sex’n’drugs’n’quantum stuff may reveal, and it’s not often that I get on my high horse about the Royal Family, but this has got me well and truly mounted.
As has been widely reported, a photographer has been sneaking around with a long lens, taking images of the former Kate Middleton in a state of partial undress. The duchess was sunbathing on a private balcony of a private property with no public access and at least 500 meters from the nearest road. Some might say she was naїve to bare her top when she was so obviously the subject of press interest, but those who say that, I say “sod off”!
The now suspended editor of the Irish Daily Star justified the publication with words to the effect that the duchess is a celebrity and “right up there with Rihanna and Lady Gaga”. Does he really think that? Really?
Think about what Rihanna and Lady G do for a living: they sing, they dance, they wear skimpy clothes for the titillation of others and they go out in public wearing very little. If they wish to do that, good on ’em. They’d be the last to complain when they appear in the celeb gossip pages having been photographed in public. BUT, if they wish to bare their parts in private, no one has a right to see that unless they are invited by the good ladies.
Everyone has the right to privacy; it is enshrined in the European Convention of Human Rights. It matters not whether the subject of the photographs is a pop star, a stripper or the world’s scummiest whore: if she wants to take off her top in private, she should be able to do that without having her nipples plastered all over the press.
In my opinion, the Duchess of Cambridge is gorgeous, and I’m sure that many red-blooded men (and some women) would love to see her naked body, but they have no right to do so. OK, she’s privileged and destined one day to become Queen, and many people object to the existence of royalty, but that gives no one any right to play peeping tom and intrude on her private moments. It is voyeurism, plain and simple.
I hope the palace continues to seek injunctions and to hound the publishers of these images, and that the photographer responsible is prosecuted under the French privacy laws.
I think that these totally unconnected events demonstrate a general erosion of decency, and I don’t like it.