Thursday, 8 May 2008

Double standards

The level of class deference in this country never ceases to amaze me.

When a nutter starts shooting at his neighbours through their windows and is subsequently killed in a drunken gun battle with the police just off the Kings Road in Chelsea, it is reported as a tragic end to a glittering career.

As of course it is when any 32 year old suffering from substance-abuse and other emotional problems flips and ends up dead.

But Mark Saunders wasn't just anybody: He was a barrister tipped to become a QC. A graduate of Corpus Christi College Oxford and a part-time soldier in the poshest regiment in the territorial army, the Honourable Artillery Company. He lived in one of London's most fashionable and exclusive areas. And apparently he also had a drink problem and kept a shotgun at home.

Now imagine just for a moment that the shooting had happened in Brixton or Tottenham. And that Marks Saunders was a black man on crack cocaine, and a graduate of North London Polytechnic who worked in IT.

The papers would be talking about how gun crime and drugs were a blight on a community with a growing culture of violence. No doubt social services, political correctness and rap music would be held responsible.

Maybe the Metropolitan Police will now be setting up a special squad to tackle 'toff-on-toff' crime as a counterpart to Operation Trident. But I doubt it.

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