Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Do as Gordon says, not as he does

Constantly Furious is spot on today in dissecting a Gordon Brown speech.

First, we have Gordon's favourite part, bashing the Tories:

"..you don’t tackle the fear of crime by cultivating it, by ramping up a public sense of panic, by abusing the figures and claiming our society is broken ... Because sometimes as damaging as the fear of crime is the crime of fear. And I will play no part in that."
Then, his second favourite part, justifying a huge national database:

"Some argue that liberty dictates we should immediately wipe from the DNA database everyone who has been arrested but not convicted of an offence. But if we did this ... many dangerous criminals would have remained at large ... next time you hear somebody question the value of retaining DNA profiles ... remember Jeremiah Sheridan. And most of all remember the innocent woman he attacked"

But it gets worse. Not only is Gordon a screaming hypocrite, he is also detached from all sense of logic. Remember, the theory behind a DNA database is that when a crime is committed, the police can feed the DNA samples into the database, collect a match, and then go and arrest "the" offender (because in this magical perfect world, there will be only one match and it will of course be the right person).

Except that is not what happened in the Jeremiah Sheridan case. He was arrested in 2005 for an unrelated offence, and the DNA sample taken at the time of his arrest was matched to a sample taken at the 1991 crime scene. (Granted, the police did not get round to matching them for some time, but police incompetence is hardly an excuse for civil liberties infringements).

So, as always, a case offered in justification for the DNA database turns out to be nothing of the sort. Sheridan could have been, and would have been, caught merely by the process of retaining crime scene samples and comparing samples from new arrests with the database. There was no need to retain the samples of the innocent in order to catch Sheridan, and his case offers no support for the current practice.

Gordon: stop lying to us, and call the election.


  1. Gordon: stop lying to us..

    I can't

  2. You can call the election, though.