"The People Have Spoken…the Bastards"


A show on BBC 4 Radio recently ran a contest asking listeners to suggest a piece of legislation that would improve life in Britain, promising that the winning proposal would be introduced by Labour Party M.P. Stephen Pound. Both Pound and the show's producers regretted the offer once it became clear that the most popular suggestion was a law allowing homeowners "to use any means to defend their home from intruders."

Pound denounced the proposal as a "ludicrous, brutal, unworkable blood-stained piece of legislation," saying, "The people have spoken…the bastards." He told The Independent: "We are going to have to re-evaluate the listenership of Radio 4. I would have expected this result if there had been a poll in The Sun. Do we really want a law that says you can slaughter anyone who climbs in your window?"

The vote apparently was part of the popular reaction against the conviction and imprisonment of Norfolk farmer Tony Martin for shooting a burglar. Martin, who was initially sentenced to life for murder but ultimately served three years of a five-year sentence for manslaughter, has endorsed the bill. His prosecution became a cause celebre for supporters of the right to self-defense--who clearly do not include enlightened thinkers such as Pound.

[Thanks to Dan Terrill for the tip.]