Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Presumption of "If"-nonsense by Anthony McCarthy

Holding the presumption of innocence as one of the great principles of our criminal law it was a jolt to hear Rod Blagojevich send up the tell tale red flag of guilt on the radio this morning. Thinking of the times I've heard a politician or other public figure taking refuge in that worst of all poems "If" this was something I really could have done without. I can't recall ever hearing someone giving those flaccid lines imbued with pretended principle unless it was to defend themselves for having done something pretty awful and getting caught at it.

Maybe it's a cultural thing. I remember when Ken Lay was convicted and gave that nauseating presser, taking refuge in a public display of religiosity entirely that was at odds with his grand scale theft and swindles, I thought, "In old New England, he'd have his jacket over his head,". Alas, that admirable practice of the guilty and disgraced has been replaced by the PR practice of brazening it out, in public, on camera, yech!

Considering what a racist imperialist he was it's not any wonder that Kipling would be the hack of last resort for a crooked pol who got caught. For the rest of us there is Hilaire Belloc's most famous effort.