Ah, those were the days. When the courts of England could banish their “ne’er-do-wells” to lands far beyond their borders.
Step up Richard Miller who, after one presumes reasonable consideration, went to the Government’s daft “Petition” website and started a daft petition. He wanted Parliament to debate his suggestion that his fellow English men and women, who are prone to a bit of rioting and looting, should be deported. Not to Australia this time. Rather, his preferred option was the Outer Hebrides.
Mr Miller’s petition states that the islands have “none of the comforts of English city living e.g. no running water, electricity, decent food, culture and shopping”. As such this would constitute punishment. He goes on to say that as some of the islanders keep sheep, they could look after the English yobs as well.
Surely not in the same field. What have the sheep done to deserve that?
You would have to hope that there was an element of mischief behind this petition but, this particular Dick might actually believe that he has come up with a solution. He may even be Jeremy Clarkson in disguise. But, with the inclusion of words in the petition that contained more than two syllables, this seems unlikely.
As for the Outer Hebrides?
Well, of course there’s running water. OK it hasn’t done the recycling rounds like the drinking water of the South-east. So, if you prefer your water to have previously resided in the bladders of a couple of strangers, then the Hebrides are not for you.
Electricity? Renewable and subsidising the Green House Gas emission reductions of the gas and coal burning South.
Decent food? Granted, no jellied eels, faggots or pie and liquor here. And alas no McDonald’s or KFC. But he could try some fresh lobsters, prawns or scallops. Maybe a bit of salmon or venison.
As for Culture? Here I would have to admit to knowing little of the traditions and customs of English city life. I know there are brass bands, clogs and Whippets, pearly kings and queens and Morris dancing. But perhaps he means the galleries full of the work of foreign artists, Italian High Opera, or the proximity to concert halls where he can listen to the music of Bach, Beethoven or Strauss. Either way. I’m not convinced that any of those he wishes to inflict on the people of the Hebrides would recognise a fugue as long as the hole in their arse points to the ground.
How that stacks up against the culture of Hebrides, with an impeccable provenance and an unbroken history going back over a millennium, is perhaps a matter of individual preference. It is certainly not for comparison.
It is also interesting that Mr Miller thinks that denying his fellow citizens the ability to go shopping is a punishment. It was apparently obvious, from the television pictures beamed around the world that they prefer to steal rather than shop.
And Mr Miller needn’t be so modest. What about all the other things that English city life offers that they don’t have in the Outer Hebrides.
Polluted air, muggings, murders, rapes, drug dealers hanging around the school gate and the very real chance of having your children shot or stabbed to death by one of their peers. And all this on litter strewn streets that are costing English councils close on £1 billion a year to clean up.
And let’s not forget the most recent contribution to civilisation to have sprung from English city life, the brain-dead knuckle draggers who rioted, looted and trashed the very places of whose virtues he extols.
London would surely top the list of places of places most suitable for internal exile.
Having said that, there may perhaps be some merit in this idea.
A reciprocal arrangement that saw the despatching of Hebridean delinquents south would be a deterrent unrivalled. Although actually being forced to reside in one of Mr Miller’s urban utopias would surely be considered cruel and unusual punishment.
Still, Richard Miller got his 15 minutes of fame, albeit only in the Outer Hebrides. I for one hope that he has a few more such petitions up his sleeve. A man with such remarkable insight and knowledge of Britain must surely be destined for great things. Even if the freedom of Stornoway is not one of them.