You'd think that in paying your debt to society, losing your liberty was enough. But not for hard-man Minister for Injustice Jack Straw who today banned a comedy course for convicts in Whitemoor maximum security prison in Cambridgeshire, a facility holding 500 of the most dangerous prisoners in the UK.
I'm puzzled as to why mean-spirited Jack has stopped a course, days after it had already started, that promises to socialise a bunch of guys who obviously need it. Oh, I see. Muslims. Lots of Muslims. Some convicted of terrorist-related offences.
Make them miserable. That'll stop them blowing up civilians.
Our Man on the Spot, Charles Shaar Murray, said: "I can't think of any better way of deprogramming Al Qaeda than to make them tell jokes."
Not be outdone in the hang 'em, flog 'em, burn 'em at the stake stakes, Shadow minister Nick Herbert closed ranks and said he was sceptical of the value of these courses. Well, yes, you are a Tory, Nick, a party not best known for their scintillating sense of humour.
Harrumphing all over this evening's Radio 4 PM News programme, Nick said he wasn't "sure if it’s about rehabilitation or recreation. It should be about restitution." He complained that most of the prisoners were "below the level of an 11 year-old in reading." Well that would date back to your Conservative government's education system in the 1990s, wouldn't it? He continued, "I'm not sure comedy courses prepare prisoners for return to society," it's a waste of money and it doesn't reduce re-offending, blah, blah, blah.
Frances Crook of the Howard League said of Straw's ruling, that this was, "A gut reaction to a tabloid headline." And what, precisely, is Jack's job?
The comedy course organisers claim it provides education, rehabilitation, getting you to know yourself and a feeling self-worth. Perhaps they should invite some of our politicians to join up.
Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross were again pilloried for their (unfunny) fonejacking of Sachs, this time by the Big Suits at the BBC.
Could have been worse, though. What about the comedian in Burma who was sentenced today to 45 years?
Who’d be a comic?
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