The Kid and Bob Diamond

Posted: 19 December 2012 in Prisons
Tags: ,
Bob Diamond

Bob Diamond

Is anyone too young to be a lifer? And what makes you a lifer, too? Here’s a lively exchange I had with two lifers: The Kid, and Frankie, an older man.

– The Kid is too young to be in here [in this prison on a life sentence].
– Why?
– He’s only 23. He’s just a kid.
– Old enough to have to have committed his crimes, surely? Or do you think kids are born innocent?
– Yeah.  They are. They learn wickedness from the places they grow up in. Kids from wealthy backgrounds don’t get into put into HMP Oldgate.
– Ah, but the Bob Diamonds of this world? People say they have done plenty wrong.
– That’s true. But we’ve done stuff that’s put people into graves. And into hospital. And that Bob Diamond hasn’t.
– Really? This credit orgy, dicey bank regulation and now recession has led to businesses going bust, the redundant hit the bottle or drugs, the bankrupt hitting their wives, unemployed youngsters abuse themselves, self harm. And so on.
…. And so the unsubtle argument went on over food….

At 10 years old, the age of criminal responsibility in England is one of the lowest in Europe. Compare it withy France 13, Germany 14, Sweden 15, and Spain 16. However, at 23, The Kid was very likely to have been well over 10 when he did his crime to get himself put away as a lifer. 

More interesting is the direct connection between Frank and the Kids actions and the results – injury, addiction, death, etc.  Making a connection between, say, Amazon and Google making £4 billion in UK, then paying a paltry £8 million tax- and underfunded apprentices for unemployed youth, or adequate rehab for addicts? Well there is a route between them, but is a long and winding road.

Alas, in terms of the law and society’s expectations, The Kid and Frank are right and I was wrong. But it stinks. 

The News today: “Swiss bank UBS fined almost £1 billion for bank rate fixing around the globe. US authorities announce two former traders have been charged and face extradition.” Perhaps… The Kid and Frank will get some different company. And perhaps there’s something in St Paul’s assertion “All have fouled up and regularly fall short of the guidelines of God”.

Note: All names have been changed to protect identities. [p.s.The Cancer Chronicle will return]

Bill Lovett


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