Thursday, August 25, 2011

Time to let the Naked Rambler on his way.

Featured on Liberal Democrat Voice

I read with despair the report yesterday of the Naked Rambler's minute of freedom before being locked up for another 657 days.

Is keeping this guy locked up in jail for longer than most people would get for much more serious crimes really the right way to handle him? He's been kept in prison for most of the last 5 years. To me, that's disproportionate.

There is no evidence that he's ever caused anyone any harm. Locking him up in solitary confinement really is not the answer to this. Rather than jail him, then have the police waiting outside to re-arrest him as soon as he's free, why can't he just be left to get on with it?  

A disproportionate amount of public money is being spent on this man and, frankly, it's not working. I'm not convinced that someone should be in prison for something that's relatively innocuous.

It's time to stop locking him up and just let him get on his way. Public nudity isn't my bag, which is something I'm sure you'll all be very relieved to hear, but in the end of the day it's not going to harm me or anyone else to see a naked man walking up the street minding his own business.  If he was harassing people, well, that's clearly a different matter, but I think we'd still have to ask if prison was the right place for him.

I feel saddened that we are behaving in such an uptight way. It just doesn't seem necessary. Are we actually going to keep him in prison  for the rest of his life? Simply because he doesn't want to wear clothes? Really?

And if he's kept in solitary because of other prisoners' sensibilities, or for his own protection, I really can't see how that's doing him any good - and there's a fairly major chance it's harming him.

Can somebody please just make this stop?


Adrian Cruden said...

It is a ludicrous sentence and my thoughts were similar to your own when I saw the news. Like you say, leave him to it. It will be winter soon - Nature will teach him why we wear clothes!

Anders said...

Maybe he should contact his Lib Dem MP - Chris Huhne. He used to live just down the road from his constituency office.

George Laird said...

Dear Caron

This guy has been told on several occassions that if he puts clothes on he can go free.

He is acting like an idiot and represents a threat to public order.

If you were a parent would you want him standing naked in front of your little girl?

He is committing an offence therefore the law must act.

And he only has to obey the law to get out.

No one is asking him for something unreasonable.

His 'human rights' argument is nonsense also.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

rob's uncle said...

The link in the first sentence links to yesterday's post by you not a story about the rambler.

Caron said...

George, I do have a daughter & I'm very protective of her. However, I doubt she'd come to any harm if she saw this man out & about.

Whatever you think of nudity, half a decade in jail is ridiculous.

Rob's uncle, thanks for spotting that. Will sort in morning when I'm on the laptop.

Adam Corlett said...

As I understand it, the law is not particularly clear. From wikipedia:

"Where the social acceptability of nudity in certain places may be well understood, the legal position is often less clear cut. In England, for example, the law does not actually prohibit simple public nudity, but does forbid indecent exposure. In practice, this means that successful prosecution hangs on whether there is a demonstrable intention to shock others, rather than simply a desire to be nude in a public place. Specifically, using nudity to "harass, alarm or distress" others is an offence against the Public Order Act of 1986. Occasional attempts to prove this point by walking naked around the country therefore often result in periods of arrest, followed by release without charge, and inconsistencies in the approach between different police jurisdictions."

I think the LDs should be campaigning for clear laws/guidelines that reduce inconsistency and place the onus on the prosecution to prove that harassment was the intent (though I'm sure our leaders wouldn't dare mention it, even if the Tories would budge, so this man will stay in jail...)

There is no right not to be offended, thankfully, else the same arguments could be used for any public hint of homosexuality, or exposing one's ankles or whatever irrational dislikes people have.

Nudity may be an ancient taboo but absolutely not one that liberals should be insisting people conform to. Simple as that.

Do we think that unlike every other species on the planet, not wearing clothes might be a threat to public order or that the sight of a naked human would be harmful to children?

Anonymous said...

Rather sensible of the author.
Children would not give a second thought if visiting naturalist camps, so seeing a "natural" human would not bother them. Children are very resilient and more sensible than adults are about nudity.


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