A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Eric Illsley's positive porridge time!

The wife of disgraced Labour MP Eric Illsley says he's doing fine in jail. He's keeping his head down. She says, "The first few phone calls were slightly emotional obviously because it was a shock but he's keeping his head down and getting on with it. He seems chirpier now than the first few days. He'll cope. He's not always been an MP. Eric didn't come from the playing fields of Eton, he comes from the playing fields of Kendray (in Barnsley)... so he's quite resilient, he'll handle it well." Hold on a minute, dear! So you think public schoolboys are not up to a period in the slammer? Most of those who ever do find themselves on the wrong side of the law fit in perfectly well. It's the pretentious middle classes that don't fair so well.

Recent old Etonian lags have done quite well. Lord Brocket got knifed in jail, which gave him a rise in the pecking order on kudos. Jonathan Aitken has reformed himself from being a perjuror. Old Etonian Simon Mann found himself in a frightful jail in Equatorial Guinea after trying to get rid of the dictator. He is now working as an adviser to President Obiang  -  six years after trying to overthrow him. No doubt he told the despot it was all a terrible mistake.

Mrs Illsley may think the playing fields of Kendray will have given her husband a sense of coping but I think she's just trying to get her ten pence worth of class bitterness in. Eric will do far better if he comes out with his head held high, realising that he did wrong (which she tells us he does realise) and put his time and skills to good use.

Also Mrs Illsley should remember what Roger Cooper said almost 20 years ago when he was released from Ervin jail in Tehran. When questioned by eager tabloid journalists about his time at the hands of his Persian prison guards, he said, "Anyone who has been to a British public school can do five years in an Iranian jail."

Eating porridge is only the start!


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