Our thanks to Ken for this:
From an opinion piece by the great Peter Hitchens (scroll down a little):
There is a collective swoon, among reviewers, about the BBC’s new prison drama Time, in which former Doctor Who actress Jodie Whittaker plays Orla, a single mother of three small children, and so automatically a national heroine of the Blairite state.
She is cruelly thrust into prison for ‘fiddling the lecky’ – that is to say stealing electricity to keep her brood warm – so let’s all sympathise.
Before she is incarcerated, she is seen in a neat flat, and the children are plainly well-cared for and well-dressed.
As far as I can tell she has no previous convictions. As a result of her harsh treatment, there is nobody to look after the children except her mother, who drinks too much.
Well, I looked this up. Google could come up with no such case. The Ministry of Justice in London could find no records of any women imprisoned for this offence since 2018.
In fact, since 2018 hardly any women have even been charged or tried for that crime, let alone locked up.
I also checked the Sentencing Council’s guidelines for the offence of ‘abstracting electricity’.
They actually say: ‘For offenders on the cusp of custody, imprisonment should not be imposed where there would be an impact on dependants which would make a custodial sentence disproportionate to achieving the aims of sentencing.’
Which seems to me to mean that the offence would have to be extra serious for the bench even to consider sending a mother of three young children straight to prison.
So the whole thing is propaganda designed to give the entirely false impression that we have a stern and unbending criminal justice system.
I asked the BBC to explain why they had done this misleading thing. They said, ‘This is a fictional drama series’, to which I say, ‘So what?’
TV fiction is incredibly influential, often more so than documentaries. They added:
There are aggravating factors to Orla’s case which led her to receive a short custodial sentence.
Legal experts were consulted on this storyline and it highlights the wider issue of how short sentencing, which disproportionately affects women, can have a catastrophic impact on families and children.’
Oh, yeah? This defence is fascinating. Blink and you’ll miss it, but at one point in the drama, Jodie Whittaker does say her crime was ‘aggravated’. From this the ordinary viewer is somehow supposed to deduce facts not revealed to him or her (but perhaps sent out to professional reviewers).
I am told by BBC sources that Orla’s ‘backstory’ is that she has been caught stealing electricity from next door, for a long time, and that she recruited a friend who is an electrician to help her fiddle the meter.
So she is not the scatty victim of circumstances we see on TV, who supposedly had no idea she might go to prison that day. She is a calculating and well-organised thief who has stolen a great deal of money over a long period, with the help of an accomplice.
Britain is bad in many ways, and plenty of people get into trouble who deserve our sympathy.
But this is propaganda, not drama, and neither you nor TV reviewers should be fooled by it.
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