The news, the whole news and nothing but the news from Lands End North
Toxotes a reformed character after stretch in clink
Disgraced Tory peer’s penal ideas labelled ‘authoritarian in nature’ and ‘nunsense’ after speech at prison reform conference
Sid Caustic, home affairs editor, Thursday, September 29, 2001
Lord Godfrey Toxotes, who once fed a starving six-year-old East End urchin to a frenzied and baying rabble at a Conservative Party branch meeting, today delivered a thoughtful plea for prison reform. The conference, organised by the John Howard League and held at the Exclusive Rich Toffs Club at Oxminster, allowed Lord Godfrey to showcase his most audacious theories on a subject much on his mind recently, penal reform.
Toxotes noted that after two years incarceration in Club Wormwood Scrubs he felt qualified to offer the “big nobs” in Westminster one or two of his thoughts for their consideration. In his talk the former “guest at Her Majesty’s Pleasure” admitted that many may see his proposed reforms as a bit on the draconian side, but emphasised that he could never be called soft on capital punishment. Indeed, who could ever forget Toxotes’ strident demands when MP for Great Malvern Bottoms that the then Labour Government get tough on kindergarten rage.
Lord Godfrey defied his detractors, boasting he had a record of supporting prison reformers and other “do-gooders” and “loony lefties” ever since 1969 when they had helped him out with a spot of bother involving a couple of Toxotes’ colleagues in a Turkish jail, some mixup to do with crack cocaine. “Mind you”, he added, “I don’t know how these people got into the Conservative cabinet in the first place!”
One of the proposed reform schemes outlined by Toxotes involved rehabilitating incarcerated sexual offenders by having them whipped by scantily-clad nuns from the Order of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. The life peer exclaimed, “if this doesn’t induce guilt in these vicious working class types for their heinous crimes, then I done know what will!” “At the very least, it will mess with the minds of the tykes amongst them”, he chortled. Lord Toxotes proceeded to explain that although he supported reform of the prison system he did not consider the present sentences punitive or excessive, adding that for capital punishments he favoured electrocution over beheading which is still in practice in some of the minor counties. “Much less messy, no residue”, he reasoned. “You must not ‘mollycoodle’ these transgressive elements of society. You must teach them a lesson they won’t forget in a hurry”.
Toxotes’ eloquently enunciated argument for penal reform was in marked contrast to the unconstrained broadside he launched against the Home Secretary and Director-General of the Prisons Service. The authorities, he fumed, had subjected him to “the shabbiest of treatment”, undeservingly so for “a man of his international stature who could number among his closest friends, Baroness Thatcher, General Pinochet, Rupert Murdoch and several ayatollahs”.
“Lord God” also bitterly complained that the authorities initially housed him in the notorious David Beckham Maximum Security Unit, where he was confined with murderers, terrorists and rapists.
Footnote: Fortunately he was able to make an accommodation of the “cross palms” variety with the governor and move to a low-security, luxury penthouse custody suite in a different part of the gaol. Here, the peer was able to observe at safe distance all manner of hardened proletarian criminality.
Frances Cockup, director of the Howard League, said that she supported a number of the peer’s ideas but she disagreed with his proposal that prison inmates should be coerced into taking part in “human tissue as art” experiments. She commented: “you can’t force prisoners to grow an extra ear on their elbow just because Lord Toxotes thinks it might be good for prison staff morale”.
Markus Golightly, editor of the Prisoners Companion Handbook, labelled Lord Godfrey’s “Sister Lash” notion, “pure nunsense!” “Its a typically wacky Tory kind of policy'” Mr Golightly said, adding that “It wouldn’t be a bad thing if more prominent Conservatives got a taste of life on the inside, mixing with the hoi polloi, it might shake them out of their 1950s ‘born to rule’ timewarp …. or at the very least, appear slightly more human”. _______________________________________________________________ Breaking News!