There are few spectacles more revolting than the British media in one of its periodical fits of morality
The British media's reporting of Jon Venables' renewed incarceration is some of the most disgusting I have seen in a long time.
Denise Fergus and Ralph Bulger's wounds were reopened when a probation officer informed them that Venables had been sent back to prison. For the parents of poor Jamie, who have to live with the awful knowledge of their son's death every single day, one has profound admiration. Yet for the media and Jack Straw one has nothing but contempt.
Jack Straw has fanned the flames of this story by giving away information which should have remained strictly confidential. The tabloids have behaved just as they did with Mary Bell a few years ago, pushing the story, tantalising the public with some snatched details and enticing their readers with screaming front page coverage.
Jon Venables crime was abhorrent but we must remember that he was only ten when he committed it. He hadn't completed puberty, he wouldn't have been able to receive the sacrament of confirmation if he were Catholic, or be Bar Mitzvahed if he were Jewish, he wouldn't be able to go on some fairground rides because of his youth. If ten year olds commit such terrible crimes there must be something terribly wrong in their home lives, for the human person in their formative years is a malleable thing. If she or he is abused and tortured in their early years they may well go onto abuse and torture those smaller than them.
There is no public interest whatsoever in Jon Venables current identity being revealed. So far he has been accused of another crime, not convicted of it. Therefore, in the eyes of the law he is innocent, unless and until he is proven guilty.
Well done to Father Ray Blake, Ttony and David Osler for injecting some humanity and above all, reason into this wretched, so-called debate. My stomach heaves at the thought of the intrusive rubbish the tabloids will run in the coming days.
Incidentally, if ever there were a case over which the NUJ should take action, this seems to be it. I would have thought that the various hacks who filed these stories would have been protected under the NUJ's conscience clauses if they refused to co-operate with their editors' demands. Jeremy Dear, let's see what you're made of.