The following is a guest post by the Rev Dr Peter Mullen, Hon. Chaplain of The Freedom Association.
How low can we sink? What’s the worst thing we can do? How deep are the depths of depravity? Let me offer a definition of the vilest depravity: it is when we deliberately choose to invert all our values, despise goodness and say, “Evil, be thou my good!” I’ve made all this sound so very abstract, but this week we have a practical, real-life example…
On 4th April, Richard Osborn-Brooks (78) in self-defence, and to protect his wife Maureen who is disabled, stabbed the intruder Henry Vincent (37) who was attempting to burgle his house. The intruder died as a result of his injuries. Vincent, a crack cocaine addict, was a career thief and housebreaker whose rich source of ill-gotten gain was robbing pensioners. He frequently boasted about it. He was also a member of what we are now obliged to refer to as “the travelling community” – those for generations we referred to as gipsies.
Now Vincent’s friends in the travelling community are noted for their romantic spirit and their lavishness. And so, a day or two after Vincent’s death, some of them spread flowers outside Mr Osborn-Brooks house in Hither Green. Outraged locals tore down this “shrine,” whereupon the gipsies set it up again. The process was repeated and there has been a standoff since the day Vincent died. Meanwhile in order to avoid abuse – “Dirty, murdering scumbag” – “Remember, gipsies are not to be messed with” - and the repeated threats of violence, Mr and Mrs Osborn-Brooks have removed to a safe house, declared that it is too dangerous for them to return home and will shortly put their house on the market.
Today, Vincent’s friends in the travelling community are to hold a public celebration costing £100,000 in the form of Vincent’s funeral procession. The high point was going to be passing right past the front of the Osborn-Brooks’ house. That plan was only cancelled today after it was obvious that local residents would block the road. We know Vincent’s vile trade was thieving from the elderly. We are left to guess the trade of his mourners in the travelling community, but we can be sure it is well-paid if they can afford such a lavish funeral.
This is the practical working out of the slogan “Evil, be thou my good” which I mentioned at the start. The elderly Mr Osborn-Brooks was protecting his life and his property against a vigorous intruder half his age. In the struggle that followed, Vincent was killed.
Now, under the traditional morality which guided us for centuries, the general judgement would have been that the career criminal Vincent got what he deserved. That was the morality whose slogan was “Good, be my good.” But nowadays, remember, since the coming of political correctness – a code strenuously upheld by our police - the catchword is, “Evil, be thou my good.” Under this, every excuse is made for the thief, the lawbreaker and the intruder who makes his living from robbing the elderly, and excoriation is reserved for the aged couple who were preyed upon.
We are left to reflect that a society which erects its morality and social policy on such principles is heading for the buffers. No – it’s a lot worse than that: the crash has already happened.
All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.