QUICKSANDIn some countries stray dogs are treated like vermin and end up like such. In southern Europe feral cats breed like rabbits and habitate every al fresco restaurant encouraged by misplaced sympathies of unthinking diners; not so in England. We, on the other hand, are used to charities asking for funds for all manner of four legged creatures from donkeys in distress to hapless hedgehogs. There are those who consider that the English treat their animals better than their children. When one contemplates the position of those at the very bottom of the economic food chain there is much truth in that. England, for them is a brown and unpleasant land.

Those involved in the lower courts must daily face the reality that for some drug addicted and/or alcoholic offenders there is just no remedy that the state provides. There are few bail hostels. The NHS steps in when livers rot. Addiction clinics are on the whole reserved for the wealthy with the result that those most in need, of the hundreds of thousands affected, are allowed to sink slowly into the judicial quagmire where in their thirties, forties and fifties they beg to be imprisoned.

The following two reports are the tip of the iceberg. The scenarios are repeated every day everywhere. As a society we should be hanging our heads in shame.