There is an old political adage that if an individual or policy is attacked both from opponents on the left and also from the right then that person or policy is probably broadly acceptable to the non political majority. Long before I ever thought about the magistracy I was aware of the conflicts between the hang `em and flog `em brigade on one side and the leftie do gooders on the other.
Two reports today illustrate as well as any that that conflict is still alive and kicking and probably will continue as long as there exists any resemblance to a civilised country. A teenage thug is spared an immediate custodial sentence for reasons about which we can only speculate and the Howard League on the flimsiest of bases makes observations totally in line with its modus vivendi.
However an obvious drawback to such a philosophy, akin to being positioned in the middle of the road, being least offensive to as many as possible, is the likelihood of obliteration by an out of control truck. The custodial sentences imposed upon last year`s rioters were greeted with satisfaction by those loosely described as Daily Mail readers but with much more circumspection by many criminal lawyers. I would posit the question as to how far sentencing not in line with the wishes of the unwashed majority.....to coin a pejorative term of old.....can be supported by a government which requires the votes of that majority.