There’s more to citizenship than charitable donation.

A shocking legal case points up why, sooner or later, any Establishment Coalition is going to fail

A poll reported by the FT on Christmas Eve unsurprisingly showed that the British are more likely to give charitable donations than other nations – but much less likely to get involved in community activities. This sort of confirmed an earlier Slog post about the natural British instinct being “I will do my bit if you leave me alone”

The finding is another nail in the coffin of David Cameron’s Big Society. I felt from the outset that it was a muddled concept – oxymoronic and yet somehow, on top of that, a dense thought: a big society must surely be impersonal by definition – or broken into lots of small units, in which case it isn’t a big society any more

With the onset of snow last week, most of our small community in Devon came into its own. Everyone helped others in difficulty – or offered to. Whether the would-be social engineers like it or not, normal people facing adversity in small packs behave better than the rich in huge cities glorying in their success.

A natural British tendency to pull up the drawbridge has been refined by the rich in our cities into a gated, electronic-entry driveway and locked door approach to society. This may be related to their certainty that there is no such thing, guided as they are by every extreme belief of their heroine Baroness Thatcher. Either way, they play no part in their communities, but are the first to moan about police incompetence when the reality of what society has become penetrates their bubble.

So ironically (actually, it is tragic) the enormous army of Normal Normans like us – who want to be left alone – find (a) as Government is so useless these days, we have to get involved in organising stuff  – like grit – and (b) the social mess bequeathed to us by Thatcherism and Blairism means that society’s feral elements simply won’t leave us alone – but the police aren’t interested in keeping them off our backs.

Let me offer you a microcosm of the problem.

Over Christmas, we stayed with a couple of chums, one of whom saw jury service recently. The case was so mired in dysfunctional complexity, I’m afraid it’s going to take me a while to explain it.

It’s 9 pm, and a busy town main street is suddenly shocked by a young man, in a stolen car and very drunk, careering up and down the highway with the windows open, hurling obscenities at everyone. Bored with driving in the right direction, he does a U-turn and drives into the traffic, until a woman in a Golf courageously swerves to block him in.

Incensed, the drunk exits his vehicle and launches himself at the woman’s car, smashing her windscreen and rendering himself temporarily unconscious.

Brace yourselves, because this chap is the defendant.

Equally drunk and accompanied by two young ladies they have met that evening, two young men see the commotion, and quickly decide (in the words of one of the ladies at the trial) that the windscreen assailant “is a bit of a c**t”. So their two beaux leap upon his moaning form and begin giving him a fist-and-foot massage. Uninterested in the terrified woman now frantically phoning the police, they seize this obvious opportunity and steal his car.

While all this has been going on, the local populace has done nothing. (I can’t say I blame them).

The carjackers proceed on a joy-ride rampage. After taking quite some time to arrive at the scene and then work out what the hell’s going on, the police apprehend the foursome in their ‘getaway car’ several hours later in a nearby town.

Come the trial, Golf lady (who knows the car-thieves of old as two Krays in the making) refuses to testify. The jury is thus left to decide (1) did they commit gbh? (2) did they intend to steal the car or merely escape the mayhem, and (3) were the women accomplices?

The prosecution and the police are now faced with the unedifying task of trying to make ‘the defendant’ not look like a complete arsehole. When asked how much he had drunk by the defence, he says “Half a pint of lager”. There are sniggers in the courtroom.

The gbh charge is dropped, largely because the medical evidence shows only common assault. (After the  verdict, the Judge wonders aloud why the CPS went for gbh, when assault would have been an open and shut guilty case.)

If the two blokes didn’t steal the car, then they went to great and action-packed lengths to escape. Despite a spirited defence, the jury finds them guilty. The girls get off, although my chum still doesn’t understand how or why.

Predictably, once the verdict has been delivered, the Bench reads out the past offences of the four accused. It takes nearly ten minutes to do so.

After encountering cases like this one, it becomes ever more clear that David Cameron doesn’t get out enough. And don’t believe the police/CPS/Home Office bollocks about it being atypical: I’ve had seven separate police informants over six years tell me that the arrest and justice service is in meltdown. I’ve also had enough adverse experience of the joke that is ‘law and order’ to believe them.

We don’t have a Big Society, we have a Gigantic Disaster. To stop the process from turning into an unmanageable anarchy, we need to desist from jerking around with empty soundbites, face the following realities, and institute policies – however unthinkably incorrect or supposedly liberal – based on them:

1. Feral, anti-social and anti-British reproduction in our country is out of control.

2. Police careerism based on slavish attention to cultural diversity, potty social theories and high-profile ‘hate crime’ is cynical, and exacerbating the societal problems we have.

3. A sense of social service is foreign to the overwhelming majority of our youth now – and something at which the newly-rich financial classes sneer.

4. Prison as a form of effective penitence and redemption is a complete waste of time, and in certain age-groups actually breeds crime. Whereas properly overseen work designed to build self-esteem can decimate re-offending rates: I’m talking 3.5% as opposed to 65%.

5. Social services and the judiciary have been found guilty (via the Secret Family Courts) of unwarranted, incompetent – and in some cases perverted  – intervention in the lives of people who truly are victims: not just of a low IQ, but also the familial abuse and ‘example’ to which they’ve been subjected since birth. Frankly, putting such citizens into family servitude would be preferable to the cod-scientific drivel and high-handed kidnapping with which they are currently assailed…..and such servitude would certainly be a lot more effective.

People who want to pull up the drawbridge in the light of all the above are ignoring their responsibilities as citizens. But neither David Cameron in particular nor the Coalition in general are going to enact any of these policies, because they would alienate the only people they are truly worried about: the Liberal Democrats and the Conservative Right Wing.

These are yet more reasons why we need a new movement – the Citizens’ Movement – within a new system. And find a way to persuade those who wish to be left alone that, for that to happen, they have to behave like private citizens, not like hermits.