This story perfectly illustrates our problems in modern Britain. A situation like ours today does not develop overnight. The stiff upper lip, the "sang froid", the calm and rational approach to life has died. We could see that at the time of Princess Diana's funeral. The ignorant sentimentality of the mob has taken over everywhere. Tony Blair's fake emotional choking when speaking of the dead Princess was masterful, if despicable, politics. The whole nation now seems to live on the Oprah Winfrey show, in a state of permanent emotion and irrationality.
In such an atmosphere, Government and police abase themselves at the feet of the tabloid journalists who write to the heart, not the head, and justice goes to hell.
Colin Stagg's life was ruined, but so have been the lives of many others - innocent men and women suspected of terrorism for example. Arrested under ludicrous new laws enacted to appease tabloid editors in a spirit of "something must be done" or "there ougther be a law against it, guv", they have for the most part been released without charge. Released only after being held far too long without justification, into a community so emotional (and so ignorant of the basic principles of a liberal society) as to believe that "there is no smoke without fire"
It's ironic that Stagg was a Wiccan. We are living in an age of witch hunts.
Telegraph | Opinion | Colin Stagg shows why trial by judge, not by media, is right