Photo Diary

Now all writers are criminals


For some months now I have been negotiating with Caerphilly Library Service to go and hold a Medieval Murderers event with Bernard Knight for them.

It was to be a great little gig: Bernard and I always enjoy working together, and both of us like visiting different areas, but this would have been much more special. We were going to hold it in Caerphilly Castle. A great location for a talk, being atmospheric, scenic, and, most importantly for me, it’s one of the scenes for my next book. Number 29 will have a large chunk of action in and around the castle, because it was not too far from there that King Edward II was captured. Yippee.

But the show has been cancelled.

In the past I have cursed our modern nanny state and the way that there is an overriding presumption of guilt that pervades every aspect of life.

When I was a boy, I started carrying a penknife with me from the age of about nine. I cut myself many times, and learned to be more circumspect in the way I handled knives, and when I was (once) stopped by police as a teenager, my reason for owning the lock-bladed knife in my pocket was accepted by the officers involved – I used it to clean my pipe. Yes, even then I was a rebel and preferred a pipe to cigarettes.

In recent years, the number of stabbings has increased. Therefore, the government has made it illegal to carry knives with blades longer than three inches. Even folding penknives with locking blades are now illegal unless you can show you need it for work, or some similar excuse. I think it’s nonsense, but it does at least have the benefit of some logic. Knives can hurt people, so stop people carrying knives.

But the new laws don’t stop there. Now all adults, especially males, are looked upon as paedophiles in waiting. We are all suspects. And that is why I am fuming here as I write.

Because Caerphilly is cancelled, not because of anything I have said or done, nor because of Bernard – but because the Council has a “Corporate Policy” of demanding that all performers have a CRB check.

So now, CRB checks are to be used to prevent authors from going on a stage in front of consenting adults.

Well, it’ll leave the field open to a number of other authors, because I for one will not agree to paying for someone to go through my records and keep yet another reference to me on a database for no purpose.

Angry? Moi?

Get your criminology degree online.

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