Home Secretary Priti Patel has explained the latest concept in criminal justice, ‘Unintentionality’. According to the theory a person who did something bad but ‘didn’t mean any harm’ should be forgiven, especially if they’re a member of Cabinet.
Ever keen to set an example, Patel has been trying the concept out on her own civil servants. Some have left the Home Office crying grateful tears and at least one received a £25k payout, presumably for ‘services to justice research’ or something like that.
Unintentionality is a doctrine which can be applied to many forms of bad behaviour. Maybe you caught a communicable disease but instead of quarantine, you went for a nice long drive? Perhaps you spaffed £12 billion on a useless IT system without following procurement law? Bullied your staff? Made a pact with the Devil? Dismembered an old woman outside Wetherspoon’s? These are all acceptable as long as you meant well and the Prime Minister is an old friend. Maybe that old woman wanted to be dismembered? Perhaps your staff appreciate being taught the meaning of high standards? The Devil gets a bad press but so did Cliff Richard, and he turned out to be innocent. If that doesn’t prove that Priti Patel isn’t a bully, what does?