free me

Posted: July 2, 2012 in This is the Voice of Lefty Reason

Caught an excellent programme on TV last week; a one hour interview with John McVicar.  McVicar is a former Public Enemy Number One and spent years both inside, and on the run from, the prison system.  Strangely he still had a look of brooding menace about him despite his advanced years and I imagine he was a real handful in his early career.  He spoke of the (clichéd, but true) absent, alcoholic father and the seeking of the street that turned him into a career criminal.  His love of the buzz, the high life and the easy reward made normal life seem staid in comparison.  Once he decided to criminalise himself he gave himself fully to the life.  Back in the days when armed-robbers had great kudos in the underworld of crime, McVicar was numero uno.  He was scathing of the prison system and spoke eloquently and angrily about the fact that he had not been “reformed” by the system.  He was adamant that the reform industry was self serving and very rarely had any effect whatsoever.  This infers that we are wasting resources on rehabilitation and attempts to “turn” criminals are doomed to failure.  He advocated punishment and retribution but concluded that the change must come from within; once he had decided that he no longer wanted to engage in criminal acts, he stopped and never looked back.  The “system” had nothing to do with his decision.  He is now a widely published author and an academic.  His son is currently serving at Her Majesty’s Pleasure after choosing the life pattern McVicar himself so famously managed to turn away from.  Inspiring and sad in equal parts.

  1. Matt185 says:

    Free me – great title track to the movie starring Roger Daltrey. Great album actually – Say It Ain’t So Joe, Giving it All Away – worth a buy if you can find it. Re John McVicar – he wrote a interesting book about Jill Dando and her alleged killer Barry George. If you read it, you’d be convinced it was in fact Barry G what dunnit. Did get a little far fetched, or it may have been a genius discovery, but McVicar claimed George was part of some ancient cult whose ultimate aim was to slay a mythical beast. Its name? The Dando. Again, worth picking up cheap from ebay.

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