Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Naked on the streets.

Naked rambler Stephen Gough has been warned he faces spending the rest of his life in prison if he continues to refuse to wear clothes in public. The former Royal Marine, a veteran of two “boots-only” hikes from Land’s End to John O’Groats, has spent most of the last four years in solitary confinement in Scottish jails after stripping off on a flight to Edinburgh. Since then he has declined to wear prison uniform or to appear clothed in court resulting in further custodial sentences for contempt. It is estimated that the latest round of imprisonment has cost the tax payer in excess of £200,000 – a figure which looks set to keep mounting.

Mr Gough completed his first naked ramble across Britain in 2003 during which he was arrested 15 times and spent 140 nights in jail, mainly in Scotland where the authorities hold a dimmer view of public nudity than in England and Wales. He finished his second hike with his then girlfriend Melanie Roberts three years later.

...So, big deal, a grown man walks around naked. Stephen is doing nobody any harm and he should be allowed to live his life as a naturist. Nudity should never be a crime, we are the only mammals to wear clothes and we were all born naked. Gosh, I walk my naked dog on a lead and harness, no girly coat for my butch little dog! It can never be in the public interest to imprison a man, at great cost to the taxpayer, for simply walking around naked. We should all have the freedom to walk around dressed or undressed as we please and not be restricted by outdated legislation. In this case the law is clearly an ass.
Do you not think though that his inability to conform to the rule of law, when his life in the Marines has been one of conformity and discipline, implies he has mental issues? Like me, I'm sure you know never to argue with a Marine. They're a formidable breed. But why should he be permitted to consistently flout the law when the rest of us do our duty and conform?
Sheriff Lindsay Foulis has ordered psychological and psychiatric reports to be made. Sometimes in the legal history of our country, it needs someone to constantly be civil disobedient, to change public opinion so that the law can be changed. These public nudity laws belong in the dark ages, not 2010.
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