Friday, April 28, 2006

See the lawman...

...beating up the wrong guy...

Back to 'Life on Mars' and 1973. You might get the impression from the series and supporting features in the Radio Times that the normal "caution" used by the police when making an arrest was "You're nicked". It actually went as I recall, from TV programmes of course, "You do not have to say anything, but anything you do say may be used in evidence against you." When words like "but if you fail to mention something that you later rely on for your defence..." were introduced in about 1990, this was seen at the time as taking away the absolute right to silence.

I know that there were cases of confessions being beaten out of people in those days, as evidenced by some of the wrongful convictions that have subsequently been revealed, but to suggest that things are better now in every way is wrong.

Update: I've got to episode 5 now. The detective-who-went-back-in-time, who in earlier episodes was using the 2006 version of the caution, is now using the 1973 version as quoted above.

I also noticed the 35p on the ticket to the match (Manchester United vs City). I understand it costs £20 to £40 to get into a football match these days. So an increase of at least 60 times. General prices levels are up around 8 to 9 times since then (RPI 100 in Jan 1974, 400 in 1987, rebased to 100, now 194). The price of a pint of beer is up about 12 times. Correction: that was based on the programme, but nobody would have paid 18½p for a pint of bitter in Manchester in 1973; from my own experience, I would say 17 times (14p in 1973, £2.40 now). In 1940, I was told, it cost 8d (3⅓p).

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