Duncan, let me tell you where I am …

DUNCAN BANNATYNE, the Dragons’ Den star, offered a £50,000 reward to anyone who could identify the blackmailer threatening to “hurt” his daughter, Hollie, unless he was paid £35,000.

“I offer £25,000 reward for the capture of the coward who calls himself @YuriVasilyev_ Double if his arms are broken first.” When one of his 372,755 Twitter followers questioned whether Mr Bannatyne would be an accomplice to potential assault, he shot back: “I’d gladly do my time.”

Putting aside the numerous parodies immediately picked up across Twitter (“I offer £25 for the capture of my 3-year old. Double if her toenails are clipped”), this saga attracted considerable criticism of Bannatyne’s vigilante–style attitude to justice.

Doubtless, though, Bannatyne’s only too aware of the failure of the UK police to be able to deal with such situations given that, according to recent press reports, their resources permit the investigation of only one in three crimes.

Doubtless, too, he believes that, even if the blackmailer is caught, the courts would let him walk away leaving Hollie still in danger. Not before, though, he’s offered counselling at taxpayers’ expense, told not to do it again and blame laid at the door of his parents or the government or inadequate potty training  or …

And therein lies the problem. Fear, the rise of political correctness and the breakdown of respect in society. Teachers who are frightened of teaching uncontrollable classes, homeowners frightened of challenging teenagers who have just vandalized their property, burglars who know they can walk into any property without fear of reprisal.

Generations of trendy, post-war socialist policies have reinforced rights without reinforcing responsibilities, so that those concerned are not faced with the moral repercussions of their activities.

Past governments have failed to take firm action because the trendy theories blamed their environment for how these people have turned out, instead of recognising that they have a hand in their misfortune. Past leaders believed that, by educating such people, they could improve their situation. But you can’t educate someone who doesn’t know how to learn or sees no point in learning because he has no hope of realising the benefit – a job.

Sorry Duncan, for £50,000, I’m OUT. But here’s a tip. Get Deborah Meaden and the new Dragon, Hilary Devey, to sort the thug …he won’t stand a chance!

Nora Johnson’s novel, The De Clerambault Code (www.nora-johnson.com) available at Amazon in paperback and as eBook. Profits to Cudeca

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