Day 14 – Caister-on-Sea to Gorleston-on-Sea

A sand parable

A fine day, a pale blue sky. All was well with the world.

I watched a small boy – perhaps about four – with doting parents standing close by. He was busy building a sand castle. With a tiny spade, he carefully fashioned turrets and a moat, then crafted a deep ditch, the full works, and in about 15 minutes, it was Edinburgh Castle. Then he produced a couple of tiny plastic soldiers, which he proudly planted on each turret. And he sat back, and with a vast smile, he admired his creation.

Then came the twentieth wave; there was no warning. It smashed through the fortifications, and instantly, the walls were mud, the soldiers vanished, and in twenty seconds, all that was left of the little boy’s careful creation was a shapeless mound of sand.

He cried out, scalded by shock and dismay. His mother swept him into her arms and cuddled him, and I heard her say in consolation: “ I am so sorry Timmy. Life’s like that!”

I reckon with such a mother, that boy will fly!

Lies and the Rack

A sergeant major was reviewing a parade and noticed a soldier talking to his neighbour.

“Arrest that man!” he shrieked at the corporal, pointing vaguely at a suspect.






“No, but he’ll do!””


Andy Verity sets out a scandal in his book Rigged. Cast your mind back to the 2008–09 banking crash that nearly destroyed world financial markets – the eye-watering losses were, inevitably, paid for by the taxpayer while the abusing bankers walked away vastly rich. But, of course, such was the fury that there was a raging public appetite for someone, anyone, to be jailed. (For detail read Michael Lewis’s The Big Short).    

But who? Vast greed and purblind folly aren’t necessarily criminal. The desire for vengeance ended up focusing on who rigged LIBOR – the London Inter-bank Offered Rate. This is the interest rate average calculated from estimates submitted by London’s leading banks. 

Who would be easy meat? Without exception, the senior management muttered, “Not me Guv” and played Macavity, while the traders on the desks were duly charged.

Judges had to be seen to do something, so they just invented a crime! They decided that any LIBOR rate set that made a profit for the banks was, simply, criminal. Thirty-eight traders – working in both the US and the UK – were subsequently prosecuted. An allegedly inept “expert” witness, with little idea of what he was talking about, was duly found, and 19 were jailed. Families were rendered destitute, and lives were wholly ruined.

It’s now been discovered that the traders were following a direction from the banks’ management to vary the LIBOR rate, and that the management was under pressure from the UK government – and even from the Bank of England. Of course, none offered any help to the poor sods at their trial. Banking small fry are considered expendable. 

But lo! After 10 years of campaigning, US appeal courts have declared there was no fraud or criminality! And it was all a mistake. So very sorry!

We await UK judges to declare the same.  

Breaking Lives

Amazingly, some of the victims now deemed innocent originally pleaded guilty. Why did they do that? Surely, they only have themselves to blame?

I’ll tell you why. Up until 1741, English prosecutors used the rack to “persuade” unwilling prisoners to confess guilt. They only had to show someone being racked, with their bones nicely popping, to extract a gibbering confession!    

Of course, that was then, and this is now. What’s the medieval rack got to do with US court processes today?

Easy! Imagine you’ve just been indicted in the US courts. You’re offered a plea bargain. Ninety per cent of those prosecuted in the US end up in jail unless they have an endless moolah supply to throw at lawyers, you’re told. But listen… there’s a way out. If you plead guilty and give the “right” evidence to convict your chums, you won’t end up wearing an orange jumpsuit and eating soggy pizza in a Florida prison for the next 20 years (and with no time off for good behaviour. On the other hand, if you plead guilty, you’ll go to a nice country jail in the UK for a year, and that’ll be that!

What would you do? It’s a cruel world – and I’d probably lie too.

The US “plea bargaining” system is the modern equivalent of the rack. But instead of breaking bones, it breaks lives.

Pray for those caught on the modern-day rack.

1 comment

    • angela mary honeyford on September 17, 2023 at 4:40 pm
    • Reply

    Thanks Tom and Jane for trekking yet again for Zane. You are amazing and so fit to do this. And now you can have a REST and put your feet upand put the boots out of sight for the next few ….months, years…? Well done, thy good and faithful servants…….
    I love your blog, not least because I can think of lots of people who will be upset (putting it mildly) about your views……ha ha. Keep on keeping on. Thanks to all who help with your trek, in the office or on the ground! Best wishes, Angela Honeyford

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