Anders Breivik has successfully sued the Norwegian Government for breaching his human rights. Breivik was sentenced to 21 years in jail after he killed seven or eight people with a bomb in downtown Oslo, five years ago, and then followed that up by shooting dead about 70 teenagers, who were attending a summer camp just outside the city. Since his conviction, he has been kept in solitary confinement which entails him living in a three-roomed apartment furnished with exercise equipment, television, video games and several other modern conveniences. His communication with the outside world is monitored by the authorities and he is also subject to regular strip searches. He is regularly placed in restraints if he has to leave his  apartment. He also objected to being obliged to use plastic cutlery with his meals. He claimed that his present circumstances are worse than regular waterboarding sessions. He says he is being tortured.

I was fairly confident that Anders Breivik would be living in a rat infested oubliette by now and that he would be receiving his meals in a bucket lowered on a rope three times a day. Apparently not. Norway has a reputation for being extremely kind to its prisoners, even those responsible for the deliberate slaughter of 75 innocent passers-by.

How out of touch can one be? A BBC World Service news broadcast informed me that Prince, a popstar, had died. I had heard of him but would not have been able to tell him from a hole in the ground. The newsreader went on to say that the entertainment world was consumed by shock and grief and that many were in tears. In his honour they played one of his greatest hits at the end of the bulletin. To my unsophisticated ear it sounded just like all the other discordant racket that passes for today’s popular music.

Immediately after the news broadcast, a program on gender issues was offered. Gender issues have become 'le sujet du jour’.  It is just about impossible to open any serious newspaper or magazine without coming across a long and impenetrable article on the topic. The first interviewee told us that he was actually a man but felt much more like a woman. The second demanded that we all get over gender issues and let people adopt any old gender depending on how they felt and the time of day. The third, one who sounded like a woman, said that she refused to be defined by gender. She chose to be neither male nor female but just a person. it was at this point that I realised that I was losing it and that my only salvation was to turn off the radio and take my dog for a walk. So, I did.

Latest piece: Apologies

David Amies


April 22 2016