Do You Really Meet A Better Class Of Crook In The Nick?

Well, Lord Hanningfield certainly thinks so:

After being convicted of fraud, the former leader of Essex County Council spent two weeks in a regular prisonbefore being transferred to a minimum security institution.”It wasn’t very nice in ordinary prison but it was OK in open prison,” he said.

“The worst part is when the judge said ‘take him down to the cells’. You are handcuffed and put in the van. That was when I was at my very lowest because I just didn’t know what to expect.”

But prison provided much needed respite for the peer and introduced him to a colourful array of crooks and characters.

Really? Are you sure about that?

Because it seems like the Houses of Commons and Lords are chock-full of ‘em:

Three Asian peers given lengthy bans from Parliament after wrongly claiming almost £200,000 in expenses are at the centre of an extraordinary legal battle over whether they were targeted because of their race.

Newsflash, folks – it’s not ‘cos you is black, it’s ‘cos you is fiddlin’, innit?

And, back to Hanningfield for a moment, even behind bars, it seems that compulsion never goes away:

In prison he was given a job in the health centre and tasked with making coffee for the doctors and arranging appointments for the inmates.

But he was promptly fired after being accused by nurses of using his new position to jump to the front of the appointment queue after suffering from gout.

*sigh*

But maybe he’s right. Maybe he’s not so much a crook, as suffering from some form of mental illness? After all, what else explains this sort of disconnection with reality?

But he does not rule out a return to Essex political lifeand says he might even stand again for the council.Without his conviction, he says, he would surely have been a minister in the current coalition Government.

And – sad to sad – he’d have fitted right in….