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December 30, 2021


Jan Wiklund

It is easy to feel pity for criminals, because we know - or ought to know - that what makes them differ from the others of us is that they got caught for some offense we all do in youth, and were forced into a 'criminal identity' the others of us managed to avoid.

In Maxwell's case, as for so many others, there is also a 'social heritage' to consider. Once born in an outlaw family, it's easy to continue that way.


I feel some pity for her because she was corrupted, both by her father and by Epstein, until she didn't know, I guess, that what she was doing was appalling. But that doesn't excuse her. I don't sympathise and I don't care how far she's fallen ... I do pity her, that's all.

Gilbert Reid

I think the misdeeds Maxwell was involved in are rather easy to slide into in a libertine and very privileged milieu where sex can be considered a "sport" and the psychological and ethical implications for the victims are played down or ignored. Maxwell's apparent impassive expression during the proceedings has been attributed in a rather primly self-righteous and smarmy New Yorker article to her "relentless ego." I think it might be more due to the fact that she is British. The obscene wallowing in displays of relentless and largely hypocritical remorse - all those tearful politicians admitting guilty illicit liaisons and so on - as if they were confessing in some horrendous Fundamentalist chapel - is an American disease, I think, and a catastrophic and recent one. The old strong silent stoic admirable US types of yore have been banished. Now, being a drama queen is required as proof of virtue and Americanness - tears prove you are real - and Maxwell does not at least seem to be one of those wallowing self-indulgent showbiz fakes, and on that point, I will give Maxwell credit. Social class plays a part, of course, but so does nationality, culture, and a sense of dignity, however unearned it may be.

Gilbert Reid

On your general point of tragedy, in a sense, being restricted to those who are already up there on high, and who "fall" from grace or power or beauty, I think it should be qualified. I was sitting in a coffee shop and a tall handsome young guy - I thought he might be from northern China - asked if he could sit down at my table. I said yes. He asked me what city we were in. "Toronto," I said. "Oh," he said, "Last night I was in Montreal - I think." He was a "first nations" native Canadian, intelligent, gallant (told me he got his scraped knuckles defending a girl), handsome, articulate, with that great laid-back sense of humor and self-irony that so many Canadian first nations people have. But he was drugged out of his mind, though it was largely invisible. "Where are you going now?" I asked. "Well, I guess back up to the reserve, up north, though there's nothing much there." And I thought, Wow! This, ladies and gentlemen, is a tragedy. This fabulous promising young man - and the destiny that will almost certainly await him. He has so much, and, inevitably, given the system, he will almost certainly fall so far.


Is Gilbert Reid saying that guy is worthless unless he's selling something? Why not legalize selling drugs? What if that guy has freedom, to go out and learn from nature on the "rez", for example?

Why doesn't our blogger demonstrate sympathy for Hong Kong journalists currently being imprisoned by Chinese Communist Party lackeys? Why is he more fascinated by celebrities? Is it envy? What would Adam Smith say?


@Chris Dillow: did you overlap with Maxwell at Oxford? If so, did you know her? Sorry if I’ve got your age way out!


Pretty democratic places prison cells, not many posh ones, they are the same (miserable) for everyone.

Then if you are born to a rich family you will get a nice education, speak nicely and meet nice people - who cares where the money comes from. Whereas being born on a rough council estate with a crap education, rough speech and nasty people, well a prison cell may not seem so bad. So the idea of a come-down in the world does seem apt and to us at the bottom of the heap - a certain slightly shameful schadenfreude.

As for the sexual exploitation. This is not at all unusual throughout history from Juvenal's Rome to Renaisance Italy to 18th century London, Paris and everywhere else. Bedding serving wenches and street urchins and actors has always been popular, if you can afford it. Much pearl clutching from the hypocritical newspapers and a couple of sacrificial lambs on the naughty step altar (so far). All that has gone on here is the same as what went on in Rochdale but with posher frocks and cars. Looking forward to the next installment.

As for class solidarity and power. I don't think this saga proves much apart from the rich having better lawyers and the Maxwells not being quite as well connected as they thought.


@Boyo - I think we overlapped by a year, but I never knew her: she was in a different college doing a different subject. You might care to direct the same question to - ooh, I don't know - Cressida Dick or Robert Peston.


This is a remarkably incisive essay.

Gilbert Reid:

Fine comments; the first reminding me of Les liaisons dangereuses, 1782. The second would make for a fine short story; how would it resolve?


@ Chris Dillow - … “it’s not a conspiracy theory; we just happen to all know each other”.

Sort of morbidly fascinating in a way.


January 1, 2021


United Kingdom

Cases ( 13,100,458)
Deaths ( 148,778)

Deaths per million ( 2,174)


Cases ( 102,314)
Deaths ( 4,636)

Deaths per million ( 3)

[ A matter of class and neither the Conservative nor current Labour leadership actually cares. ]


I would call it a well-deserved comeuppance rather than a fall from grace. In any case, the fall is material not moral. Does anyone doubt that Ms. Maxwell has already requested Mr. Bridger's prison cell?

Gian Maria

Hi, you are cited in this article: https://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/socialist-standard/2020s/2022/no-1409-january-2022/cooking-the-books-1-marx-and-the-city/ Feedback is welcome on the website. Cheers


There does seem a bit of class solidarity going on. A certain chap looks to be in a spot of hot water vis a vis alleged hanky panky. The favoured newspaper of the lower middle class suggests he might have to give up the title of Juke and hand back a few gongs and bits of gold rope. That should be sufficient.

Personally I was thinking a cold dark dungeon, loss of all money and property and being dragged naked on a hurdle might be more fitting. After all, one might not be surprised at those brought up in the gutter behaving badly but those brought up nicely, well fed and housed and sent to a good school. Well they ought to behave to a better standard than most of us oiks. Double prison sentences for the rich. Especially if they got the whole benefit on a freeby and never did a stroke to earn it.


This evening I watched How Green Was My Valley - Capra (1941), and I realized just how important this Dillow essay was. Possibly we can regain the sense of class meaning that developed in the 1920s and '30s, for that is surely needed confronted by the likes of a Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer.


«why there is more class solidarity among the rich than among the working class»

Perhaps Adam Smith was as fond as our blogger of "cognitive bias" explanations, but there are at least two other more plausible explanations based on interests:

* Since incumbents are relatively few and they wish to rule over and extract from the many, they realize that there is strength in operating together versus the many. That is how it works in gangs too.

* Many if not most of the incumbents are relatives of each other, as they have been marrying each other for a long time. In a study of the wealth of the english incumbents, an author pointed out that there are still several elite families that have in their arms the Plantagenet ones.

That is the notion of "our own" matters quite a bit, both as to dynastic and power interests.


January 4, 2022


United Kingdom

Cases ( 13,641,520)
Deaths ( 148,941)

Deaths per million ( 2,177)


Cases ( 102,841)
Deaths ( 4,636)

Deaths per million ( 3)


It's interesting how you reached that conclusion. Because the impression I had was that there was immense relief with the Maxwell conviction. There were many references to social workers and lawyers of rape and abuse victims who said how virtually impossible it is to get convictions. The fact that in this case the rich and powerful with their access to the best lawyers could not get Maxwell over the line made this conviction particularly important.

Also the more people learned about the excesses and creepiness of Maxwell/Epstein eg. the contempt they had for employees etc the more revolted people became. Even more so towards the end of the trial as the revelations really came in.

I have to admit I mainly read articles in newspapers and saw little TV coverage of it, but the impression I had from the reaction to the verdict was one of relief rather than sympathy.


Should also add that it was noteworthy that the the Jury returned with a unanimous verdict.

mehdi h

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