AND now your latest handy-dandy, cut-out-and-keep guide to something the Folk in Charge are considering.

This time, it’s the plan to have violent offenders and people who commit certain other serious offences serve two thirds of their sentences instead of half before becoming eligible for release.

As ever, your handy-dandy, cut-out-and-keep guide is based on real questions I’ve been asked by real people.

It is in no way, shape or form a transcript of a conversation I had with myself while sitting, alone and drunk, in a bar and feeling somewhat peeved.

I do not indulge in such internal dialogues, and certainly not to the point at which my lips begin to move and members of the public discreetly edge away for fear I’ll start wittering on about the Illuminati.

Or that I’ll claim the late Sir Ken Dodd orchestrated the Kennedy assassination and had a crack squad of Diddymen on the grassy knoll.

Anyway, on with the information:

Q: Can you please outline the difference this planned new measure will make to the lives of crime victims and the rest of us?

A: Mainly, it will give your mental arithmetic skills a bit of a workout.

Let’s suppose a criminal is sentenced to, say, a few months in an open nick for running amok with a thermic lance in a petting zoo while wearing a necklace made of dead toads impaled on those little plastic swords you get in certain cocktail bars and shouting: “Charles Manson was a jolly nice chap, actually.”

Currently we generally only have to divide the sentence by two in order to determine how soon it’ll be before the offender is free to indulge in his next spot of toad-impaling start saving for a new thermic lance.

If the change goes ahead, we’ll have to divide the term by three and then multiply the result by two. However, as most mobile phones have a built-in calculator these days, there shouldn’t be too many problems.

Q: But judges will be obliged to take the new rules as a cue to deal more severely with some of the most dangerous, horrible people in society? People who ruin lives and imperil the safety of just about anybody who crosses their path?

A: Nope. As far as I’m aware, judges will still be free to hand out sentences so lenient that certain violent criminals will barely have time to wear out their first prison-issue toothbrush before it’s time to go.

Unless I’m mistaken, the judiciary will still be free to hand out sentences so insulting to the innocents who suffer that Their Honours might as well moon victims from the Bench and have done with it.

Judges will be to say, for example: “Chasing down potential victims while aboard a ride-on lawnmower is a very serious matter, and one which would under normal circumstances merit a substantial period of imprisonment.

“However, I must bear in mind your guilty plea and the information put forward by your lawyer to the effect that the victims in question, though entirely unknown to you, might have looked at you a bit funny because you have the words ‘Lawnmower Butcher’ tattooed on your face in blood-red letters.

“I must therefore be lenient.”

Q: So courts will still be free to sentence criminals to damn all, then? Will there really be no difference?

A: Not at all. Half of damn all is three-sixths of damn all, whereas two thirds of damn all is four sixths of damn all. So when people are sentenced to damn all they’ll have to serve an extra sixth of damn all.

Q: Your lips are starting to move.

A: Lee Harvey Oswald was a stooge. It was Ken Dodd and the Diddymen all along.