Sunday, 19 July 2009

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

I don't know what the answer is, but this isn't it.

From Times Online: (Full article).

"Seizing children’s mobile phones and bicycles could deter them from getting into trouble, according to Chris Grayling, the Shadow Home Secretary."

Well, if by "could deter them from getting into trouble", Chris Grayling means "will magnify young people's already considerable distrust of 'law' and 'justice' and foster a generation whose principle attitude with respect to law is 'how do I not get caught, next time'?", then he is probably right.

I'm old enough to remember a time when teachers had such power over pupils: powers that they could use without any justification, and without fear of challenge. That's how it was: they were despots and the 'establishment' (which included most parents) supported and indeed encouraged that form of 'discipline.' How effective was this, frankly, authoritarian approach? Well, this is how it was for me:

It generated a feeling of contempt for petty authority that has persisted to this day. I simply despise anyone who assumes the right to interfere with my life in some meddlesome kind of way. I fight those fuckers tooth and nail. This of course is a good thing but it is not the 'good thing' that teachers were hoping for.

What is not a good thing is that this was probably not the general response. From what I see now, it seems that many people seem to have regarded that approach as exemplary - if you don't like the way people behave, rob them.

There were a number of comments to the article when I read it, and most of them made sense to me, but they all missed a crucial point. It is the junior version of 'behaviour likely to cause a breach of the peace'. That is: it is a catch-all which can be used to justify any kind of interference in your activities. I simply do not like 'offences' which depend on someone's opinion of a person's behaviour. The capacity for injustice is just too great.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Crime doesn't pay ... unless you are the Government

Extracts from a recent Home Office press release (June 24th).

A new pilot fund has been launched to give local people a direct say on how the ill-gotten gains of criminals can be used to benefit their communities.

Ah hah! The money fraudulently obtained by thieving MPs as 'expenses' is to be returned to its rightful owners, then?

The £4m Community Cashback scheme will be funded by money and assets seized from wealthy criminal kingpins.

'Kingpin'? [A word last used some time back in the 18th century - means someone with a flashy car.]

The public will be able to choose which worthwhile community projects are funded by feeding in their views to a new dedicated website, neighbourhood policing meetings or through Citizens Panels.

That's what we need! More security cameras!

Until now money recovered from criminals has been split between frontline services, such as the police and Government departments involved with the criminal justice system. This is the first time a portion of that money is being paid back into communities.

Whoa! Hold on a minute: (a) Since when were "Government departments involved with the criminal justice system" frontline services? (b) How long have our Police forces been partially funded from the proceeds of crime? and (c) Shouldn't money recovered from criminals be returned to the victims of crime, rather than the community at large?

Statement from the government's Crime and Justice Adviser, Louise Casey: 'It is only right that the public should have a say on how cash from criminals is spent in their community. This sends a strong message to the public that the criminal justice system cares about what they think and is on their side. This in turn might encourage more members of the public to help in the fight against crime - to pick up the phone to report a crime, stand up in court to give evidence and support others to do the same.

Ah! 'It is only right' I suppose that makes it all right, then.

OK, let me see if I have got this right ... The reason that more people didn't stand up in court to give evidence against knife-wielding maniacs (who were back on the street faster than the witnesses were) is ... they didn't have a say in how to spend the robbers' money? I suppose if that's what the government says it must be correct ...

Statement from the Justice Secretary, Jack Straw: 'I want people to have full confidence in the justice system and an important part of this is ensuring that justice is done and seen to be done.
Today’s announcement is the next step in increasing the influence of local people in delivering justice in their villages, towns and cities.'

'Delivering justice,' is it? 'Sharing out the spoils' is what it sounds like to me. So, how much ... ?

Home Office figures show the value of assets recovered from criminals this year has risen to an all time high of £148m for 08/09. This is up from last year’s £136m.

And the 'cashback' for the community is £4 million ...

The figures also show that a total £23.6m recovered between January and April 2009 will be paid back to frontline services, with a total £7m to be shared between all police forces in England and Wales.

By my reckoning, that leaves about £114 million going to the 'frontline services' like Jack Straw's department.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Press Release 7th July 2009


Libertarian Party fields
youngest ever parliamentary candidate
at Norwich North

Thomas Burridge, aged 18, is the Libertarian Party candidate for the upcoming Norwich North by-election, and is set to make history as the youngest person ever to contest a Westminster seat. Thomas was accepted offically by the Returning Officer today.

Thomas is aware that his age may raise a few eyebrows. “People may ask what can I possibly know about anything at my age? Well, one thing I do know is that Labour excesses have left my generation with a massive debt that will take generations to pay off.” “It’s all the more painful because we were not given any say in the decisions that have forced us to spend the rest of our lives in debt.”

“Currently, the Tories and Labour are squabbling about cutting state spending by a pathetic 5 per cent. Whereas, the Libertarian Party want to scrap the whole rotten system. A system that has given us high personal taxes, squalid services and a corrupt parliament.” “I may not win this time, but I will be back in five years, and in another five years, if necessary. By which time, the guilty ones will be wallowing in their generous pensions – while my generation – The Debt Generation – will still be paying back the money that was squandered.”

The Libertarian Party believes in individual liberty, personal responsibility and freedom from government. Its most prominent policy is to scrap income tax, and transfer taxes to non-essential goods, leaving items such as food, heating and rent tax-free.


For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact the Libertarian Party Norwich North Campaign Office on 01603 850573 or the media enquiries mobile on 07505 228618.

Further details are available on our campaign website:
Alternatively, visit the Libertarian Party website:

Thursday, 2 July 2009