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September 28, 2005

That Blair Speech.

No doubt others will pick up on different parts of his speech (expanding civil nuclear power looks like a good idea, for example) but this has me sputtering:

''We are trying to fight 21st century crime - anti-social behaviour, binge drinking, organised crime - with 19th century methods, as if we still lived in the time of Dickens," he said. ''The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted.

''Don't misunderstand me. That must be the duty of any criminal justice system. But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety. It means a complete change of thinking."

Anti-social behaviour, binge drinking and organised crime? These are new special things for the 21st century? Have he and the advisors not read any Dickens? Hogarth? History even? These were exactly the crimes that bedevilled Georgian and early Victorian England. Howling mobs pissed on gin?

What was the solution then? Ah, yes, Bobbies on the streets, a clean up of the Magistrates Courts (making them more local, not central for a start)...effectively exactly the system that the Great and the Good have spent the last 40 years dismantling. What should be the solution now? Could itbe exactly the same thing? More bobbies on streets, more local policing?

Oh, and by the way. People living in safety is best acheived by prevention of crime...which means bobbies on streets dissuading the commission of them, not locking up in greater numbers those who may be innocent.

September 28, 2005 in Politics | Permalink


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"But surely our primary duty should be to allow law-abiding people to live in safety."

And, seemingly, this incompatible with tha fact that -
"The whole of our system starts from the proposition that its duty is to protect the innocent from being wrongly convicted."

Sorry, I don't see it. Unless the second quote is true I don't see how the first can ever be implemented.

Is Blair saying that we can never be safe unless the state is allowed to bang up innocent people?

Posted by: Chris harper | Sep 28, 2005 10:18:51 AM

Great minds think alike. I pounced on the same ghastly paragraphs by Blair and made the similar point over at www.samizdata.net

Posted by: Johnathan Pearce | Sep 28, 2005 10:25:55 AM

Give us back those 19th century crime fighting methods please!!!

They including not putting the criminals rights before those of the rest of society, Policeman actually on the street, the belief in punishment.

Our 21st century crime wave is a direct result of not using tried and trusted 19th century ideas.

Posted by: EU Serf | Sep 28, 2005 10:26:44 AM

As you say, Tim, what he really should be saying is: "we are fighting 19th Century crime with 21st Century methods. And failing."

Is this wumbling his fords a sign that our Dear Leader is loosing it? Any medical professionals out there able to confirm this as a sign of the early onset of dementia?

Or is he really a complete plonker?

Answers on a postcard.


Posted by: Remittance Man | Sep 28, 2005 10:49:13 AM

He missed out "And furthermore, all Binge drinkers, N'er do wells, Vagabonds, Footpads, Dips, Thieves and Quislings will be tranported to the colony of Australia forever"...

Posted by: alfie | Sep 28, 2005 6:19:58 PM

Quislings? Hardy. That was a word which got famous in 1940, for some reason or another. However, I'll give you 'cornermen', 'scuttlers' and the one that survived: 'hooligans'. Also, we can have 'Fenians' and 'Anarchists' if it's terrorism we're worried about.

By the way Tim, what do you mean about the C19th governments making magistrates' courts more local? As far as I know (which is a very long way indeed) they didn't.

Posted by: Chris Williams | Sep 28, 2005 7:55:51 PM

"tranported to the colony of Australia"

Most of us would welcome that! Personally, I'd be straight round to Tesco's with an empty carrier bag under my coat..........

Posted by: Stuart | Sep 29, 2005 1:46:57 AM