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December 11, 2005

Tony Blair on ASBOs.

The Maximum Tone defends the use of ASBOs.

However, it wasn't just a question of matching legal rights with legal responsibilities. It was about changing the legal processes by which such rights and responsibilities are determined. Traditional court processes and laws simply could not and did not protect people against the random violence and low-level disorder that affected their lives. Yes, you could, with Herculean application, remove the drug dealer living in the street. But the reality was, because of the Herculean effort required, it wasn't done. Now, by giving more so-called summary powers, it can be.

We have provided new tools including Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, acceptable behaviour contracts and dispersal orders and will enable them to take tough action against the pubs and clubs fostering drunken violence.

Police have further tools such as fixed penalty notices and penalty notices to tackle disorder. Where these new powers are being used effectively they are making a big difference and restoring public confidence that the criminal justice system is supporting the law-abiding majority.

Well, yes, that is exactly what is complained about. You’ve done away with the traditional courts and processes, the traditional safeguards against an over mighty state. There seems to be no understanding at all about the fact that such things as Magistrates Courts, juries, double jeopardy rules and so on, these did not exist to protect us from each other, nor to ensure that criminals got off scot free, but to protect us, the citizenry, from you, the rulers.

That’s what the problem is.

The Dear Leader also asks:

Critics of our response need to face the following question squarely. If the criminal justice system was failing people, as it clearly was, what ought to be done about it?

The answer is actually contained within this piece cobbled together by some Number 10 flunky:

We will continue by providing a uniformed presence in every community through neighbourhood policing.

If I might be so bold as to point out the flaw in the Supreme Being’s logic here, the correct reaction to the explosion in petty violence and street crime that came from removing neighbourhood policing would have been the reintroduction of neighbourhood policing. Not the introduction of laws enabling the locking up of a mentally ill girl for going near a bridge in Bath, just to give one particularly egregious example. And her locking up in a prison of course, without any evidence having to be shown that she had committed a crime that is actually on the statute books.

But then perhaps I’m wrong, perhaps the 1,000 years it took us to develop the Common Law led to the wrong conclusion, perhaps that idea that the restrictions upon summary justice were there to protect the citizenry from crazed rulers desiring to impose their will on the populace, perhaps that was all a mistake?

After all Tone, you’re a lawyer. Perhaps it really is in the best interests of justice that 5,000 people and rising can be banged up for years without even the courtesy of a trial. You certainly seem to think that would be just for those not even charged with anything yet.

December 11, 2005 in Current Affairs | Permalink


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» The Madness of King Tony from Talk Politics
Well that clinches it for me, Blair has finally gone completely off his head. Forget impeaching him, just get a registered community psychiatric nurse and section the fucker now. Ok, we had a fair few dumbass bouts of 'thinking aloud' before - remem... [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 13, 2005 9:49:47 AM


Tone's take on crime is well argued in this post from Talk Politics. He has a monochromatic view of the world, being either good or evil, and in which he (of course) always knows which is which. He is therefore always right.

However, single-handedly (with the appalling acquiesence of the Blind Lier and Libertine, and the Safety Elephant) he has probably set back our Criminal Justice system back further than anyone has in the 1,000 years you quote. The disbanding of Habeas Corpus, removal of trial by jury, the 800 + (and rising) new offences on the statute books, etc. ad nauseam, have hardly been the answer to what to do with the Criminal Justice system. It amounts to little less than political interference (and heavy handedly at that) with the judiciary.

And anyway wasn't he a crap lawyer which is why he turned to politics to become a crap PM?

Posted by: Pip | Dec 11, 2005 2:09:30 PM

the correct reaction to the explosion in petty violence and street crime that came from removing neighbourhood policing

There was none such, btw; petty violence and street crime have been falling for years. "Neighbourhood policing", like analytic phonics and the Atkins Diet, is one of those obviously good ideas whose superiority is evident everywhere except the numbers. Walking about in circles while wearing a very visible uniform is, who'd a thunk it, a very inefficient way of catching crooks.

What there was, was an explosion of fearmongering about crime and therefore fear of crime. Also, people started defining down crime and antisocialness so that "young people hanging around" became a proper object of state violence.

The ASBO is actually a good way of dealing with crackhouses and dealers and it's been used to good effect round my way. But this kind of underlines the flaw in Tones' argument; if you're talking about it as a way of dealing with crack dealers and such in paragraph 3, then you can't help yourself to the idea that similar measures are appropriate for dealing with insufficiently respectful kids, and the dread menace of "taunting" in paragraph 12.

Posted by: dsquared | Dec 11, 2005 5:30:12 PM

Well, Tone was correct in one thing - he assumed we wouldn't like his take on civil liberties and I'm damn sure he's right.

His latest idiotarian suggestion is to seize assets from 'drug dealers' without bothering with the little matter of securing a conviction first.

Yep, we can now add the presumption of innocence to the list of irritating legal safeguards that Tony wants to sweep away because it gets in the way of his own perverse view of justice.

Posted by: Unity | Dec 13, 2005 9:54:22 AM