Thursday, January 12, 2006

Get out of your house!

Following on from this post on Neil, go and have a look at this transcription of Blair's podcast at Into The Machine. In a way, it makes me understand Neil's stupidity slightly better: he is, after all, only reacting to His Master's Voice.

I find this particularly disgusting:
Umm, people who use their home for persistent anti-social behaviour will be evicted - and this can happen even for a private property - if they carry on causing absolute mayhem in their local community - it can be done.

The idea that you can be locked out of your own home is a horribly illiberal idea. If you are a Council tenant, fair enough; you are, like any other tenant, subject to a contract from your landlord. If you break the terms of that contract, then the landlord can, after following the due process (as laid out in the contract or in law), have you removed from the premises.

But to be locked out of your own private property; that is just... well... fascist. But then we knew that about this government anyway...


Bill said...

Well, I agree with you of course, but there is a 'but' in my mind that won't go away. I think that the traditonal authoritarian mantra "If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear" can very easily in this case be transformed to say something like "If you don't create absolute mayhem for your neighbours, then you won't be punished by being evicted" - and I find it difficult to dismiss this notion entirely. No-one forces people to behave like complete morons and make the lives of people living nearby a complete misery. Of course, this is all about 'definitions' - how to decide, objectively, what is behaviour so severe that it merits some kind of sanction.

My instinctive reaction to your argument about drawing some kind of distinction between tenants and owner-occupiers is to agree; after all, the mass murders by a doctor only came to light when one of the elderly people he 'dispatched' had some money which she left to the good doctor, rather than to a [just possibly] grasping relative; earlier murders had gone unnoticed because there was no financial stake for anyone who might have intervened.

On the other hand I find it difficult to justify giving a 'free pass' to people who behave shockingly badly by making neigbours' lives a misery simply because they happen to own their home and are not tenants.

Of course, I tend to disagree virulently with most of what Tony Blair says, almost on priciple, but before I will dismiss his latest publicity-seeking gimmick outright I 'd like to understand how owner-occupiers can in practical terms be sanctioned.

The standard answer will no doubt be to have 'more police on the streets', but the gentleman on the recent Newsnight interview with Blair who criticised the PM so strongly, and justifiedly, was not asked the killer question in my opinion. How are all these extra police to be paid for; will you vote for a Party that promises to raise taxes? I know there are savings that can be made, but I think the political imperative for electability of seeming to promise ever better outcomes whilst still championing lower taxes has certain practical limits. Personally I would largely abolish the NHS and much of Social Security, and a lot else of government besides, and reduce taxes dramatically whilst still leaving plenty available to have a decent police force - but no politician who wants to get elected, under a system of universal suffrage, is likely to propose such radical changes, instead what we get is vague promises and massaging of figures. And then the electorate wonder why things, such as law and order, suffer. In other words, it's not so simple as a blanket dismissal of [even] Blair's opportunistic ideas; the electorate, somehow, must be made to face up to the consequences of their conflicting attitudes when it comes to taxes and the services these can realistically be expected to provide.

Bill goes off 'rant mode' ... :)

Devil's Kitchen said...


Yes, I understand these points, and - obviously - broadly agree with you over taxes.

The owner/occupier is something else. There are measures in place, e.g. noise pollution legislation or public order notices, which can be used against such people. As usual, it requires them to actually be enforced. As with other things, such as the banning of smacking children, there are laws already in place to deal with these problems.

It is the effective confiscation of private property by the state that I really object to. And then we have to pay to house these problem people in the government "re-educatin" camps": are these not going to, effectively, become concentration camps?

You are going to have to have "guards" in order to keep the disruptive people in this accommodation, which will be expensive and these centres will be, in all but name, a prison. Can you not see how dangerous this is, even if you trust the government not to abuse this power (and let's face it, who would)...?


Bill said...

You are going to have to have "guards" in order to keep the disruptive people in this accommodation, which will be expensive and these centres will be, in all but name, a prison. Can you not see how dangerous this is, even if you trust the government not to abuse this power (and let's face it, who would)...?

Of course I can; I wrote of what I did merely to provoke ;) As for the enforcement of existing regulations I'm not entirely certain this is the sole problem as criminals seem far too often to be able to 'get off' on what are said to be 'techincalities' - witness the collapsed murder case in Scotland reported yesterday. Of course this odious government and its mostly equally odious labour/li=dem councils around the country seem too often ready to take the seemingly easier 'nuclear option' or an unenforceable ASBO or other authoritarian measure rather than prosecute using existing legislation - most of the voters are far too easily convinced by this kind of gesture politics to notice its vacuousness.
A far better long-term solution (put my dictator hat on for a second) would be to have some kind of educational qualification before people were given the privilege of voting - not all the members of the present government would qualify ;)

chris said...

Reading The Policeman's Blog it is easy to see how you would get more police on the streets without spending more money. Less paperwork! This might also mean that it was actually worth arresting the petty offenders that Blair seems to be after, rather than simply ignoring them as is the current case.

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