About me
About me

21st Century crimes?


Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 12 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. Not everything that is old is bad. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have mellowed and matured.

But given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views might very well have changed in the 12 years since I wrote this post. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find pretty embarrassing today.
  • This post might use language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate or offensive.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken; embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

From the Beeb’s article on Blair’s ludicrous ‘Respect’ laws:

For example, somebody spitting at an old lady in the street would not be prosecuted because it used too much police time and the only result was a fine.

Mr Blair accepted that on-the-spot fines for some offences reversed the principle that people were innocent until proven guilty.

But he argued: “To get on top of 21st century crime we need to accept that what works in practice, in reality on the streets, is a measure of summary powers with right of appeal alongside the traditional court processes.”

Spitting in someone’s face is a great many things, first among which must be disgusting. It is not, however, a 21st century crime. Or does Mr Blair think that this is some newly-evolved ability?

I suspect he doesn’t realise that this provides the perfect example of why legislating in this way will notThe Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair, MP foster a culture of respect. In times gone by, people didn’t refrain from spitting at old ladies because they thought they might be prosecuted. They did it because they had respect for their elders. Now, respect for elders, and for authority, seems to have been lost in certain minorities of the community. So an authority for whom a youngster has no respect officially saying “Don’t spit in grannies’ faces or we’ll fine you” if anything provides an incentive to spit at them. It doesn’t help the matter.

Respect works two ways. Just as there are sections of the youth community who spit at grannies (something I’ve never personally seen or experience), there are equally antisocial grannies (who I’ve personally experienced, and who have hit, pushed, and shoved me in bus queues). To focus solely on the youth and try and foster respect in youth culture misses the point entirely. And to try and foster a culture through legislation is ludicrous.

And just when you thought this plan couldn’t come any further out of the tree, Mr Blair announces that he wants to reduce crime by making people homeless:

People could be evicted from their own homes for three months if they are nuisance neighbours, under a new action plan for Tony Blair’s “respect agenda”.

Eviction by court order would be a “last resort”, says the government but it could, for example, be used against students who annoy their neighbours with loud music.

Well, I guess it’s inventive, if nothing else.

This 794th post was filed under: News and Comment.

More posts worth reading

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd December 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 3rd November 2018)

What I’ve been reading this month (published 6th October 2018)

Dan Brown: Angels and Demons (published 7th March 2005)

The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) (published 14th January 2005)

Flu feared more than terror attack (published 24th January 2005)

Google acts against comment spammers (published 19th January 2005)

Comments and responses

No comments or responses to this article have been published yet.

Compose a new comment


You may use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> .

If you would like to display a profile picture beside your comment, sign up for Gravatar, and enter your email address above.

By submitting your comment, you confirm that it conforms to the site's comment policy. Comments are subject to both automatic and human moderation, and may take some time to appear.

The content of this site is copyright protected by a Creative Commons License, with some rights reserved. All trademarks, images and logos remain the property of their respective owners. The accuracy of information on this site is in no way guaranteed. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author. No responsibility can be accepted for any loss or damage caused by reliance on the information provided by this site. This site uses cookies - click here for more information.