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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ASBO's, MMP and brothers, let's remember who you should be attacking

Great work on no right turn by Idiot Savant regarding the dreaded ASBO's and why on earth we would ever want them here...

ASBOs = children in jail
Since 1999, the British government has embarked on an unprecedented criminalisation of youth, issuing Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) backed by jail sentences in an effort to cut down on "anti-social behaviour" such as wearing only one glove, playing football, feeding the poor, being poor, or suffering from Asperger's or Tourette's syndrome (there's a fairly horrifying list from Napo, the UK trade union for family court and probation staff, here). The victims of these orders are almost always young, and frequently mentally ill; the conditions they impose frequently cannot be complied with. The result, inevitably, is jail. According to today's Independent, after eight years and more than 12,000 orders, more than 1,000 children have been jailed for breaching ASBOs:

Penal reformers and children's groups warned last night that the heavy-handed use of Asbos against youngsters risked turning them into criminals in adult life. And new figures showed that 986 children aged 10 to 17 were jailed for breaking Asbos between 2000, when they were launched, and the end of 2006. Another 300 to 400 youngsters are thought to have joined the total in 2007 and 2008.

Half of those jailed serve more than four months, and the mean is 6.4 months - compared with the 4.9 months for adults (pedophobia in action!). And remember, all of this is without any semblance of a fair trial, and for doing things that are frequently entirely legal.

...and some very interesting defences of MMP from the symposium last night...

Dr Ryan Malone (Law Commission) spoke on the effect of MMP on the Parliamentary process. Under FPP, Parliament was effectively in the grip of an executive dictatorship, with majority government and Cabinet collective responsibility combining to allow small cliques to utterly control the policy and legislative process by leveraging dominance of Cabinet to control caucus, and then the House. MMP has decisively undermined this. Proportional allocation of select committee memberships has meant that most committees are now far more independent than they used to be, while the need to build legislative majorities around each issue has meant that the government has much less control of its own legislation. On some occasions, legislation has been delayed while a committee subjects it to further scrutiny; on others, opposition parties have effectively built majorities of their own to force amendments to government bills at the committee stage. Hostility to urgency has meant the government can no longer rush things through. The upshot is fewer bills, passed with much more care and negotiation than before.

...and finally I need to touch upon the war that has broken out between Chris Trotter and Idiot Savant. I respect both bloggers immensely and believe both are amazingly talented individuals, but gentlemen, the enemy is over on Kiwiblog, not against each other, so please turn your guns on David Farrar, he's looking far too pleased with himself while you two rip shreds off each other.


At 27/8/08 8:15 pm, Blogger Barnsley Bill said...

Bomber while I have a great deal of sympathy for your arguments against increased police powers I take issue with your referencing the situation in the UK. Many parts of urban Britain are now lawless shitholes, ASBO's were a response (the wrong one IMO) to the ballooning crime problems amongst the youth of Britain.
Linking that to our adoption of the Tazer is over reaching.

At 28/8/08 12:09 am, Blogger lurgee said...

Why would Trotter and I/S leave of their frantic handbag action and turn on the gibbering right? The defining characteristic of the left is its abitlity to turn on itself at crucial moments.

In the spirit of that depressing trtuth, Bomber, you smell.

At 28/8/08 12:39 am, Blogger Idiot/Savant said...


you seem to be under the mistaken impression that I'm on someone's "team" or "side". I'm not. I am my own side, and I'll fight my corner and call bullshit where I see it, regardless of who its coming from.

I'm sorry if this commitment to independence and principle offends you. But that's your failing, not mine. If you want me to STFU, its best not to give me ammunition. Simple, really.

At 28/8/08 8:20 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You may call bullshit on a lot of things, but to pretend you are neither left nor right-wing?

I call bullshit on that, Mr irredeemably liberal.

At 28/8/08 8:40 am, Blogger Idiot/Savant said...

Oh no, I'm firmly on the left. But its my left, not somebody else's, and its a left of principles, not mindless partisanship. Is it really that difficult to understand?

At 28/8/08 8:50 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But its my left, not somebody else's

Err, I think you will find the "left", including "your left", was there before you.

and its a left of principles, not mindless partisanship

And it seems in "your left" there is only room for one.
Have you ever thought your principles are blinding you to your partisanship?

Don't get me wrong idiot, you do great work, but somehow I don't anyone is able to meet your arbritary threshold of principles.

At 28/8/08 2:19 pm, Blogger Idiot/Savant said...

Err, I think you will find the "left", including "your left", was there before you.

Yes indeed, but there's a multiplicity of lefts, from dreary old Marxists to social democrats to anarchists. We all fight for our own seperate visions, and I don't see any problem with arguing over which version is best. And IMHO, a "left" which pisses on democracy isn't one worth having.

At 28/8/08 3:37 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good to see the left so divided.

That being said I would say that Trotter lacks any moral centre. It's waht happens when you think a marixt morality exists.


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