Monday, 14 July 2008

Excuse Me?

No time for a big blog today. But this caught my eye from the BBC:

More than 110,000 "problem families" with disruptive youngsters will be targeted as part of a crackdown on knife crime, Gordon Brown has said. They will get parenting supervision, with the worst 20,000 families facing eviction if they do not respond.
Excuse me? How can throwing tens of thousands people out on the streets solve the knife crime problem? Can no one in mainstream politics see how stupid this idea is?


asquith said...

"Can no one in mainstream politics see how stupid this idea is?"

They don't care, because they've grasped the fact that public perception is almost totally unrelated to actual levels of crime... & obviously the former is far more important to them.

I have blogged fanatically about how the media & politicians are making matters worse, & without wishing to be offensive I am not minded to repeat myself :)

The evidence that NuLab govern by Daily Hell headline mounts. But what would you expect, looking at the sort of people they attract?

Unknown said...

I'm thinking the KnifeTerra!!!! is a convenient thing to hang a policy on, especially with this is mind.

Leftwing Criminologist said...

yeah, it is a stupid, stupid policy - but then what else can they do - they have to be 'seen to do something' and they can't actually sort out problems of low pay, crap housing, poor education facilities etc. that would actually do something about crime

Bent Society said...

More Quackery from our government!

Everyone's a criminologist and that's part of the problem.

As a profession we must stand up and shame them.

Young people have become increasingly dehumanised by the entire system. I remember when boy scouts carried sheaf knives ...they used them to whittle wood not other teenagers.

I'd hypothesise (research needed of course ) that a lot of the problem is that the knife carriers are very afraid of physical violence (more so than earlier generations) - and so they'd rather stab or shoot than take so much as one a fist in the face in a fight or confrontation.

Vicky said...

Absolutely discraceful.

ziz said...

Congratulations to your blogiste for clean / net / legible / not assualting the senses design ... but then it needs a woman's touch..

What is missed in the recorded crime figures, of whatever source, is the absence of crime that is self revealing.

If we use say drug arrests / dangerous driving prosecutions as an index of crime we conceal the fact that there is out their an uncounted universe.... about which the public are fully aware.

Supply and distribution of illegal drugs is an offence (ignore argemtns about why, and how you classify etc.,)

1. We know that the consumption of illegal drugs cause massive social harm and attendant call on human and financial resource. Both to provide funds for users and the consequences of uncontrolled use by them.

2. The volume of the business is staggering, they have a totally subterranean supply system to meet all demands, anywhere, 24/7 - a system to compare with Tesco' supplies into in prisons is awesome and persists.

3. The level of subtraction from supply is both limited and ultimately a form of tax on producer / suppliers which is informally agreed between the suppliers and enforcers, because ultimately the power , financial resource, political influence, corruption , is available and in place to effectively intimidate the enforcers.

An informed guess would say, tops ,10% doesn't hit the steet - even less for grass.

This level is arrived at to satisfy the Police / Politicians that activity / enforcement takes place without the brutal consequences of the more violent and desperate tactics of destroying demand for the suppliers.

e.g it is common knowledge that if a dealer is pulled another slips in within 12 hours. Anywhere.

4. Adult (i.e anyone 12 and above)sociiety is fully aware of this trade. Where it is done, by whom, etc., may be unknown in detail, but the haunts of suppliers and users are known in any community - although surprise runners / dealers crop do up every day.

5. This hidden world is transparent within the statistics but intensifies in areas where people and drugs meet..

Hence the common perception that actual crime exceeds recorded crime.

Another example ;

Under the new licensing powers the Police have a sanction to prosecute and if they wish to withdraw licnces from premises where alcohol is sold to intoxicated customers.

The Police requested this sanction.

Since the act there have been just over 40 prosecutions and no licenses withdrawn.(Compare this with the 10 of thousands of prosecutions for using a mobile pone whilst driving)

Is anyone going to tell me that this truly represents the level of sale of alcohol to intoxicated customers in the UK ?

Is there anyone who believes that the resultant excessive intoxification is not a vital element in public order offences in town centres ?

Anonymous said...

The Government clearly have no idea about how to deal with knife crime, or other problems such as anti-social behaviour. But, then why should we as socialists expect they would? Even more why should we rely on them to provide such solutions? The whole thrust of my political perspective developed over recent years has been that the Left - of pretty much every stripe - has for the last 100 years been fully absorbed by statism, and certainly since the second world war has been swallowed up by bourgeois ideology that has encouraged a dependency culture within the working class - whether it s dependency on the bouregois state to effect economic measures, nationalisation etc. or the morale sapping dependency of individuals on welfare. This has nothing to do with the ideas of Marx, which rejected such statism and argued consistently for workers to resolve their problems through their own collective action. Just read the Critique of the Gotha Programme.

The real solution to the problem of knife crime and anti-social behaviour is the development of real community control over estates and neighbourhoods, the establishment of democratic management of estates, and policing of areas. Last year I wrote a blog about a BBC news item of an estate if I remember correctly near Manchester, where there had been considerable problems, but a group of women had taken seats down to the shops where most of the trouble arose, began to talk to the young people, engage them and so on, and the trouble was stopped.

But, these things don't usually happen on their own. They need organising, and motivation. That means they usually need some political organisation to provide the spark. Whether we like it or not, the only organisation, still, which has the authority and resources to provide that is the Labour Party branches, but in the main they will not organise such activity, because the LP in the main remains a Party which itself sees soluitons coming not from an organised working class - Iam talking here of the remaining decent working class members of the LP in the Branches, not the bourgeois leaders of the Party - but from elected politicians whethre at a local Council or parliamentary level. It requires marxists to utilise those Branches as a lever to mobilise much grater numbers. I know there are still tens of thousands of workers in those Branches, who given a lead can engage in such activity.

Finally, I have to say that I also wonder about all the coverage of this knife crime etc. My sister is 8 years older than me. I remember her telling me about going out dancing at the George Hotel in Burslem during the 1950's when every night someone would get stabbed in knife fights between Teddy Boys all of whom carried flick knives. Look at any of the dramas of the time about Teds and you will see it was a part of the uniform. I can't remember her saying much about such fights in the early sixties when she went to see people like Long John Baldry or the Soul Sisters at the same venue, but I know that when I started going dancing at the Golden Torch in Tunstall in the late 60's there were fights every night, the police and dogs brought in, and people regularly got glassed, or wrought iron tables smashed over their heads. The same was true of the Top Rank in Hanley in the early 70's. I also remember seeing several hundred people in a fight between Mods and Rockers all the way up Waterloo Road.

I can only believe that the people who think that this current level of violence is something new, have lived something of a middle class sheltered existence.