Sunday, 14 August 2011

Letter to Tim Farron & Nick Clegg; Don't allow evictions or Government attacks on liberty.

Dear Nick and Tim,

        I trust you are both well and that your holidays, however brief, were good.

I'm writing to you concerning a worrying injustice that has begun taking place in the wake of the horrific civil disorders that struck our nation.

I should make clear from the beginning that I am in no way an apologist for what has occurred and believe unswervingly in the rule of law and order.

However evicting people from council housing is not the justice of the twenty-first century - rather it wreaks of the vengeful eighteenth century landlord evicting tenants they don't like. This is a knee jerk reaction and beyond the normal line of judicial punishment. 
It is not up to the Government to punish these people but the courts. Moreover the is already a strong dislike of for the Government and its functions - Evicting families will only make the situation worse.

Retribution should be calm and measured and not in the heat of anger. As Nick said in his speech yesterday (  the problem needs to be dealt with;

Ruthlessly but thoughtfully


Resisting in overnight policy

Yet according to Grant Shapps' Twitter stream are already underway! There is also an unfairness in that it seems to be only those in Council housing and not those in privately rented accommodation who are the only ones affected. I know that the government cannot touch the private residents but it adds a further layer of contention as it is the very poor who are again suffering the most when law is meant to be blind and treat everyone the same.

Maybe a better path would be to get them to work for their benefits by cleaning up the mess they have made in the community and seeing first hand what their anarchy has brought and see that it isn't the rich that have born the brunt but the hard working people like you and me.

What I'm driving at though is that instead of curing the problem we will be perpetuating it and persecuting the poor. We're the party that listens, the party that cares and this is doing neither. The measure is highly illiberal and I don't think we should have any part of it.

This is also true for the measures to close down social networking sites during a time of crisis. In its most simplistic stance we would be stifling freedom of speech.

Yes social media is used for spreading word of riots... so are mobile phones and word of mouth and these two are used to stop rumours of rioting. In Medway there were rumours of Primark being burnt to the ground and streets filled with rioters, Maidstone too was meant to have descended into chaos. Twitter accounts from residents and Kent Police helped to stop these rumours. Rail commuters trying to escape London could still use Twitter to navigate along the railways and let you know where was open.
A good account for this, and one I agree with can be found here; 

Again this is a scary illiberal move and against what we as a party cannot agree with or be a part of it. I'm know I'm not a lone voice in this. I'm asking you as a party member, as fellow Liberals to please do all you can in your power to moderate or walk away from any reform that does have negative effects on peoples freedom and discriminates between groups.

Yours Faithfully

Chris Sams

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