A big cause of the civil unrest was the inability to listen to the people in the streets and a growing feeling of separation between the Government and ordered society with this separate culture that has grown up. As questions flew from around the house it was becoming obvious that retribution was the main theme along with compensation for those who lost property etc.
Now I completely agree with this. Those who had their property and business' damaged completely deserve compensation and I fully support the Government's policies and aims to help them. I can't imagine the hardships that are in front of those people, to be made homeless and lose everything and have to rebuild their lives. They do deserve justice and those that are responsible do deserve to be punished and shown that society has laws, whether you acknowledge the rule of the society's law or not. However the truth of the matter is that the Prison system cannot handle the massive influx of prisoners that will be put in and in the long run the revolving door policy will mean many are back on the streets by the end of the year. The prison system has long been in need of reform and reworking and now when it really needs to have space for a large influx there is none and it won't get fixed overnight.
Another question that worried me, and was nicely sidestepped by the Prime Minister was;
"Will those that were involved in the riots and are not to British citizens be deported?"
The scary face of it was that anyone who isn't a British citizen, does that count for Commonwealth citizens or EU citizens?
It was up to Tracey Crouch, Conservative MP for Chatham and Aylesford, to be the voice of reason and point out how Twitter and Facebook had helped to dispel these rumours. surely the majority of innocents should not suffer because of a handful of trouble makers? It is as if the Government feel that social networking sites are to blame for the riots and that before Twitter there were no riots. How were the riots in the 80's or Poll tax riots coordinated? What's next? Banning Mobile phones?
I think maybe keeping an eye on what is being said and preempting the rioters is a good thing but again there are times when the wrong end of the stick could be grasped by the authorities and a well meaning jab at sarcasm could be seen as inciting.
I once said to my baby daughter; If you break Daddy's model tank he will kill you - It doesn't mean I'm going to commit infanticide!
Other measures, such as giving the Police more powers to get groups to remove their hoods and masks, although an attack on freedom of action is clearly necessary. The Liberties of the individual have indeed outstretched the liberties of the group. The needs of the one are outweighing the needs of the many which is wrong.
The Police have come under a lot of stick in the past, if they are too gung-ho they are being oppressive, if they hold back for fear of public persecution they are being cowards and ineffective. Clear lines need to be drawn up and used so that they can react accordingly as the situation dictates.
|Tracey Crouch MP|