Friday, August 12, 2011

Should rioters lose their benefits and be sent to Afghanistan?

I would, frankly, be really offended if any regular readers thought my answer to the above question would be "yes".

We have a criminal justice system which decides the appropriate penalties for those who break our laws. We also as a society provide for those who have nothing. What good exactly would it do to deprive those convicted of offences related to the rioting with the means to feed, house and clothe themselves? For a start, if they have any basic instinct of self preservation, the first thing they would do is go and steal something. They could try to get a job of course, but their possibly newly acquired criminal record would stand in the way of that.

And then we have the possibility that these people might have dependents they are claiming for? Are people seriously saying that kids or partners should lose all means of state financial support because of the criminal action of a parent? If so, that is profoundly wrong.

We are not the kind of place that thinks it's acceptable to allow people to starve or sleep on the streets. The fact that the e-petition which calls for those convicted of rioting in London to loose (yes, really) their benefits has attracted more than 120,000 signatures horrifies me. This may well now be debated in Parliament and I hope that our MPs will be robust in fending off this nonsense.

Even more deeply offensive is the idea that rioters should be sent to Afghanistan "so they can prove how tough they are". There are several groups on Facebook, of which this is an example, attracting several thousand fans, calling for this.

Such ideas are deeply insulting to the professionalism of our troops who have trained meticulously for the unique and omnipresent dangers they face out there.

There are some really ignorant suggestions flying around the place at the moment - many of them advanced on the benches of the House of Commons yesterday. It is a testament to the presence of the Liberal Democrats in Government that the right wing of the Tory party is kept in check. Imagine if they were allowed to run amok like they did in the days of the Major Government in the 1990s.

It's up to anyone who values a fair and free society to do what they can to challenge their nonsense.


Jennie Rigg said...

Actual rioters: Mostly white, many with jobs, nearly all over 18. Can you and me and all the sensible people stop others spouting this bullshit about it all being black kids on benefits now?

I suspect we can't, can we? :(

_madmogs_ said...

I've only been following this blog about a week, but so far everything I've seen you post I've agreed with.

I've been shocked and disappointed by the views people have been airing, including some supposedly liberal commentators. It's good to hear someone consistently and calmly standing up for sheer bloody common sense on the subject.

Unknown said...

Jennie, of course you are right - there's a whole mix of people who were involved in the rioting. There will be some people claiming benefits though who will be convicted and we have to make sure that the view that their benefit should be stopped does not prevail. That would be very dangerous.

Jennie Rigg said...

Yes, because that would mean punishing the poor more than the better off, and we NEVER do that in our society, do we?

* eyeballs bankers and Blears *

VamboRools said...

I have a strong suspicion that a good number of those 120,000 e-petitioners would prefer that nobody got any benefits anyway (whether a involved in the riots or not).


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