Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Anti-yob laws must be used, Blunkett tells police

The problem with Blunkett is that he seems to think that social problems can be cured through force. This rapidly plunges us into a police state to deal with problems that arise from more social causes, rather than purely disciplinarian aspects. I'm not someone to advocate love and despise fascist control, but I do think we need a balance of firm authority where necessary, and solid foundational society everywhere else.

Delinquency, or anti-socialism (hmm, a tainting of the dictionary by Nu Labour? ;), isn't completely caused by a lack of discipline. I think there is a lack of discipline involved, in terms of parenting, but this arises from a lack of communication across generations and across sectors.

As someone who had been in parliament for a while noted on Radio 4 the other day, the Prime Minister is now deemed to be directly responsible for all aspects of the lives of subjects around the nation. At Prime Minister's Question Time, questions regarding all aspects of how we live are asked directly, and aren't handed off to appropriate officers, which makes everything very centralised and extremely bureaucratic. He regarded the PM's role as concentrating on economic policy and international affairs, and that the operation of internal, day-to-day matters should be left to those in charge of them.

I think that I mostly agree with this - there is too much centralisation, and too much bureaucracy in the system. A single point of contact cannot handle the information needed to make healthy decisions, and instead our society is seen through unending charts and statistics. As a result, and combined with blanket media coverage that mirrors this attitude, we produce a system in which people no longer take control of their own lives, or aren't given the freedom or incentive to do so at least. It becomes the job of those seen to look after these things, yet who, ironically, are also in the worst position to make these decisions.

The end result of this is that people become disengaged, not only from government, but from the communities they live in, and from the world immediate to them. And without these bonds, there are no channels for socialising behaviour, the very channels that keep not just the young, but people in good check of each other. There are less and less examples which we can demonstrate to those looking to learn about how we live. There are less reasons to be social, and thus we fly apart, neither belonging to any particular circle, nor being taken care of by those we perceive as should be doing so.

So Blunkett's solution, to curb this behaviour through threats and force, through more police and tighter controls, will accomplish nothing. It will strangle yet further the society that, above all, needs to be let go, to be able to do its own thing without constant threat and without panoptic supervision. If we treat ourselves as children that can't be trusted, we will grow up as children.

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