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Friday, January 13, 2006

My hole is greater than the sum of any government's respectable parts.

So DLA's, I actually wrote this yesterday but Blogger had an outage so i couldn't post it. Then i spelled "respectable" wrong: twice, for fuck's sake! Justin, in his "Chicken Yoghurt: Reject Action Plan" post [title link] has done us all the inestimable favour of saving us the ballache of trawling through The Govts. new document "Respect Action Plan" ~ download away: i can't be arsed. This is why i'm thankful for Justin's efforts, as we all know full well what a load of shite anything with that as it's title will be coming from a bunch of lying cunts like this crew, eh? I'll urge you to read his analysis though, because it points up some of the spin and speculates over what the real purpose of the thing might be. I was moved to leave this... steaming behind me:

At 3:28 AM, January 13, 2006, edjog said...

You're obviously right Justin, to suggest that taking money from the poorest will only make us rely on crime more. I believe though that ever since this policy really started with the introduction of legislation that allows for benefit to be paid at half rate if you lose your job through some reason deemed to be your fault (in the early 90's sometime, i forget: i was wasted), for 6months, a major social change has been underway. The low-level criminalisation of the poor continues with the likes of ASBO's and now we hear this frankly fascist idea that it is somehow better to have innocent people found guilty than the guilty go free, for the minor crimes of the poor.

The trouble is that the change is in precisely the opposite direction to that which is it's stated intent. You say that a �100 fine is a lot if it would prevent someone from eating. This is actually nonesense to all but the most deluded of law abiding citizens. The plain fact is that when you have little or no disposable income, the amount the courts will set as a payment installment has to take this into account. Even then, if you are already inured to the process of criminal law, no longer cowed by media driven hype about prison rape or social stigma attached to being sent to prison, you simply refuse to pay.

Not to the magistrates face of course, but nonetheless, we don't pay. Eventually after several court appearances you get the idea that the next time you are summonsed it will be jail. The trick then is to fail to appear in court, wait for the warrant to be issued and then turn up at the Police Station on Thursday at 6am, penniless, brief in-tow, and surrender to custody. Later that day you get sentenced to less than a week in jail which writes off the fine. You automatically only serve half the sentence barring bad behaviour, but you can't have a half day inside so it's 3days tops. Jail releases don't happen on a weekend, but they cannot keep you longer than the set tarif so you are free Friday at 6am.

If you find yourself continuously in trouble, with a lot of fines, by evading capture for a while (claiming to be somebody else when a civilian comes to the house looking for you) these can all be dealt with in the same overnighter, because these offences are all the same and thus sentence is concurrent. We call it 'a lie down.' Even if you've really hammered it, the worst you'll get is 'a long sleep' where you get released Monday or Tuesday at 6am. Half the people in the place are your mates, so who cares? You hit the streets well fed and rested, ready to have another crack at it.

In the 90's the attempt to shut down the party scene combined with social unrest made low-level criminals of a lot of people. As a hardcore criminal, it became possible to rely on the discretion of people who perhaps only 5years previously would have thought of me as the scum of the earth. The Police were still grappling with technology which was not fully integrated with all Forces and the sheer amount of petty crime being committed as part of the party scene gave us a smokescreen behind which to disguise our more concerted efforts. It was a mini-golden age of crime.

Now, i have to confess that one of the reasons my cohorts and i were so blas� about such things as surviellance and private securuty measures was because we were off our heads on drugs, but the overwhelming factor was that we knew damn well that as long as we didn't do anything too outrageous, the Police might know exactly who was doing what, but they simply didn't have the manpower to do anything about it.

This is the social change i'm on about. Being a criminal is no longer seen as an 'us and them' issue to a growing section of society, but rather a case of it being that one person might be prepared to dare slightly more than another and is therefore a useful person to know. With the combined rising costs of caring for our ageing population and greater expectation from health care and education, there will come a time when this confluence of phenomena happens again.

The ugly truth of the matter however is that this time it will be far more about drugs like crack cocaine and guns. People will remember the times when they could rely on 'geezers' like i was, a little bit woo, i little bit weah, to help them out with something a bit dodgy as the golden age it was: when we see american stylee gun battles in the streets.

How long can the policy of prohibition of drugs which fuels gangsterism continue? As long as the costs to society can be spun bearing in mind the jobs it creates, the oppression it facilitates and the personal fortunes to be made by the very rich who are the only people who can actually afford to invest in high level manufacture and supply.

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