Thursday, June 15, 2006

More on vigilantes and citizens

Jenni Russell takes the debate further in the Guardian today:

Tony Blair's official spokesman gave a rather prim soundbite, saying: "We have never encouraged people to be vigilantes, and never would do so." It seems the debate was shut down even before it had begun. We are back to the status quo, where public safety is assumed to be the responsibility of the agencies of the state, and any individual who gets involved can be described as a vigilante.

The idea that complex, liberal societies like ours can actually function on this basis is simply absurd. We can't have policemen on every street corner, park, bus or train. Yet in their absence we are expected to remain passive when we are witnesses to anything from bullying to mugging, harassment to assault. As more of us follow this advice, the practical consequences are appalling.

I said something similar here the other day - and will say something similar in Liberal Democrat News tomorrow.

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