Friday, November 06, 2009

House Points: Antisocial Labour

Today's House Points from Liberal Democrat News.

True to form

When Labour popularised the idea of "antisocial behaviour" in the years before 1997, Liberals worried that we would see the police concerning themselves low-level nuisance behaviour by children and teenagers.

Because whenever the concept was invoked by Labour politicians they bundled these nuisances together with elements of obvious criminality like vandalism and aggressive begging.

It hasn’t turned out like that. When a senior Leicestershire police officer addressed the inquest into the deaths of Fiona Pilkington and her daughter in September he said: "I'm not sure if people know but low-level anti-social behaviour is mainly the responsibility of the council."

It looks as though Labour’s championing the concept of “anti social behaviour” has resulted in actions that were once seen as criminal is now taken more lightly. Chalk another one up to Tony Blair.

The death of Fiona Pilkington (who killed herself and her daughter after years of harassment) was in the mind of all MPs on Monday when a debate on antisocial behaviour. There was just one problem. The Pilkingtons lived in Barwell in Leicestershire. And Barwell is in the constituency of David Tredinnick.

We last saw him two weeks ago speaking on remote healing and Chinese astrology. He began appropriately enough this time, but he went on. And on. And on. He was pulled up twice by the deputy speaker but didn’t get the message until, as he was discussing Leicestershire long alley skittles, he was heckled from his own side. “Come on. There are six other people who want to speak,” growled Brooks Newmark.

A few brief points from the debate.

Chris Huhne complained that the ministry of justice is not implementing nationally a successful Liverpool community justice experiment. But I wonder if he is right. Local schemes often succeed because of remarkable individuals and unique conditions. They cannot always be reduced to bullet points on a set of PowerPoint slides.

Hazel Blears, we can exclusively reveal, is still alive. She is as partisan as ever and still paints Salford as a communitarian Shangri-La.

The Conservatives’ shadow home affairs minister is James Brokenshire. Is a broken shire part of David Cameron’s “broken Britain”?

And does Brooks Newmark have a sheepskin coat and a moustache? With a name like that he certainly ought to.

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