Zoe Williams is in a tizzy again. This time over the fact that harsh sentencing of rioters is gaining support from the people she’d expect to be right there alongside her making excuses for them:
Even if his mother, who is 43, were the only other resident, the council would have to prove that she had deliberately made herself homeless to wash its hands of its responsibilities towards her. This would mean arguing that, rather than a perpetrator taking individual responsibility for a crime, the whole family must take collective responsibility – which is against justice at the most basic level.
I thought the left were in favour of ‘collective responsibility’? I mean, they seem quite happy with withdrawing access to things for everyone just because some can’t dispose of them properly, and what is that, if not ‘collective responsibility’?
And didn’t they champion rubbish like the MacPherson Report, which sought to claim that, rather than a problem with a handful of racists in the police force, instead all officers were guilty of ‘institutional racism’?
Belton says of the action,: “From my kind of Labour background, I’m just staggered. There wouldn’t have been a vote for it on Wandsworth Labour council a few years ago. Now I’m having some difficulty [mobilising support] within my own party.”
Your much-smarter colleagues have seen the way the winds blowing, that’s all.
They aren’t so daft as to believe that the public – having seen the rioters in action – are in any mood to listen to those who’d excuse them once more…
But other councils, even Labour-led ones, are interpreting their responsibilities as landlords a lot more loosely, to take in this function of sabre-rattling. In Southwark, 35 letters have gone out – not, it stresses, notices of evictions, just letters that detail possible consequences – to accused tenants.
Well, what’s wrong with that? The left is quite happy sending out letters warning of possible consequences, aren’t they?
It might not end in eviction; it could be a demoted tenancy, so they’re on probation for 12 months and will be evicted in the event of further trouble.
So they learn some responsibility for their feral children at last? Bring it on!
It’s not as far in sail as the Wandsworth flagship, but it is still draconian. Says Wingfield: “The message that we got back after the riots was that the public demanded that we use our full powers. It wasn’t a political riot. It wasn’t people rioting because of their poverty.”
Well, indeed. But that’s an inconvenient fact to Zoe:
I don’t think we have yet established that poverty and unrest are completely unconnected…
No, but try as you might, you can’t prove they’re indivisible either!
The French media is transfixed – Belton has been interviewed by four newspapers, as well as TV stations – and cannot believe that one local councillor should be a lone voice articulating the argument against this “tough love” while everybody else in the party stays completely silent. They ask the salient question: not “What happened to the right in this country?” – but “What happened to the left?”
Well, that’s simple, Zoe. They got a good taste of the reality of their last thirty years march through the institutions, and they decided that it wasn’t quite so wonderful, vibrant and multicultural as they’d first thought…