Harassing youth and their parents – Labour’s ‘vote winner’

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HOME SECRETARY Smith yesterday revealed Labour’s master plan, at a ‘We’re Not Having It’ outrage conference, held to try to claw back its lost popularity with the middle class, by launching a state directed, round the clock, harassment of working class youth and their parents.

The plan is to have a ‘Dirty Harry’ type police officer on every street corner, complete with the ‘Come on punk-Make my day’ approach to community relations.

It is a policy of despair, thought up by hardened political cynics, to be carried out by thugs and provocateurs, with the end result guaranteed – local uprisings that will make the Brixton and Tottenham riots of the 1980s look like nursery events.

Smith actually stated at the launch of the conference that the number of Asbos being issued against youth were falling and that the situation was getting better.

But Labour is not going to let this get in the way of the right-wing posturing and politics that it reckons is necessary to outflank the Tories.

Smith said: ‘Over the past year, we’ve seen crime figures come down, and we’ve seen public concerns about anti-social behaviour ease.

‘But even though recorded crime is down 12% for the last quarter of 2007; even though robbery is down 21% and violence against the person is down 10%, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s at an acceptable level. And even though the numbers of people worried about ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour) are dropping, that certainly doesn’t mean we can sit back and think we’ve cracked the problem.

‘Far from it. There can be no excuse for inaction. . . .’ So she trots out a programme of action calculated to turn housing estates into war zones. Smith is to introduce ‘Operation Leopard’.

She said: ‘Operation Leopard is exactly the sort of intensive policing that can bring persistent offenders to their senses – involving daily police visits to their homes, repeated warnings for the hard core of trouble-makers, and relentless filming of them and their associates throughout the day and night.

‘It creates an environment where those responsible for anti-social behaviour have no room for manoeuvre and nowhere to hide, where the tables are turned on offenders so that those who harass our communities are themselves harried and harassed.

‘It’s struck a chord not just with me. . . . So I am today announcing £250,000 of funding this year for an ASB Action Squad that will inject new drive into the take-up and use of ASB tools and powers. . . . I now want the Action Squad to co-ordinate a new drive against the hard core of ‘hard nut’ cases.

‘That car of theirs – is the tax up to date? Is it insured? Let’s find out. – And have they a TV licence for their plasma screen? As the advert says, “it’s all on the database.” – As for their council tax, it shouldn’t be difficult to see if that’s been paid. – And what about benefit fraud? Can we run a check?’

And further: ‘I want to see more parents getting the support they need to meet their responsibilities – both to their children and to their communities.

‘And so I am now proposing that – as is already the case with Individual Support Orders – there should be an automatic requirement on the courts to consider making a Parenting Order when issuing an ASBO to a young person.’

These are the measures that are to be imposed in a situation where things ‘are getting better’.

If Labour is desperate to win support there are a number of simple measures that will guarantee it.

They should reinstate the 10p lower rate of tax for the low paid. Use the vast ‘loans’ that they have given to the banks to insist that they cut mortgage interest rates and make a declaration that they will not repossess the homes of people who are unable to pay their mortgages on time.

They should halt the privatisation of council housing. Cut the duty on petrol and diesel fuel, and end their public sector pay cutting policy.

These are not socialist measures, but the bosses would oppose them all.

This is why Labour insists on making working class youth and parents scapegoats and witch-hunting them 24 hours a day.