Tuesday, 16 October 2007

And then they came for me

While civil liberties campaigners panic about 90 day detentions, ID cards and the "police state" brought in by the terrorism bill, it is always the boring stuff under the radar that that has more potential to infringe on liberty and breach our most basic of rights.

It would not matter if the Terrorism Bill was fair and just. I, like many, have no confidence that the police or the courts will use these laws in the spirit in which they were intended, and therefore must be opposed (and probably will be). However, the really boring stuff, the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill will probably slip onto the statute book unnoticed.

In effect this will remove any right a person has to defend their property against the already lawless thuggery of debt collectors and bailiffs. Why on earth they are bothering when they already get away with breaking the law with the full support of the police is beyond my comprehension.

The law does mean that the awkward squad, the "won't pays", will be subject to a good kicking on refusal to pay parking fines/council tax should they defend the privacy of their homes. If I'm honest with myself I probably have it coming because of the contempt I show for the law in motoring and tax matters. However, I fear this has grave ramifications for those who genuinely don't have money and don't have access to any either.

This will be another free hand for the police and state hired thugs to do as they please, whenever they please. What can start out as a £90 fine can finish up as a bill of thousands, a prison sentence and one more generally law abiding citizens life smashed because the fiefdom demands its pound of flesh.

Most people support speeding fines and such but we are being fined for more and more things; accidentally crossing into a bus lane, selling something in pounds and ounces, putting things in the wrong bin. All seemingly harmless on the face of it but the manner in which they prosecute is arbitrary, bullying and unfair. When those who cant afford it say they can't pay, they lose all protection from the law and the courts pass it onto debt collectors without even offering a payment plan. You are then on your own.

Perversely, if you are a violent criminal you have your day in court. You have your chance to defend yourself and present evidence and it will be considered by a panel of your peers. If you are a law abiding citizen who accidentally falls fouls of the system, they will smash you and they will do everything to prevent you getting a hearing until your only recourse is to do physical harm on those trying to remove your property in order to get a fair hearing.

One is left wondering how come there always seems to be a human right for terrorists who want to kill us, but nothing of the sort for those who don't have any money and just want to defend their property from the state?

I often hear the words "it's not safe out on the streets at night". Rubbish. The people I have most cause to be afraid of are the state hired thugs and the police acting in support of them. Until today I had no cause to lock my front door. I now think differently.

For, today they are coming for me. They are threatening to clamp my car and cease my goods because I am unemployed and can't pay a speeding fine. They wouldn't hold the bailiffs off after I paid them half of the fine and they have slapped £150 on the bill and they have not given me any options. So, today I will become a criminal because I will do whatever it takes to stop them clamping my car or taking any of my meagre collection of possessions. And all this because I simply didn't have £45 to spare when they originally demanded it.

Why are they allowed to do this? How many people more people will the state hound into criminality for the crime of being skint? More importantly, do they allow you to have books in a police detention cell? I really must finish The Great Deception.

Update... For once the BBC has made itself useful.