Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Election Fever

It's been a while since I've had anything worthwhile to say. In lieu of something worthwhile to say, let's talk politics.

Traditionally, historically, it's been along the lines of "Vote Tory, Vote Hanging", with other parties taking a more liberal stance.

Since Blair, however, the rules have changed. "Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime"? Labour. "Hug a Hoody"? Tories.

Blair and his motley crew, despite most of them being qualified lawyers, have succeeded in thoroughly shafting the criminal justice system. I don't say that lightly. Legal aid is dying on its arse from a thousand cuts. The courts are bursting, prisons likewise. The government announces a new crack-down every day, without providing the funds for these people to be represented or held in custody if they're convicted and sentenced in that way.

Worse, the only disposals with a realistic chance of reform, like drug or drink treatment orders, are even less well funded.

To top it all off, they've used the spectre of MUSLIMS COMING TO KILL US IN OUR SLEEP to pass a whole raft of thoroughly illiberal and unnecessary laws. They have created literally thousands of criminal offences. They've armed under-qualified officers with lethal tazers, they've introduced PCSOs (two whole weeks training!), they've allowed disgraceful policing of peaceful protests (kettling, etc.), and they've presided over the introduction of the targets culture.

And don't even get me started on the illegal wars.

The question is, though, would anyone else do better? I won't waste anyone's time going through policies, because as fine upstanding citizens, you should all be doing that in the process of deciding how to cast your respective votes.

The reality is, Labour didn't put any money aside during the good years, and now the lean years are here (hastened, in no small part, by their 'light touch' regulation of the financial markets), there's nothing in the storehouse. So whoever takes power on May 6, it's a bit of a poisoned chalice -- cuts aplenty lie ahead for all of us, and especially those of us in the public sector.

So, to those who have a vote -- consider your options carefully, but know this -- it's a bumpy ride ahead.

To those who are part of the criminal justice system, in any capacity whatsoever, and earn their living from it -- God speed and good luck -- you're going to need it.