Saturday, May 31, 2008

Zero tolerance as a cash cow.

I wonder how many of these zero tolerance schemes actual really work the way they are sold.

Here is a schoolteacher punishing a boy that didn't do his schoolwork, memorizing the Koran. He ended up killing him and was himself arrested and will be punished. Probably a smacked bottom because the kid was clearly insulting Islam or something. OK, OK. It's not here but made me think if a society like that with it's OTT punishments and little regard for human life has it's non conformists then what hope have we.

It made me think though how much deterrent we can put in place for crimes. Here is way over the top punishment for failing a school test and yet the little guy didn't manage to memorise what he had to in the same way the teacher was not stopped from killing him, albeit accidentally.

So, bearing this in mind how does a society such as ours where nobody is ever at fault expect to reduce crime in any way. Punishment doesn't happen and it won't be long before this drops down to the bin brigade and thus the only people that will be getting any form of punishment for anything will be middle class with some spare cash. Therefore increasing the number of people in that bracket with criminal records and for things as serious as mixing cabbage stalks in the green waste recycling bin. Of course the CRB checks won't identify what the heinous crime is so they will lose their jobs, perhaps their livelihoods, over potentially trivial offences. Pre-school teachers don't exactly have transferable skills for example.

So it seems to me that these zero tolerance tactics are actually not zero tolerance at all. They are targeted fairly and squarely on those with some spare cash, the middle class who have to put their own bins out, who have to travel to work and who, in their lifetimes, make enough mistakes so the law of averages ensures that they get caught out for something. Thus dragging down the middle class and under the guise of law and order getting some desperately needed funds into the coffers of the government.

It seems, only seems though, that this sort of thing may be coming to an end. We are starting to rebel against the system that allows this. Still, having our stiff upper lip means that we don't really do it well. Instead of mounting a raiding party and stringing them up we write harshly about them in blogs. At least it is a start.

Any way, zero tolerance is now a class war tool used for gathering funds. Nothing else and it's is being wielded against us because we have some money we are no volunteering to give to the state. They can't have that and they are not at the stage where they can just call around and collect it either. Thus our million and one new laws and all with the benefit of fines.


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