This week’s bulletin examines how the Conservatives are still trying to portray themselves as the party of law and order.
Behind the daily incompetence and corruption of British leaders, the right pursues its long-term goal of deregulation and privatization. This week I wrote about the increasingly vocal attacks on the NHS by the right-wing press, and why the right-wing US think tank, the Heritage Foundation, is interested in the ‘free trade’ potential of Brexit. .
‘Crime, crime, crime is what we want to focus on,’ Boris Johnson told his cabinet this week as the government aimed to focus on law and order issues over the course of a week which saw a Tory MP arrested for rape and police fines handed out. to people who attended unlawful gatherings in Downing Street.
This was not the first “crime week” promoted by the Conservatives. They also had one back Decemberand clearly believe they are vulnerable to Labor on law and order issues, probably because their party is full of criminals and suspected criminals, and recorded crime is rising while prosecutions are falling.
A day in the last week of crime was billed as ‘drugs day’ but sadly that may have been misinterpreted by Tory MP David Warburton, who had the party whip removed in April after he has been accused sexual harassment and drug abuse.
And of course Johnson himself is the first prime minister charged with a criminal Offence. Johnson was reportedly assured last month by Scotland Yard sources that he would only receive one fine for attending unlawful gatherings during the lockdown, which is good for him.
But more serious than the anarchy at the top of the Conservative Party is the rise in crime and decline in prosecutions across Britain in the last decade of Tory rule. Byline Times reported that “convictions for crimes such as sex offenses fell 44% between 2016 and 2020.” And drug crime statistics released in December show that while convictions for most crimes are down, a greater proportion of drug-using offenders are receiving criminal sentences.
So of course it was announced this week that the government plans to random drug test people caught in possession of class A drugs, which seems to me would likely criminalize marginalized communities much more than the middle-class white people they say they want to target for drug use.
What else? They’ll let the volunteer police use tasers, because giving the police more weapons to use can in no way lead to problems. Incidentally, you should watch the documentary All the light, everywhere, which is in part about the company that makes tasers and body cameras for police. The film is an interesting look at the biases in the way we see things.
house secretary Priti Patel spoke at the Police Federation’s annual conference this week too, flatteringly telling them that “nobody is doing more, in my opinion, to make our country great.” And no one gives public service anymore.
After years of austerity cuts to police budgets and declining police numbers after 2010, total police numbers have returned to roughly what they were when the Tories came to power, and Boris Johnson made a point of bragging about hiring more police, and all the drug gangs they apprehended. The Cabinet Office also announced that it was “recruiting more rape specialists to the CPS with a 20% increase in CPS staff dealing with rape and serious sexual offences”.
But later in the week the government announced it would also make cuts to the civil service, including the Crown Prosecution Service. The CPS is already understaffed and stretched, which is why so few crimes are being prosecuted right now. It’s also why the Tory MP who was arrested this week for sex offenses was first reported to police in January 2020, and why it’s taken them so long to act.
The prevalence of serious crime is not primarily related to the number of police on the streets, but to the general health of society. The Equality Trust’s important research of 2012, The spirit level, found that inequality and poverty were correlated with poorer education, crime and health outcomes. Growing inequality is fueling crime, but the government is largely concerned with crimes committed by the working class, such as drug possession, rather than financial crimes and other white-collar crimes.
So of course Rishi Sunak is now on the Sunday time rich list, with a fortune of around £730million, even as the Tories tell us to tighten our belts, buy value brands and learn to cook. It’s like the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008. Poverty is a personal failure, not the fault of the government which has been in power for 12 years.
The government’s flagship Police Powers Act, the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, is a bossy luck tougher penalties for people who damage statues, new powers to suppress loud and disruptive protests, to stop and search anyone near a protest, and to criminalize the nomadic way of life Gypsies, Roma and Travellers.
Far from reducing crime, this Conservative criminal government is actively seeking to create new categories of it and penalize those who seek to challenge the status quo by protesting, and to further criminalize already marginalized communities who are most at risk from police and government oversight. The bill will force a wide range of agencies to share data with police, in violation of the right to privacy. Freedom called him ‘draconian’.
The obsession with appearing tough on crime, even though their economic policies encourage it and their own MPs frequently engage in criminal activity, is nothing more than a conservative distraction. If they really wanted to crack down on frequent Class A drug users, maybe they should start by randomly testing Tory MPs.
John Lubbock leads the Right-Watch Project at Left Foot Forward
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