The Ranting Kraut

19.3.2006 – 27.9.2010

New Labour and the End of Innocence

Posted by rantingkraut on January 5, 2009

Philip Johnston has some fitting comments on Labour’s decade of legislative diarrhoea:

We know there has been a tidal wave of legislation, but it is mind-boggling to discover the size of the tsunami. It is estimated that more than 3,600 new offences have been created. But even more astonishing, as Baroness Stern, a crossbench peer, discovered when she asked, is the number of these that can result in a prison sentence. Believe it or not, there are 1,036 that the official could identify. There may well be more.

It is now an imprisonable offence to allow an unlicensed concert to take place in a church hall. You can go to prison if your child fails to attend school, or if you smoke in a public place, or if you fail to obtain a passport for your pet donkey or if you are a child caught in possession of a firework at any time other than on or around November 5 or New Year’s Day. No doubt, children letting off fireworks are behaving in an anti-social way; but no reasonable person regards this as meriting imprisonment.

This development is uniquely a New Labour phenomenon. All governments introduce new laws; but this one has turned legislation into an obsessive political tic, and one that has become more pronounced, not least with the requirement to implement EU directives.” (Source)

He also draws a much needed conclusion: “There is a message here for all the political parties, not just Labour, to stop the criminal justice arms race. Could they resolve for the New Year neither to introduce nor propose any more laws unless absolutely necessary?” (Source)

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