Monday, June 02, 2008

The criminalisation of the masses - is this what Labour mean by a more equal society?

Alright, I wasn't impressed by Labour proposals on cigarette advertising and marketing. As for the new proposals to crack down on drinking amongst under-18's, irritation turns to contempt. Don't get me wrong, I'm not wild about drunken idiots roaming our town centres late at night. It's just that, for me, their age is irrelevant, it's their behaviour that is the issue.

Government proposals to criminalise those below the age of 18 caught in repeated possession of alcohol are silly enough, but the notion that parents might also be punished with a criminal record for failure to prevent them from doing so ranks amongst the most absurd notions that this control freak administration have dreamt up yet.

It is an offence to sell alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. It is an offence for publicans to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18. It is an offence to supply alcohol to a minor. It is an offence to knowingly withhold evidence of a crime that has been committed. Doesn't that just about cover the bases?

The proposal is that ASBO's and behaviour contracts will be handed out. Someone has to police this - who will it be? Will there be raids on the bedrooms of fifteen-year olds to see if they are in breach of their ASBO? Will parents be obliged to carry out bag checks as their children enter or leave the premises?

And as for criminalising parents, the implications are potentially ruinous. Jack is caught three times with alcohol. His parents try to stop him but fail (they both work, Jack is sometimes unsupervised). They are prosecuted and found guilty. The husband is a social worker, the wife a nurse, so their jobs are now on the line. This helps the family how precisely? Let's not even start on the implications for single parent families...

It seems that the Liberal Democrat spokesperson is suggesting that existing laws are sufficient to deal with this issue. Well done, that person, well done! There is enough law on the statutes to deal with most things and perhaps if this Government left well alone for a while, they wouldn't screw things up as often as they are at the moment.

1 comment:

Tristan said...

I agree.

Although is it really an offense to supply alcohol to a minor?

I always thought that we have no minimum drinking age, but there are limits to consumption on licensed premises and the selling of alcohol to a minor. This might then cover purchasing alcohol on behalf of a minor, but what about parents letting children have a drink at home?

Which then raises the question of what if parents buy alcohol for a teenager's party?