Politics Magazine

May’s Disturbing Vision for Justice

Posted on the 14 December 2012 by Thepoliticalidealist @JackDarrant

The Conservatives are not famed for coming up with good ideas, at least over the past 35 years, but occasionally they’ll devise and implement an excellent policy, such as abolishing the Identity Cards scheme. Unfortunately, the policy I am about to discuss is not one of them.

The Home Secretary has unveiled the new Antisocial Behaviour Bill, under which victims of antisocial behaviour will be required to select from a list of court approved punishments that the criminal will be subjected to. This smacks of tabloid-style populism to me, and that is not a sound basis for the formulation of policy. It is the role of judge and jury to deliver justice, and this principle has been at the core of our legal system for around eight centuries.

Only yesterday the Government performed a U-turn on the introduction of secret courts. Like New Labour before them, and the two Conservative governments before them, they do not appear to be content unless they are eroding our civil liberties- even the Liberal Democrats, who (if you’ll forgive the upcoming oxymoron) were supposedly the trustworthy party on liberty, have failed to block these moves. Is it not time that a written, black and white, Constitution of the United Kingdom was drawn up to cement whatever civil liberties we have left in place? Unfortunately, the UK has always been somewhat backwards in constitutional affairs, as demonstrated by an unelected second chamber and head of state, an established church, and a peculiar system of inherited titles.

But I digress. Once the principle of justice selected by victims is entrenched at a lower level, there will be pressure to extend it further. It becomes little more than de facto lynch mobbing. Victims of crime have the right to see justice being done, but it should be remembered that this doesn’t qualify them to deliver that justice.

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