Tuesday 17th April 2012
GO TO Jail. Go directly to Jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200.
Colouring in a drawing of Olympic rings; taking the kids away for a break; failing to register to vote; refusing to stack shelves while job-seeking. Commit any of these offences and you could be facing a hefty fine.
It seems that running the country has become a game: after emptying the Community Chest, they’re now relying on the Chance cards.
Here’s one that particularly made me smile. It concerns a certain Simon Moore (no relation) who was arrested for protesting against the construction of practice basketball courts on Leyton Fields: land supposedly protected from development… except when the Olympic Delivery Authority wants it.
(It was sweet of the judge, mind, to admit to having tickets for the basketball. I wonder if he got them in the ballot…)
Anyway, Moore’s been handed an ASBO, which prohibits him from going within 100 yards of any Olympic-related venue, ‘route’ or the home of participants, officials or spectators. Unless he moves to a tree-house in remote Scotland, I reckon there’s no way he can avoid being nicked. Off with his head.
The truancy question is even more unsettling. Children do not skive because they’re criminals; nor are those parents who take a family holiday during term time. There’s a good case to be made, I believe, for making school attendance voluntary. It works in Japan.
But now there is also talk of headteachers being allowed to fine the parents of repeat offenders. And the government is, of course, keen to extend the system whereby such fines can be taken directly from benefit payments.
We have known for years that crime is more common among the poverty-stricken. To issue fines to those least able to pay them is as pointless as it is pernicious. Is the aim to make them so poor they become homeless, or end up in prison, where it costs £700+ per week to house each inmate?
Nobody has a monopoly on wisdom, but this lot have certainly cornered the market in stupidity.