Left Out Liberal

A left-wing/liberal look at the UK's General Election of 2005.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Lib Dems on Crime

Listening to Mark Oaten on The Politics Show on BBC2 today, the Liberal Democrats spokesman on Crime, I couldn't help but agree with everything that was said. People are gearing themselves up to attack the Lib Dems for their talk of "tough liberalism" because the right-wing press like to set themselves in the position that only they can talk tough on crime.

But what he said about the Lib Dems taking the tough option was absolutely right. It's very easy to jail everyone. It's very easy to fine everyone. But what does it achieve? Sure, it takes people off the streets for a bit. And there will always be extremely dangerous people around who can't be rehabilitated who need to be locked up for life. But what about the vast majority of the petty criminals who go to jail? Most of them go on to reoffend within a few months. Is that a sign of a system that is working?

So it is "tough" to want to take the hard option of tackling the genuine causes of crime. It's an extremely simple concept to grasp. But it will not be painted as such. This election is gearing up to be one of the worst that anyone will remember. It will be characterised for relentless spinning and extreme concentration on the same issues such as immigration which will grind the electorate down. I am predicting this could be the lowest turnout ever, which will be a complete shame given that now more than ever we need to stand up and cast an important vote against the dangerously right-wing Blair.


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