Monday, July 19, 2004

The new consensus

Tony Blair has today announced the publication of his third five-year strategy. One wonders whether that is the same as one fifteen-year strategy, or whether the strategies are to run, rather like prison sentences, concurrently, or consecutively.

While we’re about it, isn’t it interesting how many unpleasant things have the initials TB – like tuberculosis, Tory Boys and certain prime ministers.

Anyway, this all new, gleaming strategy, straight off the printing presses, is on crime – er.. well, not actually. It is about the "Criminal Justice System and Home Office".

We are told that "today's strategy" (and what is tomorrow’s?) is "the culmination of a journey of change both for progressive politics and for the country". For Blair, at least, "it marks the end of the 1960s liberal, social consensus on law and order".

People, it seems, have been taking freedom without the responsibility, and zis must stop. People want a society of responsibility. They want a community where the decent law-abiding majority are in charge; where those that play by the rules do well; and those that don't, get punished.

"Our first duty is to the law-abiding citizen", Blair says. "They are our boss". We will charge them more and more tax for less and less service, and then lock them up when they refuse to pay. "That is the new consensus on law and order for our times".

Guess which bit he didn’t say.


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