Thursday, October 26, 2006

John Denham Wants to Discriminate Against the Unemployed

I thought the BBC was winding me up when I read THIS. So John Denham - who, let us remember is the Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee- thinks that unemployed people should be given longer sentences than those in work if they commit a crime.

Is this a knee-jerk reaction to a problem that should have been dealt with earlier or is it a sensible measure to punish those making no discernible contribution to society? John Denham was seen as a Blairite loyalist until his resignation over the Iraq war, but he has not been afraid of criticising the government as chairman of the Home Affairs committee.

Actually, this measure has a distinct “Hand of Reid” feel about it. Denham believes the measure will build public confidence in community sentences. It is not yet clear how the idea would be put into practice. How long would an offender be out of work before being subject to a longer sentence. Also, is John Denham saying that offending while out of work is worse than criminal behaviour and taking home a pay packet? Those that would be exempt under Denham’s idea would be those caring for a family member. Will we see hardened, jobless crims claiming in court that no matter how immoral they may be, they still love and care for their frail old mum? It’s obvious something urgently needs to be done to address our spiralling prison population, but does the answer lie in punishing one set of criminals differently to others? The answer is surely no.

15 comments:

youdontknowme said...

Maybe he should try and stop immigration so people can get a fair wage and so are willing to work.

Chuck Unsworth said...

What next? Means testing for speeding fines? Why does Denham seem to think that law depends on the personal circumstances of the criminal? What's the point of pleas in mitigation? What's the point of tariffs? What's the point of the whole legal system? This is the usual make it up as you go along stuff from NuLab.

I used to think that Denham had some sense, but either the booze or the Reid has got to him recently - he's certainly lost it with this one.

Anonymous said...

Now now John- it is unkind to discriminate against half your Labour colleagues come 2009- all become unemployed sometime.

Peter Hitchens said...

Dear Mr Dale
As you know we are watching the implosion of 1960's permissiveness.
That is not to say I agree with this piece of insanity but rather recognise (and enjoy) the pathetic grasping at straws of those who until quite recently were pushing such ideas.
See also the attacks on muslim custom by arseholes such as Jack Straw.

Anoneumouse said...

What is really needed, is a copy of the Bill of Rights 1689 to be sent to every politician. (Elected or prospective) If elected, and before they swear their oath of allegiance, have to sit a test. The pass rate being 100%

Jock Coats said...

Interesting Chuck Unsworth mentioned "means testing for speeding fines". Because this made me think exactly of that. The Tories tried that, remember. Unit-fines it was called if memory serves. If you had more money, you would get a bigger fine for the same crime as someone who had nothing.

So maybe this is just extending that idea...if you have more money you get a bigger fine. If you have more time on your hands you get more time..:)

NB - I didn't like unit-fines either so I'm not approving of this idea. I just think it's a bit rich for people to castigate Labour for something that it seems to me they tried to do albeit in a slightly different way.

Anonymous said...

Agree with you Ian. Presumably Denham means people who are signing on as opposed to anyone so well off that they do not have to work. What happened to the Government's New Deals for the unemployed?

Anonymous said...

Denham represents for money. He does not work, as he adds no value to society in any measurable form.
I'd like to see a measured increase in economic benefit from any MP / Lord official activity.

PS. I'm a bit harsh as my "mmember" is, ugh, Galloway.

Mark Hodges said...

This is rediculous. A crime is a crime whether you are employed or not. The punishment should fit the crime, regardless of income and where that income comes from. This is another Labour policy that will grab headlines, be lambasted, and fade away- sounds a bit like the policy on faith schools!!

AnyonebutBlair said...

Perhaps when Blair's Spad's get banged up for the Loardships for Loans scandals their sentences will be doubled because they don't have proper jobs only made up ones for the boys.

Flavious said...

Another fine example of what Zanu-Labour come up with as policy when they dont have Tory concepts to misappropriate.

Anonymous said...

The rich are punnished with larger fines than the poor. Why shouldn't the time rich by punnished with more time consuming activites? The question is not of unemployment, maybe it should apply to the retired, or those so wealthy they choose not to work. Obviously this is a diffcult equation, however we presently call on judges to consider, for example, a persons conintuing eduction when they sentence, why not also how much free time they have?

Rigger Mortice said...

I don't see why you're all wound up.people in work already get softer sentences if it's on the borderline between custodial or community based punishment

Terry Hamblin said...

John Denham's idea seems to me to be eminently sensible. 100 hours community service is about a week's work to a junior doctor (or it used to be before the EU started punishing them for doing more than 48). It would be easy for the non-employed to put this in in 3 weeks, without breaking sweat and with weekends off. 100 hours community service for someone in full time employment would mean giving up their saturdays for three months. Do you regard that as fair? I don't. Community service is the kind of work that the rich get a man in to do. Not being able to, and having to do it oneself. is quite a punishment.

Anonymous said...

The phrase "eye-catching initiative" comes to mind.