I sometimes find in debates that the person that does the most damage to your position isn't the person opposed to it, but the misguided supporter who, well, doesn't quite get it and links everything together as one big overarching theme and assumes everyone opposed is inherently arguing from the same position with the same reasons. So, given the damage such people do to my positions on occasions, well, it's great to find Tony has a few on his side. Few? Sorry, I mean of course Neil. The One (Oh look, a Babylon 5 reference, sorry); to business. Here's a comment he made in his second post, in which he tries to dismiss the criticisms of all the commenters:
I have never said a 100 quid fine was negligible, but it is a low level punishment. There would still be a chance of appeal if someone was deeply aggrieved by it.Well, yes Neil, it is low level. If you can afford it, and if it's deserved. Only, what if you can't afford it? What if you're having trouble servicing the credit card debts and are a little behind overall. What if you're entirely innocent and have been fined because someone didn't like you or the reasons you gave for something? (that, dear reader, is essentially Neil's position; if you've done nothing wrong, you've nothing to fear, but if you can't prove it, then it's better an innocent be fined than a guilty person go free. Go read if you're not sure you believe the idiocy, I may be summarising badly).
After the fact appeal? I get fined, have to pay up (even if it means not being able to afford to eat until the next payday) and then have to take time off my paid employment to try and claim the money back at my own expense? Great. Thanks.
If you lot are against these measures, you are probably all against parking 'charges' and speeding fines as well."You lot"? Neil, my, um, friend (y'see that? I'm trying to be polite, aren't I nice?), in case you hadn't been paying attention, the commenters you've attracted come from all over the political spectrum, left, right, Labour supporting, Conservatives, UKIP, you even have a particularly eloquent South Africa resident. Generalising them all under the same bruch? A bit silly. Especially seing as it's completely ludicrous.
And there's a difference. I mentioned I'm a little skint, right? Parking fines. I forgot to pay a few of them, and the bailiffs are, almost literally, at the door. So I should, by your logic, be completely opposed to them, right? Ah, no. My fault, fair copp, guilty as sin. I agree with and support the idea of parking restrictions. The thing is, they're not sumary, they're not on the spot, they're not pay now, appeal later. If I felt I was innocent, or the fines were unjustified, I could appeal them. well, could have. I didn't, because they were justified.
They're not summary, they're appealable. So, what you have here Neil is a Straw Man; we argue against something, so you've taken it to a conclusion and you assume we therefore argue against all kinds of fines, even those that are legitimate. We don't. Well, I don't anyway. Can't speak for the rest, because, well, I'm not them.
Life isn't black and white Neil. There may be times where you and I may agree on something. Rest assured if that does happen, I will check my position thoroughly. The idea of agreeing with you on anything whatsoever is disquieting currently, but it may happen; indeed, it does, later in this post. Ouch. You can't lump everyone together and assume everyone takes the same position on everything. On this, for example, I agree with Devil's Kitchen, Longrider and Nosemonkey. Rule of thumb? If all three of them, as well as I, agree on something? It's a truth so self evident that only a blinkered idiot disagrees. Take off the blinkers Neil, wake up and smell reality.
This is because you are being selfish. I imagine every comment here as come from middle class people who don't live in areas blighted by anti-social behaviour.Right. There you go again, assuming. Admittedly, I hadn't commented when you made this, but I know nothing about the others. I, um, live in central Torquay. Nice little tourist town? Yup, if you stick to the tourist bits, but it also has some bits that are fairly high on the social deprivation indexes. Guess what? I live in one of the worst bits, and, even better, it's just off the centre, and a route between some of the more popular drinking establishments. The car park just below my bedroom window has a tendency to attract some, um, interesting types. Never assume Neil, assumption is the mother of all fuck ups.
Now, as it happens, I did have a lower middle class upbringing. I live where I do through choice and financial necessity. But, well, I am fully aware of the effect of social deprivation, I see it every day.
Why is it ok to break speed limits when hundreds of people are killed every year as a result?Again, assumption. Speeding fines to make people safe are ok. But fines don't, actually, slow people down. Traffic calming measures do that much better. Besides, you're continuing your straw man. Some speeding fines are correct and just (doing over 30 in a street containing a school on a school day deserves more than just a fine, for example), in other cases (75 on a motorway when it's perfectly safe?) the fines are simply coffer filling exercises. But then, even ACPO thinks motorway speed limits are wrong.
Got that Neil? We disagree with your position, with Blair's attempts to take the money of innocents. But we may disagree on speeding fines, or the level they should be set. The issues may, on the surface, be simliar, but the surface similarity, once scratched, is a figment of your imagination. Besides, with a speeding fine, I can appeal. I know this y'see, because I've had one of them as well! Paid it, naturally, I'm inherently an honest person, even if I do think a 30 mile an hour limit on a bypass dual carriageway with poor signposting is stupid.
Why shouldn't people who selfishly park in clogged town centres be subject to parking controls when they make the lives of the rest of us hell?Neil? They should. Irrelevent to the point. Move along now, do grow up. (help me dear reader, I just agreed with Neil)
And why should principle come before the obvious in low level cases like this?Principle? The principle here is innocent until proven guilty. I can accept a fine or appeal it. But that's not what you're actually arguing for.
Do keep up and see the difference between summary on the spot fines payable immediately and a choice between a fine to be paid or a not-guilty, take me to court response. They're not the same.
It is just not practical to use an expensive, time consuming legal system in cases as obvious as the 10,000 cash example.Well, maybe I should have a reason (I dream of that much cash currently, but there y'go). But, y'see, why should I have to justify to the state why I have the cash?
I'm sorry if you are going to carry large sums of money like this late at night, you should have a legitimate reason. It is a small price to pay to ensure that low level crime is effectively controlled.
Maybe I own a business, maybe I'm buying a second hand car at a time convenient to me and the vendor, maybe I've just sold one. Maybe I'm off to see, perfectly legitimately, a high-class prostitute (Neil, in case you're not aware, prostitution remains legal in this country, it's soliciting and brothel keeping that isn't). Maybe I just want to carry cash around. Maybe I don't trust the banks.
Your example is ludicrous, but you've been given, in both comments threads, perfectly legitimate answers. I'm English (and British), and English criminal law assumes innocence and allows me privacy to carry out my business.
Why should I justify to the organs of the state why I'm carrying money? Why should I explain where I got my car from?
Neil, you think that paying a fine, even when innocent, is a minor inconvenience. A low level punishment. But you said that I shouldn't object to being fined, even if innocent, because it's for the greater good.
I object to on the spot summary judgements because I am innocent. Please, explain again, how fining the innocent improves their respect for society? How summary judgement improves social cohesion and support for the police?
It is in all our interests, by letting low level crime go unpunished, we let criminals progress to more dangerous crimes. Which is worse?No, we're not supporting the drug dealers and thieves, we're supporting the rights of the individual against a state that is attempting to overreach itself.
Someone give me a reason why someone would need to carry such large sums of money and not be able to give the police a legitimate reason. If you can't, you are just defending the rights of the drug dealers and thieves and what sort of principle is that?
I believe in punishing low lever crime, which is why I strongly support Torbay councils recent improvements to traffic policing, for example. But, you see, you've missed a beat.
What you, and Tired Tony are arguing for, isn't punishing low-level crime. It's punishing innocent people before they're found guilty.
Here's a little lesson in constitutional history for you. I'm by no means an expert, but, well, I have studied it extensively. Bill of Rights, 1689, it's one of the founding documents underpinning our legal and constitution system, it's the justification for a Parliamentary Democracy.
#Change this basic principle, you change the basic underpinning that has worked in this country for over 300 years.
# That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;
Your case, and that of Blair, is both fundamentally flawed and unproven. In addition, as proposed, it undermines the basic precepts upon which this country is established.
I'll be charitable, and assume you just don't know the history of this country. But, as I've observed, assumption is a bad thing. So the alternative is that you do know the history, but either don't understand it or reject it out of hand.
If you do wish to change the basic fundamentals of this country, feel free to say so, so we can have a proper debate. But your constructed straw man has been answered. By more than just me.
Oh, Neil? One last point. I'm quite open about my politics, I quite openly describe myself as a liberal socialist, and in 2001 voted for a current serving member of the NuLab govt when I lived in Exeter. Unlike you, however, I can see that Blair has abandoned all pretense at fulfilling the promises he was elected on, and has, instead, adopted an approach of populist authoritarianism (described by some as 'proto-fascistic'). He supports the power of the state to control the individual. I do not.
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Update: This post has been awarded a 'Bloody Devil' for "people who fisk objects of public derision but who also pepper the post with gratuitous but intensely satisfying insults." Apparently it only just made the grade, "there's a distinct lack of swearing"; guilty on that one...