Fox (n): carnivore of genus vulpes; crafty person; scavenger; (vb) to confuse; -ed (adj): to be drunk.
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Tuesday 22 May 2012

Social (adj.): Friendly relations with others.

THE good thing about deckchairs is that they are infinitely rearrangeable.

That's presumably why, when we're in the middle of the greatest global financial crisis for a century, the government is worrying about people keeping their front gardens tidy.

Just as PM Dishface is drawing some serious criticism for spending too much time playing Fruit Ninja and not enough fixing the mess he says someone else made, loyal henchwoman and Home Secretary Theresa May has piped up about a plan she first suggested a year ago.

She wants to scrap Anti-Social Behaviour Orders and replace them with Criminal Behaviour Orders which are pretty much exactly the same, apart from the ways in which they are worse.

Among the possible uses would be criminalising people whose front gardens are a mess, noisy neighbours, takeaways, dog owners whose pets foul a communal area, and so on. Presumably young irks who cause trouble will collect them in the same way they collected ASBOs, with a shrug.

The proposals also include the power of civil injunction to 'prevent crime'. It requires zero proof of a criminal act, merely the likelihood that such an act might, at some point, be committed.

So if someone looks like they might be the sort to dump a mattress in their front garden, or that their dog may have fouled a communal area, we can injunct them.

Injunctions are those things rich people get, right? Against poor people? Usually?

So if you've got a problem neighbour - I've got one who talks too loudly and has too many parties, for example, and owns a mastiff called DeNiro - and enough of you complain about it, under the rules the police will have to investigate. If there's no actual crime then without too much fuss you can injunct them, because people who don't give a toss about their neighbours to start with are always nicer to them if they feel the crushing might of the law.

Theresa calls this being 'flexible'; I call it Orwell with a net curtain.

It may be national micro-management at its most ridiculous and potentially damaging, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't have a certain attraction. Anti-social people are everywhere, doing things which are damaging our society but for some reason aren't quite crimes, and there are plenty of things I'd like to change.

And if a few of us act together there's no reason we can't turn these CRIMBOs to our advantage...

* Injunct Dishface to clean up the mess he swears someone else made.

* Stop Simon Cowell. Just all of it.

* Any attempt to type the words 'Justin Bieber' on the internet to result in a mild electric shock.

* Get Tony Blair to take that long-awaited trip to the war crimes tribunal at The Hague, with some depleted-uranium munitions and a couple of deformed Marsh Arab babies for company.

* Dominique Strauss Kahn can be criminalised as a sex-pig without the rigmarole of a rape trial we all know he'll probably pay to get out of anyway.

* Low-level thuggish behaviour would merit a stay in the stocks with rotten tomatoes being chucked at you from dusk til dawn. Joey Barton, this means you.

* People spitting in the street would be cuffed immediately and thrown into the darkest sewer of Belmarsh nick, never to be heard from again.

* Ditto people who put their feet on the seats of buses and trains. WOULD YOU DO THAT IN MY HOUSE? SHIFT THEM, SUNSHINE.

* A policeman would take names and then calmly and simply explain the rules of escalators and pavements to tourists. They would be deported after a second infraction.

* Gideon Osborne to be forced to live on benefits in Toxteth for a year. That's 'all in it together'.
* People who talk to others on the internet in a manner they would not in the street to have 'DIE SCUM HA HA DIE I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE' shouted at them randomly for a week.

* Samantha Brick to be sat down in a calming environment and spoken to by counsellors with her best interests at heart.
* The practice of texting in place of conversation to be outlawed after three instances of imparting major news this way. Birthday wishes, pregnancy news, cries for help etc would lead to your text service being switched off in order to force meaningful interaction.

* Irks who play music on their mobile phones too loudly on public transport to have phone smashed with a hammer in front of them.

* Anyone who goes out in public without using deodorant to be hosed.

* Geri Halliwell will be stopped from telling other people that they cannot sing. If she persists, the sound of a cat trapped in a tin dustbin will be played at her until she ceases.

* Posh boys smashing up restaurants for larks will be penalised by being made responsible for everything. Oh hang on...

The best thing to do, of course, is for everyone to try to be more neighbourly. For me to scratch DeNiro's ears, for my neighbour to turn the music down, to ask people politely not to spit and move their feet, to remember how to apologise and rub along more nicely.

To be more social, generally. And if someone can't do that to the extent that people are harmed then there are plenty of laws already around to deal with it.

Because it's the fact we're not being sociable ourselves which is the reason why some of those problems start, and why the government wants to smack us all around with a heavy hand in the hope that we'll be so busy trying to get them to hit someone else we'll stop wondering what they're playing at.

Which, if Theresa is right, is exactly the same crap they were doing a year ago.

If only they weren't such lemons.