Labour MP helps the working classes (By evicting them)

Last night, I attended a fringe event on Civil Liberties at the Liberal Democrat Conference. Many topics were covered and as a number of prolific tweeters were present (Myself, Sarah Brown and Caron Lindsay) it had a fair bit of coverage on Twitter.

Many topics were discussed, but one in particular attracted the Twitter attentions of Tom Harris, Labour MP for Glasgow South. That was ASBOs, where concern was expressed that they can be used to punish behaviour that would normally not be imprisonable. For example, if you are homeless on the street you can be given an ASBO preventing you from drinking, something that in itself isn’t illegal. Without help, that homeless person is just going to have a drink and this time they’ll go back in front of the Magistrates and get put in jail for 7 days for breach of the ASBO.

The next time, 14 days. Then, 28 days. And so on.

The only people to really benefit from this are private companies running the prisons. There’s certainly little being done in some cases to address the underlying causes.

Enter Tom Harris:

You’d think Tom would have learnt to be careful on twitter, given he’s already lost his post as Labour’s New Media advisor after some ill-advised tweets.

But no, society has no responsiblity to help people according to Tom. Instead it’s all about “Personal Responsibility”. He goes on to recount a story (Which he sounds proud of!) where he made someone homeless because they had a drink problem.

But wait! Surely, being a decent MP, Tom Harris tried to help this person? Perhaps he’s just not mentioned all the hard work he did in that regard. No, not at all. He wanted to evict this person without considering the alternatives…

So next time you pass someone homeless on the street in Glasgow, or some other city with a Labour MP, stop and think: What caused them to end up on the street? Is it because the local MP put them there, knowing homeless people don’t vote?

The whole affair pretty neatly illustrates the difference between many Labour supporters draconian and authoritarian approach to crime and punishment, versus the Liberal Democrat view.

(Tin Tower has also written up this exchange)

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