Possibly the most illiberal jurisdictions in the world are now North Korea and Wandsworth, south London. Why? They both impose punishments on the families of lawbreakers.
It has been well documented that the world’s only remaining Stalinist government punishes the relatives of those convicted of any crime, imposing terrible hardships and penalties on innocent people. Now Conservative-controlled Wandsworth council has joined Pyongyang in adopting the same approach to unconvicted relatives of criminals. The decision demonstrates how rapidly the Tories have descended into barbarism following the riots earlier this week.
Not only does the imposition of collective punishments go against every pillar of every civilised democracy in the world, but collective punishments have, in the past been shown to have incalculable negative consequences, particularly or those who impose them. For example most historians agree that Hitler’s rise to power was facilitated to a significant extent by the collective punishment imposed on the German people following the first world war.
However the knee-jerk lashing out at the mother of a young boy accused of involvement in the riots by Tory council leader Ravi Govindia is most worrying because it shows how the depth of anger revealed by the rioters is equalled by the viciousness of the Tories as they aim to extract retribution from anyone, for riots which have shown up their government’s policies for the charade they really are.
It is also likely that Mr Govindia is not merely engaging in a rabble-rousing persecution of innocent people however, but is doing what Tories around the country have attempted to criticise everyone else for; playing politics with the situation. It became clear very quickly, following the disturbances, that, other than David Cameron, who has played a bad hand appallingly, the person who has come out of this worst is Boris Johnson. Having gone from looking like a shoe-in for a second term as London Mayor, his appearance on the streets of Clapham has looked like the end of his political career. Here is a man you cannot rely on in a crisis, here is a man who hasn’t got a clue. The race for London Mayor has been thrown wide open once more, it is going to be a great deal closer than expected, it really isn’t looking good for the Tory candidate.
As such Govindia’s plan to evict council tenants who are relatives of people convicted of involvement in the riots does not merely represent a level of barbarity that even the fanatics of the Tea Party have dared to sink to, it represents a cynical attempt to rid London of a few potential Labour voters as his party tries to hold onto the office of Mayor using any dirty tricks it can.