Posts tagged Labour Party

Free Flow

From England, via CNN:

(CNN) — British Prime Minister David Cameron thinks he’s found some culprits to blame in the recent riots that have rocked London and other cities — Facebook and Twitter.

Saying the “free flow of information” can sometimes be a problem, Cameron’s government has summoned those two social-networking sites, as well as Research In Motion, makers of the BlackBerry, for a meeting to discuss their roles during the violent outbreaks.

Everyone watching these horrific actions will be struck by how they were organized via social media, Cameron said Thursday during an address to Parliament. Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill. And when people are using social media for violence, we need to stop them.

Cameron said that government officials are working with authorities to look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.

… Cameron, a Conservative, seems to have support for a potential crackdown, even from members of the opposition Labor Party.

Free speech is central to our democracy, but so is public safety and security, said Ivan Lewis, the shadow secretary of culture in the House of Commons, according to London’s Guardian newspaper. We support the government’s decision to undertake a review of whether measures are necessary to prevent the abuse of social media by those who organize and participate in criminal activities.

— Doug Gross, CNN (2011-08-11): In wake of riots, British PM proposes social media ban

I’m sure it’s true that the free flow of information sometimes can be a problem for the project of social control that Mr. David Cameron and his organization represent.

But here’s the thing. If the free flow of information is a problem for your project or organization, the problem you have is a problem is with your project or organization — not a problem with the free flow of information.

If public safety and security is so bloody important, well, then the Metropolitan Police and the British government have obviously proven incapable of providing it. And now they have nothing to suggest but (1) scapegoating service providers and the basic facts of sociality for their manifest failure; and (2) doubling down on exactly the sort of violence, institutional opacity, and coercive control that sparked the protest and the riots to begin with. I suggest that, after all this, we need to look at whether it would be right to shut Mr. Cameron’s organization down.

Perpetual state of supervision

I first heard about this thanks to an entry in Reason’s March 2008 Brickbats column.

TEENAGERS who refuse to work, attend training or go to school are to be issued with on the spot fines under government proposals. Any who still fail to comply would then be taken to court where they could face further penalties.

The measures are designed to enforce a new law which will be outlined in this week’s Queen’s speech. It will say that all teenagers must remain in education, training or employment until they are 18.

The change will be phased in by raising the age to 17 in 2013 and to 18 in 2015. Details of the new age of participation will be outlined by Ed Balls, the children’s secretary, in a television interview today and in a speech tomorrow.

The new law will effectively outlaw Neets, teenagers and young people who are not in education, employment or training. In a speech to the Fabian Society tomorrow, Balls will put the proportion of Neets at about 10% of 16 to 18-year-olds.

On today’s Sunday Programme on GMTV, he will argue that the change is the biggest educational reform in the last 50 years.

To provide places for the teenagers, Balls will announce the creation of an extra 90,000 apprenticeships by 2013 for 16 to 18-year-olds to add to the current 150,000. There will also be 44,000 new places at further education colleges.

Tomorrow he will also issue a pamphlet detailing how the changes will be put into practice: These new rights must be matched by new responsibilities … young people are responsible for their participation and this can be enforced if necessary.

If someone drops out of education or training, their local authority will try to find them a place.

According to Balls’s department, if they refuse to attend, they will be given a formal warning, in which the local authority will clearly explain their duty to participate and the consequences of not doing so.

The next step will be to issue a formal notice, followed by a fixed penalty ticket. The Neet could then be taken to a youth court and fined, but the sanction will not go as far as imposing a custodial sentence.

— Jack Grimston, The Times (2007-11-04): Teenagers who refuse to work face on the spot fines

What sort of lessons do you suppose this educational reform will be teaching British teenagers, if the Labour government goes through with this plan to use police force, on the spot, against any youth who attempts to exist, even temporarily, outside of the direct supervision of more powerful adults—parents, teachers, bosses, crafts masters, etc.? What sort of a life, and what sort of a livelihood, and what sort of a society, do you suppose that those lessons will be preparing them for?