Sandwell has a particularly notorious reputation for this sort of petty bullying of the vulnerable.
So I’m glad that intrepid Blogger Anna Racoon has taken up the case with gusto.
On Friday, the threatening ‘Final Demand’ from Sandwell Council, warning her that she now faces a £2,500 fine plus costs (and possible imprisonment if she does not pay that) expired. The next opportunity for Mrs Martin to contest this matter will come in ‘some months time’ – the council cannot tell me when her case will arrive at the top of their back log of cases to appear in the Magistrates court.
Sheila Martin is frightened, intimidated, and feels helpless in the face of this prosecution. She is in delicate health, aggravated by stress, and I have asked the council to reconsider their decision to press ahead with what may well be an interesting test case defining a cigarette end, but which will be at the expense of a frail and elderly person. They have referred me to their ‘revised Enforcement Policy’ – which makes for terrifying reading, a fine example of the totalitarian government Sheila’s Father fought so bravely to prevent. (available HERE)
Nick Hogan, who I was instrumental in rescuing from prison after similar council action, has joined with me, the Libertarian Party and the Sunday Mercury, to ensure that Sheila suffers as little as possible from the council’s intransience.
We have already arranged for some very high powered legal representation for her, to put her mind at rest, and I have promised her that she will go to prison ‘over my dead body’ – she is obviously unable to pay this fine, or incremental increases of it, and I have personally guaranteed her that somehow I will make sure that she doesn’t have to pay it herself, nor go to prison.
There is no need for money at present, all the legal beagles so far involved are kindly donating their time and expertise free of charge – although if there are any other lawyers out there who would like to join the team, this is one broth that will not be spoiled by too many cooks. My e-mail address is on the contact section of this blog.
I also made a suggestion in the comments.
I’m musing on the idea of a mass smoke-up in the centre of Sandwell.. bring video cameras, draw these egregious little twerps out and make then YouTube stars.
Read more: http://www.annaraccoon.com/politics/fighting-them-on-the-sandwell/#ixzz0xLggCmB0
More importantly, I followed some of Anna’s links. The first one in the above quoted section leads to Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council’s website, where you can download their ‘Wardens’ Enforcement Policy’ as a PDF.
It is truly a work of Orwellian Newspeak in it purest form and deployed for precisely the same purpose as in 1984. I was drawn to point 2.2.1 on page 4:
The Council has adopted the Cabinet Office’s “Enforcement Concordat” which offers best practice guidance and promotes good standards of enforcement.
An ‘Enforcement Concordat’? Just what the fuck is an ‘Enforcement Concordat’.
Well, I’ll tell you what an ‘Enforcement Concordat’ is. It’s a sign of how early on in New Labour’s 13 years in power they began to put their backs into completely subverting language and liberty, as well as coercing businesses into supporting and facilitating their egregious aims.
The Government introduced the Enforcement Concordat in 1998
The aim is to promote good enforcement that brings benefits to business, enforcers and consumers. The Enforcement Concordat encourages partnership working between enforcers and businesses, and sets out the Principles of Good Enforcement which enforcers should apply in order to achieve higher levels of voluntary compliance. The principles are:
- Standards: setting clear standards
- Openness: clear and open provision of information
- Helpfulness: helping business by advising on and assisting with compliance
- Complaints: having a clear complaints procedure
- Proportionality: ensuring that enforcement action is proportionate to the risks involved
- Consistency: ensuring consistent enforcement practice.
None of which sounds like an approximation of Sandwell’s actions in fining a mother whose toddler was feeding the ducks £75, fining a woman who accidentally dropped her tissue in strong winds £75, and fining a pensioner for dropping cigarette ash.
So, fuck labour dominated Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and fuck their shiny-bibbed bullies.
I’m right behind Anna.