ASBOs: Labour yobs preach ‘respect’

New figures show that since April 1999, 5,557 ASBOs have been issued, with just under half involving youths aged 10 to 18. 897 were issued in the first three months of 2005 alone – an increase of 85% on the same period last year.

Manchester’s Labour council continues to be the most ruthless, earning the city the title of ASBO Capital, with 816 since 1999. In London the figure is 560, in the West Midlands 408, and in West Yorkshire 405. All the areas with large numbers of ASBOs also have high levels of unemployment and poverty, many with large immigrant communities. In the impoverished Salford area of Greater Manchester, the constituency of Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety Hazel Blears, 114 Asbos have been issued. Meanwhile the largely middle class counties of Lincolnshire and Wiltshire have had only 21 each.

ASBOs are being used as another weapon in Labour’s racist war against Travellers. Wakefield became the first council to use ASBOs to attack five sites which it said had been ‘plagued’ by Travellers. Anyone from the travelling community attempting to set down on one of these sites is to be served with an order against them.

Despite government denials, the press has detailed plans to introduce ‘baby ASBOs’ for under-10s and the drawing up of a new ‘Respect Bill,’ to include: the loss of rented council housing for parents of ‘yobbish families’; ‘sin bins’ – secure gated communities for ‘problem families’, patrolled by wardens and with CCTV cameras, curfews and isolation; ‘community penalties’ including obligatory voluntary work for parents; naming and shaming of heavy drinkers and alcoholics.
Louis Brehony

FRFI 188 December 2005 / January 2006