I encountered a new phrase yesterday; 'summary conviction.'
I'll contextualise it, in the fair city of Canterbury it is now an offence to let your dog walk off the lead. I'm a responsible dog owner, I always pick up after my dog and I do not let her walk off the lead except in places where I know she will be safe doing so. I'm not concerned about her savaging people, because I know it won't happen. (And yes, I do know, dogs are entirely predictible, read up on amichien bonding, it is surprisingly Libertarian and the results are startling, even in older dogs).
However the attitude is that dogs off the lead could alarm or attack people, therefore, anyone walking their dog off the lead is subject to a £60 fine. The logic is impeccable, and I await the next initiatives; fining people £60 for going into a pub because they may get pissed up and attack a passer-by, or fining people £60 for driving their car because they may run someone down.
I put myself in the hypothetical position of being confronted by one of the City's wardens, trying to give me a fine.
I'd refuse to pay it, take me to court, it will be my word against yours. I'll tell the Magistrate that these people are on performance related pay and have ticketed me to meet targets. My dog was on the lead. Actually, it wouldn't even get that far in court, I'll guarantee they don't meet their statutory disclosure requirements under Criminal Procedures and Investigations Act, it'd be thrown out through abuse of process.
Anyhow, the by-law refers to 'summary conviction', it has no definition in the PDF files provided on the council's website, I can only assume that it means 'you are guilty because we say you are, no caution, no representation.' Fuck that, that isn't what 2000 years of history and common law in this country says, and I'm not about to accept that with these arseclowns.
It all sounds so reasonable, doesn't it? But it cannot and must not stand, because once we accept one little bit of it, we are screwed, the police, bad enough at present, would be turned into Judge Dredd characters.
Let's look at another example, Obo hits the nail squarely on the head when commenting on this article. Harman has passed summary conviction on Fred 'The Shred' Goodwin;
"The Prime Minister has said it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted.
"It might be enforceable in a court of law this contract, but it's not enforceable in the court of public opinion and that's where the Government steps in."
Whoa! The law and process mean nothing. 'We have dediced this must be so, therefore it shall be.' Fred is a revolting little fucktard, but a contract is a contract is a contract. It is not up to the law to be popular, or to change with the direction of the wind, it is the law's job to be fair and to be applied consistently without fear or favour.
The rule of law is the glue that binds our society together, once that is washed away we find ourselves getting closer to Mugabe step-by-step. I'm waiting for the PM to remark on the next General Election by saying 'it is not acceptable and therefore it will not be accepted.'
Only YOU can stop this from happening.