The Curmudgeon


Saturday, December 11, 2004

News 2020

Balanced news from right on the fence

The Government launched a major stage of its "Security, Opportunity, Prosperity" package this week with the publication of the white paper on the proposed national citizens' watch scheme.

The Prime Minister, with his deep personal commitment to security, opportunity and prosperity, has placed a large part of his own credibility behind the scheme, which aims, in his own words "to involve each and every British citizen in the business of making the country more secure".

The leader of the opposition, Boris Johnson, has criticised the citizens' watch scheme, particularly the so-called Tell-tale's Charter, as "exploiting the young under the guise of opportunity".

The Peer Reportage and Observation Scheme, as the Government prefers to call it, will set up a scale of rewards for schools which encourage an "atmosphere of patriotic information exchange" between pupils and teachers. The Prime Minister has mentioned the possibility of Government grants for children who are able to organise themselves into information-finding teams in order to enhance the security of their schools and streets.

The proposed bill will also modify the old Neighbourhood Watch schemes under a centralised authority, which will issue weapons to selected householders and send out "circuit judges" to impose and carry out non-custodial sentences, such as flogging and branding, on those apprehended by citizens' watch members.

In order to be able to impose custodial sentences, individual watches will have to buy shares in selected prisons up and down the country - a measure the opposition has condemned as stingy and unconstitutional.

The citizens' watch scheme is seen by experts as an important plank of the NuLibLab coalition's campaign to enhance public appreciation of the ideological gap between the "Security, Opportunity, Prosperity" programme and the opposition's "Order, Entrepreneurialism, Prosperity" package unveiled at the last three conferences.


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