Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Neighbours From Hell, Frank Field, and the IWCA

Frank Field, one of the best Labour MPs, the man who Blair told to 'think the unthinkable' on the welfare state then sacked him for doing just that, has a new book 'Neighbours From Hell', describing the conditions that many people are forced to live in on our estates. The only review I've found is a small and flippant one by Fabian Paul Richards, but if this Sunday People article is any guide he's not short of ideas.

One of the greatest failings of the left, and a factor in peoples disengagement from politics, is the attitude which cares more for the offender than the victim. This is an especially grave failure in view of the fact that the poor, elderly and vulnerable are the main victims of crime. This is the theme tirelessly pursued by the good doctor Dalrymple.

So it is with pleasure that I can report on a small left group called the Independent Working Class Association or IWCA - a far-left group that actually seems to think that crime and fear of crime is an objective reality, with an existence outside a Daily Mail columnists mind.

They appear to have started as a quasi-anarchist grouping in London, but have branches in places like Harold Hill, Essex, and the notorious Blackbird Leys estate in Oxford. I haven't studied their policies in great (or any) detail yet, though headlines like 'Working Class Rule For Working Class Areas" don't exactly fill me with confidence - would they also support "Middle-Class Rule In Middle-Class Areas" ?

But you have to warm to an organisation which campaigns to get crack dealers evicted, and is then criticised by the police for doing so - whose side are they on ?

"Responding to the IWCA public meeting on the drugs issue, Inspector Eugene Gratwohl of Oxford police issued a warning to Blackbird Leys residents, telling them they could be ‘overstepping the mark’.

Speaking in the Oxford Mail (‘Residents Threaten Action on Dealers’, 1 July), Inspector Gratwohl said that residents who tried to gather their own evidence or demonstrated outside the homes of drug dealers risked ‘contravening the human rights of those implicated.’"

The IWCA responded to the police with classic British understatement :

"The police statement on the issue of ‘human rights’ for crack and heroin dealers will do nothing to reassure concerned residents that police priorities are in order"

Well, well, well. The Left is not completely dead after all.