Declaring War on Council Crackdowns

24 Aug

Sir Robin Wales cracks down on bad stuff (in his dreams)

Last week Newham Council announced a new ‘crackdown’ on slum landlords; today it announced a ‘war’ on guns and knives.

It seems barely a week goes by without some dramatic new initiative designed to tackle the latest menace, usually in the form of a ‘crackdown’ on whatever it is. This generates a few headlines in the local press before disappearing off the radar, to be replaced by the latest bee in the mayor’s bonnet.

I did a Google search on Newham and Crackdown, and it returned more than 85,000 results!

So, here are a few of the things Newham Council has ‘cracked down on’ in the past few years – and I didn’t get past page 3 of the Google results to compile it:

  • Crime and anti-social behaviour in Plaistow
  • Squatting
  • Tenancy Fraud
  • Illegal Cars
  • Drugs
  • Garden Waste
  • Blue Badge Fraud
  • Truancy
  • Timeshare sales
  • Boy racers
  • Dangerous dogs
  • Landlords flouting safety regulations
  • Street gambling
  • Illegal property conversions
  • Unlicensed street trading
  • Illegal skips
  • Anti-social behaviour in Stratford
  • Crime and Anti Social Behaviour in Romford Road
  • Sale of crossbows

The thing is that with the exception of crossbows – an issue that lives solely in Sir Robin’s imagination – these are all important things that need to be dealt with. But by labelling every initiative a ‘crackdown’ you remove all meaning from the word. And you end up taking the same approach to everything – as the saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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