Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Gotta love a ban - a comment about Richard Bacon


Driving back from Keighley this afternoon I switched on the radio to hear the slightly whining tones of Richard Bacon. The topic for discussion was the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill, you know the one that gives the police and local councils the power to ban being annoying.

Bacon was interviewing a woman from the Manifesto Club who thought the Bill a pretty rum do since it gave carte blanche to the moving on of buskers, street preachers and the assorted eccentrics (she cited a couple from the glory days of Oxford Street before Westminster Council got all fussbuckety). The woman was incredibly calm in the face of Bacon's ever more shrill example of a hypothetical busker who played too loudly and too badly.

Once he's seen this woman off, Bacon got onto his real mission - to conduct a snide, judging and unpleasant giggle-fest about other people's behaviour. Listeners were urged to text in the annoying behaviours they wanted banned while Bacon sneered and guffawed. What should have been a serious examination about an issue that many people are very concerned about descended into the sort of banter we'd expect at the bar three pints in rather than on a BBC news magazine programme.

Maybe it's just me but Bacon seemed overjoyed at the bans - "don't know how you'd do it but it has my support" he'd say. Now I know that the defence will be that this was all light-hearted but yet again it reinforces the idea that it's OK to stop other people doing something because we don't like it.


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