£400 fine for (not) dropping a cigarette butt

The Manifesto Club was on Radio Wales with the lady who was given a £400 fine for allegedly dropping a cigarette butt – although she claims that she put it out with her foot, then put it in her pocket. What was striking was the lack of public support for her – given that she seemed pretty sincere, and if indeed she was innocent she had had a pretty harsh time of it. Most callers seemed to think that it was good that she was being fined, and perhaps that she should be fined more. It shows the need for more public…

On-the-spot-fines for swearing

Australia is one of the few countries in the world – along with the UK – that has developed a system of on-the-spot fines for ‘anti-social behaviour’ in recent years. And like the UK – the penalties have developed in arbitrary and petty directions, such as penalising people for swearing. The Australian district of Victoria brought through on the spot fines for swearing – and gave out nearly 800 fines in 2009-10. Meanwhile, the UK town of Barnsley announced a similar crackdown on ‘effing’ and ‘jeffing’. Now Australians are out in protest, holding a ‘swear-in’ to point out the absurdity of the…