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Home > Culture and Society

ASBOS: The antidote

17 June 2005

The Asbo scheme was extended last week to include 'mini-Asbos', inevitably rousing both opponents and supporters. On Saturday the former general secretary of civil rights group Liberty, Andrew Puddephatt, accused opponents of the scheme of being sillybuggers, and reminded them that the victims of anti-social behaviour have rights too. Then the current Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti complained of the 'tough talk and arbitrary powers which make insufficient distinction between criminality, irritation and social exclusion', further opining that 'the naming and shaming of children is more akin to the medieval stocks than a 21st-century law and order strategy. We are in danger of transforming Britain into Asboland.'

How best then to counteract the surge in anti-social behaviour, smooth the ruffled feathers of libertarians and make sure that everybody's happy?


1) Esbos - Exemplary Social Behaviour Orders - to be introduced. If you are spotted placing litter in a bin, helping a young mother get her pram down the stairs, conversing vivaciously and with consummate wit on current events, or drinking tea with your little finger raised, you will be served with an Esbo and made to stay indoors in case you get beaten up for being a poof.

2) Trendy mauve Esbo wristbands to be produced, creating a huge demand in schools for the must-have accessories. Children found buying the wristbands in bulk and selling them on for a profit to be served with Delbos (Derek Trotter
Behaviour Orders).

3) 'Asboland' theme park to be built in Greenwich, in an attempt to rehabilitate persistent offenders by allowing them to let off steam. Attractions to include Sierra Cosworth Bonnet-Bounce, Pensioner Happy Slap and Fun Incredibly Noisy All-Night Party House.

4) In the interests of helping those with Asbos feel less vilified, special Neasbos (Not Especially Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) to be rolled out. Open-mouthed gum-chewers, pigeon-feeders, queue-jumpers and people who swear out loud when stung by wasps to be served with the new orders.

5) ITV to produce Asbo Island. Paul Danan hailed as 'cheeky' new role model for teenage tearaways.

Comment on this article: letters@thefridaything.co.uk

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