Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Stain of Original ASBO

City-wide ASBO - Birmingham 2006

A frequent criticism of orthodox, traditional religions is that many of the requirements of their faith are either bizarre or old-fashioned.

I’m not talking about belief in a bearded man in the sky or an afterlife here, I’m referring to the dress, dietary and other ‘lifestyle’ specifications

Stuff like…

  • The use of the veil in Islam
  • The ban on alcohol in Islam
  • Separation of meat and dairy in Judaism
  • The pork thing in both

These laws were, of course, written for people living a particular lifestyle, in a particular place, at a particular time and probably made a lot of sense when they were written.

And they probably went a long way in preventing Mustafa or Benjamin falling prey to listeria, or a tapeworm, or dying from heat stroke after one beer too many, or developing lustful thoughts about his best mate’s wife whilst his best mate was away on a trade caravan for three months.

As times move on reformers within faiths could argue that what with advances like air conditioning and low alcohol lagers you probably could bend some of the old laws a little whilst still being faithful to the original spirit of your religion.

Others believers would argue that if you start bending one rule where do you stop? And besides, some of the old laws retain a moral as well as a practical element and should be retained.

Whatever, it’s all very complicated.

Anyway, what’s always tickled me about this business is the thought that one day, by some bizarre quirk of circumstances, a new religion could spring up that incorporates contemporary legislation as an integral part of its belief system. What if, for instance, Tony Blair was correct all along and he really does turn out to be the new Messiah? Would that mean in 2,000 years time that the New New Testament would include a book devoted to the Acts of His Disciples? Acts such as Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005.

The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 and The Food Standards Act 1999 are particular personal favourites and guaranteed page-turners.

I only mention all this because someone just forwarded me an email that fits right in with my line of thinking…

I have been thinking about ASBOs. They have been introduced by a rather strange government in strange times, when everyone and everything is being demonised. However this is now back-firing as the 'evil youth' are now taking them as badges of honour, according to the press.

To get around the idea of an ASBO as a label as Badge of Honour, we just need to think in a 'different' way, bear with me:

If everyone was allocated an ASBO at birth along with the birth certificate, lets say born with 'Original ASBO', then we all would be redeemable.

Then we introduce a points system whereby meritorious behaviour would deduct ASBO points, and bad behaviour would re-credit us with ASBO points. This would mean that everyone in society would be somewhere on the ASBO scale, publishable on the internet on ASBO League Tables.

We then need a way for us all to be judged by the overseers of the ASBO scales. This role could be carried out by an agency of the government, probably in some PFI arrangement. To make sure that the system is not open to abuse, behaviour could only be 'judged' if it was verifiable by CCTV coverage.

A system of judging good and bad behaviour could be monitored by focus groups, so that it was a constantly moveable target depending on the social fashions of the day, they could then feedback to the judging panel. This would mean that the social order was always adapting itself to the latest agenda set by the media.

Naturally we would all need to carry a chip and PIN ID card that would contain our ASBO balance on it, that could be scanned when attending any public forum such as classical concerts and football matches, and allocate us seating in the arena accordingly.
All of this would be need to be overseen by a Head of Government who felt that he/she had the ability to make difficult decisions on all of our behalf, based on firm personal convictions.

Is this idea good or what?

Yes, a good idea, but I still think my combined National ID / Citizen-Shopper Loyalty card is better

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