Cretins, cretins

New powers will be unveiled for the Child Maintenance and Enforcement Agency, allowing it to take passports and driving licences directly from parents who refuse to pay money to their children, without having to go through the courts first.

Two basic arguments against this proposal. The first is that it is insane. Given the accuracy of this agency\’s forerunner and it\’s computer systems, who is going to believe that they are going to be taking the right passports?

The second is that it is actively evil. One of the bits and pieces that goes to make up a free society is that you are able to up and fuck off….as long as you are not constrained by a court order. An order issued after a hearing in such a court, of course. In fact, I\’m pretty sure that there\’s something in one or other of those international human rights treaties that we\’re so fond of signing, that no one not under such a court order should be prevented from leaving the country.

Certainly, we used to argue that one of the great evils of the Soviet (and their satellites) system was that they wouldn\’t allow people to leave freely. That who could and who could not was based upon the unappealable permission or not of a bureaucrat.

Having actually won the Cold War why are we imposing the worst parts of that evil system upon ourselves?

7 comments on “Cretins, cretins

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Soviet style Britain « Curly’s Corner Shop, the blog!

  2. Hmm. I’m not sure this is a good idea, however the fact that it already operates in such notorious Communist hell-holes as the US, Australia, Canada and Norway suggests that it’s probably legal…

  3. I bet Canada, the US, etc. don’t take passports away without a court case. Something in the Constitution about the right to a fair hearing.

    Tony “Frog March” Blair was very keen on summary justice when he was the one at the top of the pyramid. Expect the Labour Party to rediscover the importance of independent courts when they are in opposition.

  4. john b

    No, not here in the U.S.

    Non-payment of child support usually results in garnishment of wages (if there are any) and that requires a court order.

    Do NOT, however, piss off the Internal Revenue Service. They can make you disappear.

    🙂

  5. john b-

    In order for the State Dept to deny a new passport (and note it does not cover the recovery of issued and valid passports) the following must happen-

    “Under the program, non-custodial parents certified by a state as having arrearages exceeding $2,500 are submitted by the Federal Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) to the Department of State (DoS), which denies them U.S. passports upon application or the use of a passport service.”

    Thus there is an issued and ignored court order in place (at the state level) and State Dept is reacting to that order. They are not acting unilaterally or proactively.

    The US approach is not the same at all.

  6. There’s a court order *to pay maintenance in the first place*, as there would be under the proposed UK system. There’s no /other/ court order; as in the UK, it’s all done administratively.

    And yup, voiding an issued passport is different from refusing to issue new/replacement passports, but in degree rather than in principle.

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