Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Liberals unleash sniffer dogs in alcohol crackdown - huh?

Every night sees one or two shootings in Sydney's western/southern suburbs plus usually a few stabbings. Then a western suburbs Bulldogs footy fan punches poor Thomas Kelly to death at 10pm in Kings Cross - alcohol, venues or drugs not involved as far as we know. Now the NSW government has announced its response which of course is all about Kings Cross (not about western suburbs thugs or footy culture).

While the local NIMBYS will scream, some of it's good. More late-night buses. Tick. More cops on the beat. Tick. (We know that works because when the Riot Squad was deployed in KX during the 'Bikie Wars' a couple of years ago, the violence shrank to nearly zero, a fact not reported in the big media.)
They haven't imposed venue lockouts. Tick. Imagine an army of angry young people locked out of venues at the same time, challenging bouncers. (Google 'Assault by bouncers' to get an idea of the problems that would bring - it goes for pages and pages). They are introducing ID scanners so once someone is barred from a venue, they are barred from all venues. This might work as long as the original barring was fair (see 'Bouncers' above).

Then comes the jewel in the crown: Premier Barry O'Farrell is giving sniffer dogs free rein on trains and in the streets of Kings Cross, no pesky warrants required. Huh? The first year they brought in the dogs the NSW Ombudsman tracked their results - from more than 2,500 searches on trains, not one trafficable amount of any drug was found. Great use of resources, Barry.

Many call to end the sniffer dog regime as it's part of the problem in party precincts: peaceable stoners are kept out or prevented from taking their favourite puff, creating an alcohol monoculture. Duh. Fail.

So how did this get up? Not one advocate was calling for it. No, it's just the automatic reaction of conservative governments pandering to ultra-right maniacs in their ranks like, in this case, David Clarke who just knows that prohibition is the only thing standing between civilisation and armageddon. David, Google  'Assault by bouncers' again and tell me what the actual problem is?

This idiocy ranks with actions of the Dutch Conservatives who got elected on an immigration ticket and immediately turned against the famous cannabis coffee shops, trying to ruin a thriving sector of the economy during the biggest European recession since the war. Never mind that Holland has one of the lowest cannabis usage rates in the world. (Hang on, I thought liberalising the pot laws was supposed to produce streets full of incoherent stoners? Oh no, that's right - it's just conservative dogma, as is increasing police powers).