Britain Remodels Justice System After China, North Korea, Then Adds Some

Britain, by way of Prime Minister David Cameron, has made some very unusual additions to its justice system this week. Essentially, the changes are modeled after principles from China and North Korea, but some inventions of Britain’s own are also thrown into the mix.

In the aftermath of the UK riots, we have seen punishments handed out that would make any Westerner balk in horror, like six months of jail time for stealing four euros worth of bottles of water. That’s approaching medieval.

But at least, those verdicts followed basic principles of justice: the accused were brought before a judge and were presumed innocent until guilty. (At least on the surface; troubling report of summary judgments have slipped out of the country.)

However, the basic principles of justice dating back to the Enlightenment are now being thrown out the window. First of all, Cameron is talking of re-instituting official censorship of communications. This is a principle dominant in China, that was abhorred for the first part of the last decade, then slowly adopted in silent across the West for dubious reasons.

Free flow of information can be used for good. But it can also be used for ill.

— David Cameron

This type of thinking is the very opposite to freedom of speech. What Cameron is saying is that freedom of expression is only good when the government finds the expressed opinions acceptable. But one of the primary purposes of freedom of speech is to critizice and bring down a malfunctioning or corrupt government; would you see them suppressing those opinions?

The primary function of freedom of speech is the ability to say things that people in charge don’t like.

As Cory Doctorow noted on BoingBoing, the Chinese welcomed the message from Britain with open arms and praised Cameron for his “rethink”. The Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs (MFA) tweeted,

Well, I fear David Cameron got it somewhat wrong on netfreedom. Applause from Beijing is hardly flattering.

— Carl Bildt, MFA-SE

But it gets a lot more interesting in Britain’s redesign of the justice system, with cherrypicks from North Korea.

As additional punishment for the riots, Prime Minster Cameron has decided to publicly supported eviction of those families who had a member taking part in the UK riots, if they are currently in public housing. Specifically, Cameron supported a Conservative-run council in south London which started eviction proceedings. This form of justice system — punishing a whole family equally for not preventing a family member from breaking the law — is only present in one other country on the planet: North Korea. Britain is now adopting North Korea-style principles.

I can’t help wondering if that fact was reason for second thoughts.

Also, it turns out that presumption of innocence is gone, at least when it comes to punishing the whole family. Just this Friday morning, the first eviction notice was served to a family who had a son who was accused but not convicted of taking part in the riots — which Cameron supported. This, too, is a first in centuries: punishment on accusation instead of on conviction.

I’ve been saying for years that things are going the wrong way fast, but I would never in my worst nightmares think that things would go this bad this fast. From this day and for decades, the UK doesn’t have a shred of high moral ground to criticize any country on the planet for human rights violations, and it will stand as a shining excuse to any despot on the planet who wants to dish out their form of justice to families on accusation of inciting revolts against the government.

Apparently, there is no hope for the current breed of politicians at all. We need activism, and lots of it, and we also need their replacement.

(Swedish MFA Carl Bildt should be very careful in gloating over China’s applause of Cameron, by the way. Cameron’s key phrases have been duplicated many times by Carl Bildt, like in this op-ed piece, about how there are “good flows” and “bad flows” on the Net, and how the government has a “responsibility” to quench the bad, not thinking it is any more dramatic than enforcing traffic laws. Despite many refutals, he remains in denial land on this one. Here’s a hint to one of the key differences, Bildt: Free speech is a right. Driving license is a privilege.)

UPDATED: Cameron did not decide to evict, but publicly supported a council that did. Deletions in strikeout, clarifications and new text in underline. Thanks to Kris Kotarski, Calgary Herald.

Rick Falkvinge

Rick is the founder of the first Pirate Party and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. He lives on Alexanderplatz in Berlin, Germany, roasts his own coffee, and as of right now (2019-2020) is taking a little break.


  1. Putr

    Amazing. It’s incredible how they are choosing the worst path every time.

    PS: You’re wrong on only one point: “This, too, is a first in centuries: punishment on accusation instead of on conviction.” –> 3 strikes laws work on the same principle. You’re guilty on accusation with no due process and no *real* way of appeal.

    This precedent is problematic: Up to now the burden of proof was on the side of the accuser, so the accused had the advantage and as such was leveled off if the accuser was more powerfull or richer. Now if the burden of proof is moved to the accused any one unable to defent him/her selfe will be found guilty and as such give the rich and the powerfull even more power over the poor.

    I personaly find this more trubeling than attempts at censurship.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      While I agree you’re right in practice about three strikes, there is at least in theory a possibility to defend yourself.

      But you’re right — it is totally theoretical and you’re assumed guilty until proven innocent. However, not even being given a theoretical chance to defend yourself in a mock trial before the eviction notice arrives does take it one step further.

      Overall, I am very troubled.

  2. Putte

    It is also deeply disturbing that Cameron in his speeches more or less derided the principle of “human rights”. He explicitly dismissed “human rights” as a factor to consider in the riot control.

  3. Lennart Lindgård

    England has made a huge leap towards totalitarian goverment now. I would say they are approaching 11:30 on Tytlers cycle. See (unfortunately in Swedish).

  4. Jan B. Andersen

    6 months for stealing some water too harsh? Depends entirely on the circumstances.

    On the lighter side, on could say that a 23 old student should know better. This is not some underage confused student with raging hormones unable to control himself. Herself? Doesn’t matter.

    Did he go out intent on only stealing water? Or had he planned on a bigger loot? Should a failed bankrobber been given a lenier sentence than a successful one?

    Did he commit his crime as an individual, or in collusion with others? Did he coldly assume that with all the other rioting and looting going on, he could go on undetected? Going back to the bankrobbers, should their get-away driver receive a lenier sentence than the robbers that actually entered the bank? Should he merely receive a speeding ticket, because that was what he actually did (feel free to add a fine for driving through a red light)?

    No, this guy worked, intentionally or not, under the cover of a general mayhem where property was destroyed and a few people were killed. He has, intentionally or not, caused fear in many people about what will happen next time. Maybe I am giving him too much credit in assuming that as a student he must be of more than average intelligence, in which case 6 months should give him enough time to figure out that he (and others) were seriously mistaken in what constitutes proper behaviour, poor or rich.

    1. morr

      You can only be punished for crimes you make… …and crimes someone can proove you’ve made. It doesn’t matter if someone _believes_ you had planned something else. And the punishment should be suited for the crime you’re convicted of.

      1. Neil

        You can indeed be punished for crimes that you *provably* planned or tried to commit, but failed to execute. Otherwise the crime of “attempted murder” could not exist.

        1. Rick Falkvinge

          This is true — but in those cases, planning the principal crime is a crime in itself.

          And like any crime, you must be proven guilty of it beyond reasonable doubt.

          1. Elmo

            No, it is not. Attempted murder means that you tried to kill someone without state-sanction, not that you intended to do it.

  5. Jan B. Andersen

    About the eviction notice. Yes, collective punishment is wrong. But which is better/worse: Too punish people who enters into a written agreement and subsequently breaks it with threat of eviction; Or to make lawful abiding people wait an extra 8 (or any other random number) months before they can move into a better housing?

    Also, the councils eviction notice could be seen as a service to the mother. Here is (parts of) what the Wantsworth council had to say:


    The notice is the first stage in the legal process of eviction. The notice gives warning that the council will be seeking possession of the property and that an application will be made to the courts seeking the tenant’s eviction. The final decision will rest with a judge sitting at the county court.

    The council is able to commence eviction proceedings against this tenant for breaching their tenancy agreement. Under the terms of the agreement, which applies to all the council’s rented accommodation, all tenants, their household members and visitors are forbidden from a range of criminal and anti-social activities. Breaches of the agreement render them liable to eviction.

    End quote.

    I assume you have all read about the recent court appearances where teenagers are presented without their parent(s) showing up? Well, this parent now has an excellent opportunity and reason to not only show up in court, but also to get the best available and affordable defense for her son(?). Because if convicted, she and he is forced to move to some other place (assuming that a judge will upheld the original contract).

    If anything, this premature notice gives the parent extra time to act. How can that be a bad thing?

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      If anything, this premature notice gives the parent extra time to act. How can that be a bad thing?

      I read this as extreme newspeak. It is not a premature notice; it is a premature start of the evíction process.

      You’re wording it like it is a heads-up. It’s not. Like you say at the start of your post, it is the first stage in an already-commenced process, that has chosen to not wait for a conviction.

      Mock trials are bad, but when punishments don’t even wait for the outcome of mock trials, then we’re in serious trouble.

    2. Rick Falkvinge

      How can that be bad?

      Actually, let my just try to list all the things that are totally egregious about this.

      First, there is a charge brought against a person. Since we have presumption of innocence — this “innocent until proven guilty” thing — nobody outside of the justice system should even be aware that this charge exists.

      Second, we have a judicial branch of government whose job it is to punish crimes according to a very strict rulebook laid down by Parliament. Extrajudicial punishments, for example as in “by public landlords”, are the government’s version of mob rule and riots from their side in the system.

      Third, punishments against an entire family instead of the one possibly convicted of a crime some time in the future is a practice that heretonow only existed in North Korea. With two important exceptions: in North Korea, the family is not punished until the person is actually declared guilty, and it is done within the justice system, not unaccountably outside of it.

      Fourth, the eviction process was commenced with the eviction notice before a man had been declared guilty of a crime. If anything, it should have been a letter saying “We have become aware of charges filed; on conviction, we will seek an eviction and send an eviction notice”. But even that violates the first, second and third points, which are inviolable in countries where process of law is upheld.

      The UK has lost every shred of credibility in upholding basic due process of law and human rights.

    3. Putte

      In addition, the principle of proportionality would not allow losing your home as a punishment for crimes that are unrelated to your living environment (e.g. assaulting other tenants, destroying the landlords property, non payment of rent, running large scale drug-dealing in the apartment, etc.) .

  6. Putte

    What all this shows is the incredible importance of an independent judiciary.
    Judges and courts should be independent and removed one step from the politicians. If the politicians want hard sentences they have to enact laws for that, not give marching orders to judges. Another lesson is the destructive effects of populism, where policy is swayed by the logic of the tabloids and moral panics.

    In particular. Moral panics are nothing but a destructive force.

  7. rikhard

    Mr Cameron is an hypocrite, and he’s not the only one.

    Let me make reference to this excellent article that shows exactly what i mean.

    The moral decay of our society is as bad at the top as the bottom

  8. Jacob Hallén

    Getting 6 months in jail for being part of a riot is not too harsh in my books. There evidently was an incident (the theft of a water bottle) that separated the person from the innocent bystanders.

    For the other parts, I agree. The measures are worthy of a totalitarian state and not a nation that claims to be an open society.

    1. morr

      In my book that depends on if UK has laws that say “if you steal a £2 object during a riot your punishment will be 100 times worse than under “normal” sircumstanses”. Or if there is other sircumstanses that I don’t know of. If he’s not accused of anything other than stealing a water bottle, then it’s sick.

  9. Peter Bright

    The council tenants are in breach of contract. One of the conditions for being housed in subsidized council-owned property is that everyone in the property refrains from criminal and anti-social behaviour; a statement to that effect is explicitly signed by the renter, and it’s binding on everyone residing at that address.

    If you agree to the terms–and they’re not unreasonable–then you don’t get to complain when those terms are enforced.

    1. Neil

      Peter: when and where was it proven that they were in breach of contract?

      1. Peter Bright

        In the magistrate’s court, I would imagine, though if the magistrate believed that a more serious penalty was needed then it’ll have been passed on to the criminal courts.

        I mean, OK, it’s possible that the council will try to evict someone found not guilty. I’m not sure why they’d bother–the county court won’t evict for breach of contract if there’s no breach, after all.

        1. Scary Devil Monastery

          “In the magistrate’s court…”

          The entire problem is because the family is being served an eviction without the family member being tried at all. He stands as accused, not convicted.

          That, and i hope you do realize that such terms as you describe would mean that you yourself could be tossed into the streets if any member of your household (over whose actions you de facto have no real control what so ever) were to commit a crime.

          Should your spouse be caught speeding or under influence due to a moment’s loss of judgement he or she would no doubt face the law for his/her actions. Do you think it proper, in any sense of the word, if your entire family were to be made homeless as a result?

          You can not assign third-party culpability for people who have had no real ability to influence the actions of the individual in violation of the law!

          If you do, you have just overturned certain basic tenets of law hitherto considered inviolable. If a teenager commits a crime and is fined the main reason the parent will usually cover the fine is because the parent carries fiscal responsibility. In the case described here, the entire family will be made homeless despite being completely powerless to prevent the initial violation. How is that “fair”?

          1. Mumfi.

            Actually, I don’t know about common law, in Sweden thought the fiscal responsibility does not extend to paying your offspring’s fines. The fiscal has to wait till said offspring reaches 18 years of age, and then try to reclaim the owed sum. At that time he could of course appropriate valuables from the household that the other habitants could not prove to own. If I were a parent such that I do not pay my offspring’s debts, I would make sure to put them outside and change the locks the same day they reach 18.
            Just saying…

          2. Peter Bright

            They can’t secure an eviction without a conviction. The “problem” as you describe it is made up. It is a fiction.

            The council cannot unilaterally decide to evict someone. The best it can do is to serve notice and take the tenant to court. If the tenant is in breach of his tenancy agreement then the court may well decide to evict him. But if he _isn’t_ then it _won’t_. It can’t; you can’t evict people without reason.

            In other words, if he has merely been “accused” and not found guilty then the family has nothing to fear.

            Yes, if I lived in council-owned housing I could be evicted if other people living under the same roof were antisocial criminals. I, as the tenant, would have to work to prevent this by raising my children to not be anti-social criminals.

            I don’t think that’s a great hardship.

            The idea that a parent has “no real ability” to influence the actions of their children is utterly absurd. They knew the rules. If they didn’t like them, they shouldn’t have agreed to them.

          3. Mumfi.

            @Peter Bright,
            Is there a process to disown your children? If society makes you countable for another person they must also give you tools to coerce that person. Unless you can sell your unwanted children in to servitude, or have them taken away by authorities, then you should not make parents accountable.

          4. Peter Bright

            No, unless the parents can persuade someone else to either adopt or marry the child, they can’t terminate their legal obligation.

            If you don’t want to be on the hook for 18 years, don’t have children.

          5. Mumfi.

            Or, and I know this may be a stretch of the imagination, don’t make anyone accountable for anyone else! See? If a child commits crimes the child is punished, or actually if he is minor he is helped by the authorities. If the child acquires a debt the child pays the debt when he is 18. Simple as that. This is how it works here and it works fine.

          6. Scary Devil Monastery

            @Peter Bright

            “The idea that a parent has “no real ability” to influence the actions of their children is utterly absurd. They knew the rules. If they didn’t like them, they shouldn’t have agreed to them.”

            I can point, at the top of my hat, to a few hundred cases each year where morally upstanding parents trying to do their best have been forced to pick their teen up at the local police station or worse,

            This despite their best efforts. If your teenage child decides to hit someone you can’t be there to stop them. If they decide to do drugs, you can’t be there to stop them. If they decide to sexually assault someone, odds are you can’t be there to stop them. It’s that simple.

            Your options are then to have children and accept that you, your spouse and your other children may become homeless despite having done everything right and nothing wrong. I doubt you really mean that.

            And if you do then I hate to break it to you that neither communism or fascism are fashionable anymore. I might as well state that you, being, say, british, should be caned because an englishman decided to violate the anti-liquor laws of Yemen last year. You have as much ability to prevent that as you have, as a parent, in preventing most cases where your child may have done wrong.

  10. Rick Falkvinge

    It boggles my mind how people can defend extrajudicial, collective punishment.

    I live in public housing in Sweden. There is a clause saying you may lose the contract if you disturb the other tenants.

    It may not, however, be invoked by the Prime Minister as retaliation for criminal activity somewhere completely different than where I live.

    That’s extrajudicial punishment. And it’s collective punishment.

    It’s the politicians applying force outside of the law, just like the rioters did, showing they’re no better themselves in any respect.

    1. Peter Bright

      Erm, this isn’t being invoked by the Prime Minister. It’s being invoked by the councils.

      The Prime Minister might want to take credit–he _is_ a politician, after all. But he’s not the one giving notice of eviction or taking people to court. I think you’re getting caught up in the rhetoric and not looking closely enough at the actual facts.

  11. Viktualiebrodern

    #Jan B. Andersen

    Youths out of order start their career at home. I believe the rule to be that their siblings and parents are more often than not actual victims.

    What makes you (and Cameron) so sure that these cases are the rare exceptions to this rule, and that the family members now facing eviction are *not* victims themselves?

    Not only are persons never proven guilty now punished, but logic says they are even previous victims of the offender.

  12. X

    You mean “cherrypicks” instead of “cheerypicks”.

    1. Rick Falkvinge

      Thanks, fixed.

  13. Vega P

    Government should not be in the business of housing people in any case. Then this issue wouldn’t arise.

  14. Jens Best

    Maybe North-Korea is an appropriate contemporary comparison.
    But to put it straight: Camerons family punishment is an offspring of pure faschism.
    So next time i am visiting the UK i will make sure to make the right greeting when leaving the plane:


  15. Zacqary Adam Green

    Jesus fucking deep-fried Christ on a stick at the county fair, this is bad.

    The frightening part is that the defense of freedom may land on the public’s deaf ears. The media’s already succeeded at framing these riots as mindless, meaningless terrorism by crazy kids. This entire past decade is a great precedent for the notion that people — in supposedly freedom-loving countries — will gladly sit back and watch their rights taken away when the boogeyman of things exploding is hollered about by their leaders.

    This is, of course, why activism is needed, but it’s not as if there hasn’t been activism already. It’s very hard to get people angry about this descent into fascism, especially if it hasn’t yet begun to cause problems in their daily lives. “I’m not doing anything wrong, so I have nothing to hide” is a sentiment shared even on some activist forums I’ve seen — “yes, we’re protesting against the government, but it’s legal, so why should I bother encrypting my emails?”

    There’s nothing I love more than keeping a positive attitude and pressing on in the face of the most dire circumstances. I’m just starting to get scared that we might not have enough time left.

  16. Peter Andersson

    The Olympics in Beijing 2008 may in retrospect turn out to have been held in a more democratic country than that in London 2012….

    It’ll be interesting to see if they’ll allow the burning torch to be carried/ran around the country during the months leading up to the event, the “freedom’s flame” connotations doesn’t sit very well with the government right now I guess…

  17. Rick Falkvinge

    Peter Bright:

    Let me rephrase. It does not matter who makes the decision to punish outside of the justice system. Maybe it was not the prime minister who made the decision, but another public official. That is beside the point.

    If somebody commits a crime, then in a country which respects due process of law, law enforcement deals with that, and exactly no other body. Parliament has laid down a very strict rulebook detailing what action constitutes a crime, and how those actions should be punished.

    If somebody else than law enforcement decides to punish a person for a committed, perceived, or imagined crime, that is extrajudicial punishment. This does not exist in a country which respects rule of law. There are no contracts which stipulate additional punishment on convictions on crime in countries which respect process of law, and particularly so, there are never any measures taken from servants of the public. At least four things here are egregious: that a public official other than law enforcement is handing out a punishment, that the punishment is outside of Parliament’s list of punishments for crimes, that the punishment is collective, and that it is on accusation.

    Public officials outside of law enforcement should not even have access to information about who has been convicted of crimes, much less charged. That’s what it is like in countries that do respect the rule of law.

    1. Peter Bright

      No, Rick, if someone breaches a contract you take them to court. The police aren’t generally involved in civil actions. The tenant isn’t being accused of a crime (though their child apparently is). They’re being accused of (civil) breach of contract. The crime may have caused the breach of contract, but they’re separate and distinct.

      Court proceedings are, and should be, a matter of public record. Who gets charged and convicted should be in the public domain, with few exceptions.

      1. Mumfi.

        I do think the objection here is that having contracts such as these by state run housing projects is not really proper. Here in Sweden I doubt you could uphold such contract at all, it would simply be unlawful. You can’t stipulate anything in a contract, it must be reasonable stipulations, otherwise a court could cancel the unfair terms. In this case the parties are a bit unequal in terms. Poor family against company owned by the state. And, in the great scheme of things, how is this making things better? Offering the family counselling would be the proper approach.

        Regardless. This is harassment. Using any and all means to punish is never ok. Punishment should result from due process and by written law. Would it be ok to also investigate these families further and punish them by all these new laws that all citizens are breaking all the time? I’m sure they have downloaded something sometime in their lives, maybe one of them have a tattoo of some copyrighted design they have not paid a license to display in public.. Maybe they have some indecent living arrangements, with children of different gender sleeping in the same room. Unlicensed dogs? Unsanitary handling of food in the kitchen? Wrong shape of scull or to big noses?
        This is exactly why it is important to only have laws that are upheld uniformly ad universally. Selective law enforcement is not ok. This is also why the politicians should not be able to interfere in specific cases. Politicians should rule by implementing universal laws, and that is it. If they have housing and want to evict someone, there should be a law that states the circumstances this could be done under and it should not differ depending on who are the contract signers. If one of the rules is criminality, fine, then there should be procedures to see that this is universally uphold; because rule of law requires predictability. And in any circumstance, the criminality clause should only apply to the contract holder, because no one can sign a contract binding a third party. Have a clause to not house people convicted of crimes, if you like. Then the family should not be evicted until someone is convicted and the contract holder still choose to house this person.

        Exactly who would benefit from having all the convicted criminals living as homeless in the cities, I don’t understand. But hey, it’s your country; If you like to eschew homeless hobos on your way to work, each to his own.

        1. Sten

          “Here in Sweden I doubt you could uphold such contract at all, it would simply be unlawful. ”
          Nope, they do have these kind of contracts in Sweden and they do act on the them as well and it appears to be lawful.

          1. Rick Falkvinge

            There is an important key difference. As a tenant, you are not allowed to disturb other tenants. This is standard in all contracts as far as I know.

            This has nothing to do with whether your actions are found criminal in a court of law. That’s the key difference. Your landlord has absolutely nothing to do with whether you abide by the law or not, only whether you fulfill your obligation as a tenant: pay the rent on time and don’t disturb other tenants.

          2. Mumfi.

            It is not by contract but by law (JB 12§25, JB 12§42.6).
            And another difference is that apart from the process being strictly regulated, one of the stipulation is that the case is dismissed immediately if the disturbance stops after being warned. The disturbance must be localized to the actual site. The disturbance must be such that the other tenants could not reasonably be expected to endure it. And there is a requirement to inform the authorities and social security before evicting.

          3. Sten

            They can loose the right to the tenancy due to what the Swedish landlord calls “bristande tillsyn av barn” translated as “inadequate supervision of children”.
            This is very similar to the reasoning in England and hence Sweden is no better than England.

          4. Mumfi.

            Your last comment is a double and I answer your inept comparison of a superficial likeness of cases bellow.

  18. John Sebastian

    ” This form of justice system — punishing a whole family equally for not preventing a family member from breaking the law — is only present in one other country on the planet: North Korea.” Actually, Israel also punishes a whole family equally by demolishing their homes with a Caterpillar bulldozer…

  19. John Doe

    Just wanted to add that collective punishment is also practicized in Israel.
    Destroying homes and deporting to Gaza strip.

  20. Zebs

    Oh wow…
    I’m a Swedish citizen and have not been in England enough in my life to fully understand the history and culture, but I can still see where this could go FATALLY wrong.
    Sure, the ones who have committed crimes should be punished, but to a degree that will not do further harm… Throwing whole families out on the street for ONE family member’s mistakes? For God’s sake, that will mean several more homeless people, and will that do any good? No, that could lead to even more, HUGE problems. What are all these homeless people gonna do when they have nothing? And aren’t MORE people gonna get angry and cause problems?
    WIll the government be completely overthrown and England be trashed forever?

    Come on! You politicians in UK, WHAT THE HELL are you on about?!
    I am NOT pro the riots, I think it’s childish and stupid, especially burning families buildings and stealing from people who haven’t even done ANY harm…
    But I am also not pro treating the country’s citizens like complete and utter scum without human right!

    I had thoughts on moving to UK, but I am so happy I still live in Sweden now… SHAME!
    The people of UK are strong standing up for their rights, and politicians should LISTEN to their citizens! The citizens are the goddamn RULERS of the country, the ones who holds it up! Think about it!

    1. Sten

      Sweden do have the same kind of contracts and the state owned companies do act on them as well.

      1. Mumfi.

        Not the same thing.
        The disturbance is localized to the rented property and if it stops so does the eviction process. Also it is not a question of noisy children: Disturbances must be beyond what could reasonably be expected, says so right there in the written law. And as soon as notice is given to the tenant it must, again by law, also be given to the social security authorities so proper action to house the person can be taken.

        1. Sten

          They can loose the right to the tenancy due to what the Swedish landlord calls “bristande tillsyn av barn” translated as “inadequate supervision of children”.
          This is very similar to the reasoning in England and hence Sweden is no better than England .

          1. Mumfi.

            Yes, if the children are creating a disturbance IN THE BUILDING, not down town or in school. Actually having your children convicted of rioting and looting would effectively prevent any kind on eviction as the fact that they will be going to jail effectively removes the disturbance.

            Harm done to the landlord is handled by the landlord, harm done to the state is handled by the state. The rented housing law is there to stipulate a fair proceeding and is the same for everyone. It applies equally to the drunken upper class madam singing loudly in the posh upper town apartment as it does to rowdy children in the hosing project. These rules are there to protect the landlord from bad tenants, and tenants from bad landlords. They are not used to further punish when politicians decide the law is not enough. So, yes, Sweden _is_ better than England, in so many ways.

          2. Sten

            Mumfi, you seem to no be able to read/process the information available to you.

            I doubt the cars, the children through stones at, are parked “IN THE BUILDING”

            The text states “tidigare i vår hotades en familj av uppsägning på grund av att sonen pekats ut som en av de drivande bakom stenkastning mot flera bilar, ”
            “earlier this spring a family was threatened of eviction on the grounds that the son was identified as one of the driving forces behind the throwing stones at several cars”.

          3. Sten

            Sorry, threw not “through”. English is a bitch for a dyslectic.

          4. Mumfi.

            I would not accuse anyone of not reading the available references when you have clearly ignored the relevant paragraphs of the Swedish law I have referenced…

            In JB chapter 12:
            Regarding how an apartment may be used:
            25 § När hyresgästen använder lägenheten skall han se till att de som bor i omgivningen inte utsätts för störningar som i sådan grad kan vara skadliga för hälsan eller annars försämra deras bostadsmiljö att de inte skäligen bör tålas (störningar i boendet). Hyresgästen skall vid sin användning av lägenheten också i övrigt iaktta allt som fordras för att bevara sundhet, ordning och gott skick inom fastigheten. Hyresgästen skall hålla noggrann tillsyn över att detta också iakttas av dem för vilka han svarar enligt 24 § första stycket.

            And regarding when an eviction is possible:
            42 §
            6. om lägenheten på annat sätt vanvårdas eller hyresgästen eller annan, till vilken hyresrätten överlåtits eller lägenheten upplåtits, åsidosätter något av vad som skall iakttas enligt 25 § vid användning av lägenheten eller inte håller den tillsyn som krävs enligt nämnda paragraf och rättelse inte utan dröjsmål sker efter tillsägelse,

            So, if the children where disturbing their immediate neighbors, and they do not stop after being told to. Then they are evicted. The landlord could of course threaten with eviction without due cause, it will however not hold in court. Because the law says so. The disturbance must be directed at “de som bor i omgivningen” i.e. ”those living in the surroundings”, in order to be applicable as grounds for eviction. And the eviction notice is only valid if the disturbance does not immediately stop. So if given notice for rioting in the nearby streets where you live, in Sweden, the situation is easily remedied by not rioting any more. A natural consequence of going to jail, as I said.

            Landlord: Stop rioting or your ass is out of here!
            You: k.
            Matter resolved.

            Now. If it is a serious matter, like murdering another tenant, then yes, you are out of there. No questions asked. That´s the second part of paragraph 25 missing in the above snippet. If you murder someone a couple of streets away then you could probably keep you apartment. If children are evicted for throwing stones at cars then they have done other similar things that they have previously been warned for. So this is probably a case of not stopping the disturbance when warned. And they must have thrown their stones at parked cars belonging to tenants in the area. Otherwise it is a question of the landlord making empty treats to see if it works. Either way it is regulated by law, and a question balancing the relation between the landlord and the tenant. It is not a contract stipulation by a state owned company that is used as further punishment of the already weak and defenseless.

          5. Sten


            The Swedish law you quote says;

            “När hyresgästen använder lägenheten skall han se till att de som bor i omgivningen inte utsätts för störningar som i sådan grad kan vara skadliga för hälsan eller annars försämra deras bostadsmiljö att de inte skäligen bör tålas”

            “When the tenant uses the apartment, he must ensure that those living in the surrounding area is not disrupted to such an extent that may be harmful to health or otherwise impair their home environment in any unacceptable manner”

            Now, the text describes the individuals that are disturbed as “those living in the surrounding area” and not as other tenants of the same landlord i.e other people living in the same neighbourhood. irrelevant of whom their landlord might be.

            The Swedish situation is regulated by law and contracts and so is the English. The landlords in both cases are state operated and yes the threat is used by the Malmö company in order to stop nightly violence where youth throw stones at cars hence breaking the law. And the law that you quote supports the Malmö landlord.

          6. Mumfi.

            Paragraph 25 talks about how the apartment is to be used. Paragraph 42 talks about when an eviction is possible. The point with me quoting the paragraphs, or rather part of them, is the little stipulation at the end of 42; the one that says: “och rättelse inte utan dröjsmål sker efter tillsägelse.”, “and is not remediated promptly after receiving notice.” (my inexact translation) .
            To put it simply: no eviction if the disturbance ceases. The landlords are entirely within their rights to give notice of pending eviction due to a disturbance, on conviction not suspicion, mind; They will however not be able to do anything unless this is a repeat offence. If they _are_ evicted, the rest of the paragraph, that I snipped off for brevity, stipulates the process for this and it involves contacting social authorities.
            I’m not sure what your point is. My point however is this: If you are evicted in Sweden t won’t be as a form of extraparliamentary punishment.

          7. Sten

            If you break the contract in Sweden the state owned company can file an eviction claim with the courts. If you break the contract in England the council owned company can file an eviction claim with the courts.
            In both cases it is a matter of breaking contracts that have been signed – in both cases it is a state owned company that is the landlord – in both cases it is a matter of the children of the tenant acting out.
            My point is that the two cases are more similar than not. Hence, Sweden is no better than England since you in both countries can be evicted due to your childrens misbehaviour.

          8. Mumfi.

            Again: it is not by contract, it is by LAW. The difference with stipulating something by contract and by law is that the Swedish law applies to everyone while the English contracts apply only to the defenseless.
            Another rater important difference is that in Sweden you may evict if there is a disturbance and you do not stop the disturbance after being warned. The English are applying extraparliamentary punishment to a third party after the fact.

            You relay fail to see the difference? I’m astounded!

  21. ¬

    The worst thing that I’ve seen come from these riots isn’t necessarily the reaction of the government, but rather that of the people. So many average folk have been calling for disconcertingly extreme measures in response to the riots that really I don’t think the government can actually be blamed that much for responding to what appears, and I presume as they perceive, to be the wish of the people.

    Of what benefit to progress is democracy if the majority are idiots?

    1. Scary Devil Monastery

      Churchills quote about democracy cuts finely to the bone here:

      “The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

      That said the entire idea of representative democracy is that the body politic is supposed to mitigate the most extreme responses of frightened citizens. This is clearly failing completely in the UK (and elsewhere, for that matter).

  22. ghost

    Welcome to the UK’s version of Mein Kampf modern style.

  23. Anonymous

    A long time ago, there was a time when I used to (almost totally) trust the government. This article made me loose the last remains of that trust.

  24. Tia

    ‘ So you can simultaneously display strength
    stage from your pc, a movie from a Iphone and notes from a
    i – Pad. You’ll observe that Apple has allocated the textt a default password that’s shown
    for this screen too. Already it’s being used by mining companies to file a lawsuit
    governments always keeping them out of protected areas; by
    banks fighting financial regulation; by way of a nuclear company contesting Germany’s decision to switch off atomic power.

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