When I read the front page of the Belfast Telegraph on October 16 I am sure I felt a chill run down my spine.
The front page covered three stories.
One was about a thief who had been caught 104 times and was let off again. The second was about a policeman who had been accused of stealing small amounts of money from a kitty and had been suspended for almost three years, on full pay, while awaiting the outcome of a trial. The third was about fines for people using the wrong bin.
Would any member of the public who put the wrong rubbish in a particular bin be allowed 104 chances to amend their ways or be given three years to decide on their guilt or innocence? I do not think so. What they would be expected to do would be to pay the fine levied or face the full rigor of the law and to continue to finance this madness by way of their tax.
What we need is a system where the public is represented in bodies that can exercise some restraint over such decisions. There is a vacuum that has to be filled. There must be a means by which the public is represented and able to challenge such decisions.
The status quo that permits and implements such costly and unjust practices is not sustainable.
Whatever is left of democracy cannot survive such rubbish.