When the Westminster city council met to debate a new bylaw to end the annoying and unsightly problem of homelessness by outlawing it, I like to think the debate went something like this.
“Are there no prisons?”, asked Scrooge.
“Plenty of prisons“, said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
“And the Union workhouses?”, demanded Scrooge. “Are they still in operation?”
“They are. Still”, returned the gentleman, “I wish I could say they were not.”
“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?”, said Scrooge.
“Both very busy, sir.”
“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course”, said Scrooge. “I’m very glad to hear it.” … I don’t make merry myself at Christmas and I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”
“Many can’t go there; and many would rather die.”
“If they would rather die”, said Scrooge, “they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population. Besides—excuse me—I don’t know that.”
“But you might know it”, observed the gentleman.
“It’s not my business”, Scrooge returned. “It’s enough for a man to understand his own business, and not to interfere with other people’s. Mine occupies me constantly. Good afternoon, gentlemen!”
“Tory council to make homelessness illegal
The Tories have a new policy on homelessness: make it illegal. That is the extraordinary intention of a Conservative flagship council. Worse, they want to ban Salvation Army soup kitchens.
Westminster city council, the richest and most powerful council in the UK, is proposing a new bye-law to ban rough sleeping and “soup runs” in the Victoria area of London. The proposed new bye-law will make it an offense punishable by a fine to “sleep or lie down”, “deposit materials used as bedding” and to “give out, or permit another to give out, food for free”.
If these proposals are passed, they will also prohibit companies with a proud record of corporate social responsibility from doing good things. Companies like Pret a Manger, who have, very quietly, for many years, given away their unsold food to London’s homeless. If the Tories get their way, companies like Pret will be forced to throw the food in the bin.”Here’s the meat of the proposed By-law. You’ll note that they thought things through carefully and provided an exemption so that business could still give free food away at sporting events and for marketing purpose … provided they didn’t give it to any street folk, we must assume. ~ Δρακακις
LYING DOWN AND SLEEPING ETC
3. (1) No person shall lie down or sleep in or on any public place.
(2) No person shall at any time deposit any materials used or intended to be used as bedding in or on any public place.
DISTRIBUTION OF FREE REFRESHMENT
4. (1) No person shall distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place.
(2) No person shall knowingly permit any person to distribute any free refreshment in or on any public place.
5. Byelaw 4 does not apply to the distribution of free refreshments –
(a) to persons taking part in a sporting event;
(b) on any premises on which there is in force a premises licence under Part 3 of the Licensing Act 2003 or a temporary event notice under section 100 of the same Act;
(c) if the distribution is of samples of refreshments and is carried out for marketing purposes on land adjacent to retail premises in which the same refreshments are available for sale;
(d) by the Council or any health authority (or any person acting on behalf of the Council or any health authority) exercising powers to protect public health.