The Ghost of Watt Tyler

Watt Tyler was one of the leaders of the 1381 Peasants’ Revolt. He was a slain by the King’s supporters after drinking a jug of beer “in a very rude and disgusting fashion before the King's face.”

Saturday, March 12, 2005


As I’ve already mentioned I am writing a story about anti-social behaviour. It seems to me that anti-social behaviour orders (Asbos) are the domestic counterpart to the recently passed anti-terror legislation. Now Asbos may be less draconian but they are no less mean spirited. Today the Guardian reports a substance abuser addicted to fuel has been imprisoned for breaching his Asbo banning him from petrol stations.

A fuel sniffer has been jailed for breaching an antisocial behaviour order that banned him from petrol station forecourts in north-east England.

Since when did it become an offence to walk onto a petrol station forecourt and breathe in the fumes? Many car manufacturers fight for the right to do exactly that in all our great cities.

I spoke to Harry Fletcher from Napo just after the Guardian did and he told me quite rightly this man needs treatment not prison. They may have tried before but the maxim of probation is: never give up on someone. I wish New Labour had a semblance of a heart somewhere in its cold unfeeling icy body…