Everything, Everything

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Controversial Ideas
Friday 11th May, 2007 15:15 Comments: 10
  • Scrap the juvenile justice system, treat children the same as adults. If it's their first offence (as an adult or child) then the punishment can be less harsh, fines will still be based upon what they can afford (i.e. children will get lower fines as they're - generally - still in full time education). Many offenders are repeat offenders whose behaviour could be influenced by harsher punishment in their younger - character shaping - years. The downside is it would possibly put further pressure on an overcrowded prison service, and you'd still need to separate younger children from adults in order to a) avoid abuse/bullying b) allow children to interact with people their own age c) provide them with an education.
  • Increase the age of consent to 18. Smoking, voting and drinking aren't allowed until 18, this would put sex in line with that age (and the age for people in a position of responsibility). The consequences of teenage pregnancy are often as bad, if not worse, than the consequences of alcohol abuse.
  • Increase the age you can learn to drive from 17 to 18. This would also put things in line with the things mentioned above, and studies suggest that most motorists would support a move to 18. Research by Robert Isler, director of the traffic and road safety research group at the University of Waikato in New Zealand, concludes that the brain doesn't mature until the age of 25. He told an international road safety conference that the brains of younger motorists predisposed them to more dangerous driving.

    Brain studies have shown that the frontal lobes are not fully developed until young people reach the age of 25 years, the same time when age disappears as a risk factor for crashes, even after driving experience is taken into account. It seems plausible that immature executive functioning (of the brain) may lie behind the poor hazard anticipation and detection skills that seem to characterise many adolescent drivers. But like any other brain function, they can be enhanced with appropriate training.

    The downside would be that anyone that doesn't continue their education beyond the age of 16 would find it more difficult to travel (e.g. for work).
  • Charge everyone the same price for a car tax disc. The current system is based on emissions, but a car that does very little mileage and travels 5 miles a year is obviously going to give off fewer nasty emissions than an eco-friendly car that does 100,000 miles a year. You could perhaps charge car tax based upon mileage, but that would always be based on old data, and would be a pain if you bought a secondhand car that had done alot of miles last year. So the fairest way would be the current way the government makes money: high tax on petrol/diesel. This means gas guzzling cars that do high mileage will inevitably pay more money to the government.
  • Increase the amount of tax on petrol/diesel. I know, it's already hideously expensive, but to appease commercial use, companies will be allowed to claim back tax for business miles. That way the tax will only apply to normal people, and would help discourage commuters that clog up the roads.
  • Raise the stamp duty land tax threshold. After it's been raised, make it follow the inflation/deflation seen in average house prices in the UK on an annual basis. To make up for the shortfall, charge stamp duty on all additional homes. This would help reduce the amount of "Buy To Let" places, as it would stop people renting out a second home and driving up (already insanely high) house prices, and would make them far less appealing to investors - they'd have to invest money into things like the stock market instead, which would hopefully help the economy.
  • Mandatory Anti Lock Braking (ABS). Seatbelts in a car are a legal requirement. As is wearing them. Why not make it a legal requirement that cars have ABS? This would help reduce accidents and take most of the crap cars off the road. It would also help encourage people to buy newer cars, which may have economic benefits. With sufficient warning, such as the switchover to digital TV, people could plan their purchase. And if they can't afford a new car, then they'll just have to take public transport instead (or walk). Eventually, if necessary, you could add a requirement for additional safety features, such as airbags or side impact bars. Cars from abroad would have to meet these safety standards in order to drive on our roads/be allowed in this country.
  • Scrap congestion charging. If you don't want people to drive (or sit in traffic) in busy areas, then don't let them drive there. For anyone that lives in the busy areas that cannot be pedestrianised, give them continued access via numberplate recognition and/or a device that controls barriers/bollards. Don't allow the people that can afford it to drive through the congestion charging areas, force everyone onto public transport (or let them walk on the newly pedestrianised area). One of the reasons why people don't walk in London is because of the incredibly low air quality, due to the pollution. Get rid of the traffic and the air gets better and more people would walk. Anyone that's walked around the heart of London before 9AM knows that the pavements aren't that busy. Plus the exercise is bound to be good for stressed city workers.
  • A child support system that doesn't encourage single mothers to have as many babies as they can possibly pop out. For the first child, the mother gets lots of benefits (more than the current system). For a second child, the mother doesn't get as many benefits (they can potentially re-use the same clothes during the early years, if there is a small age-gap it might be possible to save the cost on baby-sitting). No additional benefits are given for a third child. For any additional children, the mother must pay money (to help cover the increased benefits for a first child). To help mothers avoid having too many children, the government could offer free hysterectomies, free condoms, free birth control pills, free morning after pills. Abortion would not be free, partly to encourage prevention/protection. In the long term, it must be cheaper to provide these things than pay out for a child. Anyone that is on a high income would therefore be able to support a large family, if they choose to. The downside is that a person may choose to have a large family and then become unemployed and have to start paying the government even though they don't have an income. This could be dealt with like the (admittedly rather poor) student loan system, where the person gradually accumulates a larger debt, but payments are taken directly out of their salary once they're employed (and if the parent dies, payments are exempt - it's not like we'd make the child pay for themselves, and the inheritance - if there is one - might make them more self-sufficient).
  • Scrap inheritance tax. If you've worked hard to get your money, probably paid 40% tax on a fair chunk of it, then why should you get punished 40% all over again? The problem has become more prevalent with the rise in house prices, as this often takes people well over the threshold. HBOS says that 2.4 million UK homes are now valued above the threshold. It seems to mostly affect the upper-middle-class, as rich people seem to find clever ways to avoid it (although that can involve having to trust your family, although it might stop them from trying to kill you off for a while). Most other countries don't have it. Germany has it, but you'd have to inherit 32 million Euros before hitting the 30% tax rate.
  • Ban mushrooms - okay, maybe not, but I really don't like them!
I realise that not all of these ideas are carefully thought out, but they should at least get people thinking. If you have any comments, let me know and perhaps I can start a "wiki" style entry for each idea and we can bounce around points until we abandon the idea or make it into something decent.
Avatar Yamahito - Friday 11th May, 2007 17:05
You've got my vote on the stamp duty and mushrooms.
Avatar Fab - Friday 11th May, 2007 17:11
Same and add scrap inheritance tax which I find morally repugnant.
Avatar Robert - Friday 11th May, 2007 19:18
Must admit I hadn't thought about it. I'm in favour of scrapping it. It's going on the list.
Avatar Robert - Thursday 17th May, 2007 10:18
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/6664503.stm

Nearly 350 criminal offences have been committed by children who were too young for police in the East Midlands to prosecute them, new figures show.
The offences range from burglary and arson to robbery and fraud, according to figures obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act.

East Midlands police forces recorded a total of 344 offences in 2006 committed by children aged nine or under. The law says children under 10 are too young to be criminally responsible.

The two youngest offenders, aged four, were involved in a racially aggravated common assault and causing criminal damage to a car.

In Nottinghamshire, police recorded 83 cases of criminal damage, 73 physical assaults and a number of crimes involving air guns committed by children who cannot be prosecuted.
Avatar Robert - Thursday 17th May, 2007 11:43
http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30100-1266120,00.html

The age of criminal responsibility should be raised from 10 to as high as 18, according to a new report. It would mean young offenders like those who killed Damilola Taylor no longer being dealt with by the Home Office. Instead, their cases would be handled by the Department for Education and Skills.

The proposal is contained in a collection of essays in a report by The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies (CCJS). The authors also suggest children should no longer be sent to prison.

"The age of criminal responsibility should be raised to 18 and Asbos should be abolished."

The CCJS, which is based at King's College, London, says England and Wales has one of the highest child imprisonment rates in Europe.

Perhaps the reason we have the highest child imprisonment rates in Europe is because a lot of kids are utter bastards. What are we supposed to do with kids that go around killing people?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/merseyside/6664013.stm
Two 16 year old boys and a 17 year old boy charged with the murder of a 21-year-old man in a Liverpool street.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/manchester/6664635.stm
A 16-year-old boy arrested on suspicion of the murder of a pregnant teenager has been released on bail.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/tyne/6662409.stm
A 16-year-old youth has been charged with the knife murder of 15-year-old schoolboy in Newcastle.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6659245.stm
A 15-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of a teenager who was stabbed to death in the street. Kodjo Yenga, 16, died from a single stab wound to the heart after being attacked in Hammersmith Grove in March. The 15-year-old will appear at West London Youth Court on Wednesday accused of murder and violent disorder. He had previously appeared in court accused of intimidating a murder witness and was remanded in custody. In total, eight teenagers have been charged with the murder of Kodjo. Four aged between 13 and 16 have appeared at West London Magistrates' Court charged with the schoolboy's murder.
Avatar Robert - Thursday 17th May, 2007 14:37
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/berkshire/6665901.stm
Police are treating a baseball bat attack on a 17-year-old boy by a gang as attempted murder. The victim was knocked to the ground and beaten in Manchester Road, Reading, on Tuesday afternoon. The teenager remains in a critical condition in hospital. A boy aged 16, a girl aged 15 and a 21-year-old woman were arrested and have been bailed.
Avatar Robert - Sunday 20th May, 2007 03:33
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/wear/6673531.stm
Two teenagers have been arrested over the murder of a father-of-one who was stabbed to death outside his home. Police have said they are linking the attack with a series of other early hour incidents involving three youths, including another stabbing. Two boys, aged 16 and 17, were arrested in Sunderland. Police said they were still searching for a third youth.
Avatar Robert - Sunday 20th May, 2007 05:29
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6673605.stm
Three teenagers are being questioned about the death of an 18-year-old who was stabbed in a street fight in south London. A 16-year-old boy, who was treated for a slash wound, was arrested. Another boy aged 16 and a 19-year-old man were also held, police said.
Avatar Robert - Monday 21st May, 2007 12:55
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/coventry_warwickshire/6676653.stm
Three teenagers have been arrested after two large groups of youths armed with bats and knives were involved in running battles in a street. One youth suffered a cut to his back, believed to have been caused by a knife. He was treated in hospital. The teenagers, two aged 16 and one 15, were held on suspicion of criminal damage and public order offences.
Avatar Robert - Thursday 13th September, 2007 15:37
Sounds pretty similar to my idea above of charging people more for petrol.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/news/news.html?in_article_id=481412&in_page_id=1770&ito=1490

Motorists could face constant petrol price rises if recommendations today from a prominent Government advisory body are adopted.

A "steady increase in fuel price is essential to help control CO2 emissions", the Commission for Integrated Transport (CfIT) said in a report today.

The price of fuel can be a "significant and visible element of overall costs of road transport", added CfIT in its report to the Government on transport and climate change.
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