As part of its response to this summer's riots, the government has announced that it intends to give the courts powers to cut up to £25 from the benefits of those convicted of and fined for a criminal offence.
Recently published research has shown - not very surprisingly - that most people convicted of looting in the riots are from the poorest communities across Britain, about a third of whom receive social security benefits. Who actually believes that making poor people poorer is the way to cut crime? David Cameron for one does. "The system as it stands at the moment is far too soft," he claims.
Social security benefits are set at a level the laws says people need to live on. If nearly half is deducted by judges as fines, what does the government think people will do to survive? But then Cameron, Clegg and Osborne don't think like us. To them £60 is what they pay for a cheap bottle of wine, not what has to last them all week.