In American English, a bailiff is the deputy sheriff or other law enforcement officer charged with enforcing order in a courtroom. In British English, it is the term for a debt collector. Not the kind who ring you up at inconvenient times to remind you of your outstanding obligation, but the kind that shows up at your door demanding payment or his choice of your personal possessions to pay off the debt. That’s the way debts are collected in this country.
Until now, a bailiff could not force his way into your home. You have probably heard the phrase, “An Englishman’s house is his castle,” or as William Pitt the Elder, the 18th-century prime minister, said, “The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the crown.” But the current Labour Government having systematically taken away the rights of Englishmen (and Welshmen and Scotsmen and certain Irishmen) for the last 11½ years, it should come as no surprise that this is also consigned to the dustbin of historical rights.
Bailiffs, who I want to emphasise work for private companies just in case there was any lingering misunderstanding, will now be allow to break into homes. The only proviso is that they cannot break in when no one is home. In other words, they cannot burgle you, they can only rob you. And when I say “rob” I am not exaggerating. They will have the right to restrain you, pin you down, or otherwise use reasonable force to keep you from protecting your valuables.
They will have the right to break down your door. According to the new guidelines, reasonable grounds for breaking down the door include the “movement of a curtain”, a radio being heard or a figure being spotted inside which “may be the offender” . It is interesting to note that the Government is now calling a civil defendant an offender.
Yes, this is legalised thuggery. And not just legalised – it is encouraged, because the Government wants to crack down on people who evade debts. This apparently does not include banks, who have received £20 billion, mortaged against the future generations of Britons, to make sure all the executive bonuses get paid. No, it is the people who own credit card debts to the banks who will be on the receiving end of the newer stronger-arm tactics.
It brings to mind Jesus’ parable of the unmerciful debtor in Matthew 18:23-35. You may remember there was a debtor who owed the king 10,000 talents and was forgiven but he found his own debtor who owed him 100 denarii but couldn’t pay. The debtor turned creditor basically treated his debtor to British-style bailiffs. To get an idea of how close this is to the financial situation in Britain, read the commentary on this passage I wrote back on March 9 of this year where I calculated the value of the two debts.
Of course the difference is that the King in this case is encouraging his servant to be abusive to his fellow servant. I don’t think we can accuse the Labour Government of pretensions to so-called Christian socialism.