Britain’s hard man Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is offering to personally punch out the lights of town centre louts whose drunken behaviour make ordinary citizens’ lives a misery. “It’s all a question of respect,” the former Paralympic bare knuckle fighting silver medallist told a press conference. “These bastards obviously have none, judging by their drunken antics – urinating in the street, vomiting in shop doorways and generally flaunting the law. Clearly, the only thing they’re going to understand is a bloody good hiding! I want people to be reassured that the government is taking a personal interest in the issues which matter most to them. Make no mistake, you just show me who they are and I’ll give them a damn good pasting.” This startling proposal is just one of a raft of radical law and order policies floated by Blunkett in the recent Queen’s Speech.

Perhaps most controversial is the proposal to extend current anti-terror legislation to cover petty criminals and vandals, enabling police to detain them without evidence of them having actually committed a crime. “Look, graffiti, car theft, mugging, vandalism, dirty bombs and suicide attacks, they’re all just symptoms of the same underlying problem – a lack of respect for the values of others,” says the Home Secretary, defending his plans to allow young offenders to be tried and convicted in secret, without legal representation. “Not only that, but just think, if the little bastards can sneak up to your house undetected and cover it in graffiti, or slash you car’s tyres or piss through your letterbox, then it’s going to be just as easy for gangs of ruthless terrorists to poison you in your beds! Crack down on one and you prevent the other! As for evidence, we don’t need any of that bollocks! It just gets in the way of justice! People in the community know who the vandals and terrorists are, all we ask is that they point them out to the proper authorities. We’ll do the rest!”

Blunkett’s proposals are a direct response to his Tory opposite number, Shadow Home Secretary David Davies, who recently claimed that a future Conservative government would cut crime by restoring proper discipline to Britain’s streets, with public birchings and horse whippings being reintroduced for minor crimes and vandalism. “We want to give victims a central role in handing out justice – the courts are completely out of touch,” said Davies at a recent Conservative Party policy launch. “Offenders would be put in the stocks and their victims allowed to throw rotten fruit and excreta at them. Instead of anti-social behaviour orders, affected neighbours would be able to tar and feather local troublemakers and run them out of town.”

Whilst this battle between Blunkett and Davies to come up with the most reactionary anti-crime policies might at times seem be a purely personal battle – with Blunkett taunting his opposite number in the Commons over his failure to endorse the compulsory branding of persistent petty offenders , describing him as being ‘soft on crime’ and ‘a big girl’s blouse’, before setting his guide dog on the hapless shadow minister – but it is, in fact, part of a policy debate likely to dominate next year’s expected general election. “Law and order is a crucial issue,” says political pundit George Hopper. “With Labour governments traditionally seen as being too liberal on crime issues, it is essential that New Labour establishes a line which is so reactionary and authoritarian that the Tories could only move to the right of it by introducing gas chambers and concentration camps for spitting in the street. ”

Following his Commons mauling, Davies has sought to trump the Home Secretary by hijacking the labour party’s old slogan and claiming that a Conservative government would be ‘tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime’. “We all know what the causes of crime are – unmarried mothers on benefits knocked up by illegal immigrants,” he told a startled press conference. “Statistics show that the illegitimate offspring of dole-scrounging mothers and shady foreign terrorists are a hundred times more likely to become drug-addicted sex offenders with homicidal tendencies than any other social group. Consequently, we are proposing that all foreign men caught in Britain be chemically castrated – it’s a well known fact they only come here for our women – and any women producing children out of wedlock be sent to single sex hard labour camps run by nuns.” However, Blunkett remains unimpressed by such proposals, believing that he holds the winning electoral hand with his plans for compulsory ID cards. “It’s the perfect way to repress people’s rights in the name of freedom. The public always fall this kind of bollocks,” opines pundit Hopper. “The real masterstroke is in expecting people to pay for the cards – truly ironic, funding one’s own repression.”

Blunkett dismisses claims that the ID card scheme will undermine citizens’ basic freedoms, claiming that they are an essential tool in the fight against crime and terrorism. “Look, people might bang on about their rights and all that cobblers, but the truth is that they what they really want is security, not freedom! Freedom to do what? Be blown up by terrorists? Be buggered senseless in the streets by gangs of roving illegal immigrant sex perverts? Of course not – what they want is freedom from worry about such things happening, and ID cards are the key to achieving such security,” he enthuses. “You see, by forcing everyone to carry a card, we’ll be able to immediately identify the guilty – they’ll be forced to give their occupation on their ID card! There’ll be no hiding for them – rapists, muggers, thieves, suicide bombers, it’ll all be listed under ‘occupation’!”

Many critics remain unconvinced, believing many aspects of the scheme to be unworkable, particularly the proposal to fine people £1,000 if they fail to notify the authorities of a change of address, pointing out that some sections of the community – travellers, itinerant workers and the homeless, for instance – have no fixed address. “That’s the beauty of this scheme – it eliminates those problems as well! The homeless and itinerant will be required to stay in work camps, whilst the travelling community will either have to settle down voluntarily, or face compulsory resettlement in new ‘townships’,” the Home Secretary explains. “That’s the trouble with my colleague on the opposition benches – he just doesn’t have the balls to make such tough calls! He just isn’t as hard as me, the puff!” Officials from both Labour and Conservative parties have refused to comment on press speculation that Blunkett and Davies had agreed to settle the law and order policy debate with a contest to see who can urinate furthest.