"How to sweep beggars from our streets" by David Marsland

Essay by chellebabe1971 June 2003

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Q.1Read Item A. To what extent does Marsland's analysis fit the right realist approach?

In the piece on 'How to sweep beggars from our streets' by David Marsland, he likens them to menaces in society and an 'eye sore' littering the streets of towns and major cities. His somewhat archaic view in that a need to adopt a more Victorian approach to tackling the problem of begging mirrors the right realist view on crime. John Major in his 'law and order' debate talked about going 'back to basics' and with a rise in crime their explanation was to blame a 'decline in moral values' as the main factor. Marsland believed that beggars had no moral fibre and that the problem did not stem from capitalism or poverty but their mere existence was a 'blot on the complex but orderly copy-book of a modern civilised society'

The right realist perspective was particularly connected to J Q Wilson whom in the early 1970's in the US claimed that 'crime resulted from selfish and wicked people who were undeterred by the criminal justice system which had gone 'soft' on criminals' Wilson believed that in order to combat crime there needed to be a remedy, he suggested that through increased education, encouraged community organisation, modernising poor housing and provision of counselling for young trouble delinquents there lay the answer.

Marsland takes a similar view on combating begging. His remedy for the situation was the toughening up of laws that were perhaps to lax and return to the Victorian invention of work houses. Beggars needed to know the value of hard work, self reliance and respectability. The causes of begging in Marsland's opinion

were 'The hand-out culture of the decaying welfare state' basically to mean that the government were...