Friday, May 06, 2005

A Life

Kylee Dibble was 18 and single, lived on the Barton Hill estate in Bristol.

Her life revolved around the club and rave scene.

On January 27th she wrote "i love my raves and will do untill im old and grey".

On February 28th she was murdered and the flat set on fire.

She was mourned by clubbers and cremated last Friday.

The links paint a little picture of Britain in 2005.

Does Staying Up All Night

affect your judgement ?

Militant Moderate (to whom a big well done for their coverage), 6.04 am.

"Tory gains have been pathetic, with their vote share a mere 1% on their derisory performance last time"

Derisory Tory share of vote : 33.2 %
Derisory Labour share of vote : 36.3 %

and by 6.15 am :

"the Tories would have done much better without Michael Howard and his immigration campaign"

That's not what the Guardian thinks.

Major Gain For Extreme Right

Voters with conservative social views, deeply held religious beliefs, a dislike of Jews, and a liking for armed death squads have sent a strong message to the Prime Minister.

My Country ! Oh, My Country !

How can 36% of a 60% turnout be so stupid ?

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Swamp Thing

swamp – 1 n. piece of wet, spongy ground; bog ; marsh
2 v. (of water) overwhelm, flood, soak (boat or its crew or contents)

A couple of weeks ago, when the polls were showing a narrowing of the Labour lead, Polly Toynbee was worried.

‘On the doorsteps, the Conservatives are making headway on immigration. Whatever the polls say - and people lie on this to polite pollsters - Labour campaigners find it everywhere. Howard's posters, speeches and tactics may be despicable but they work, however preposterously impossible his party's policies.’

For Ms Pot, a few of Blunkett’s chickens were coming home to roost.

‘Labour colluded with anti-asylum sentiment to such a degree that even when they did get control of the system and numbers fell fast, they kept tightening the screw, which implied "swamping" was in progress. ’

And what’s so sad is that there’s nothing to worry about.

‘Where was civil society when decency was under attack? Where are the churches, the legal and medical professions, the charities and anyone else with trusted authority when a loud voice is needed to say the country is not being "swamped"?’

It’s been a while since old Swampy raised his head. Last time was a few years back, when David Blunkett spoke of some schools being swamped by the children of asylum seekers, a remark for which he was accused by Diane Abbott of likening asylum seekers to sewage (presumably she sent her son to a private school in order that he could find out what ‘swamp’ actually means – and then tell her).

But the most famous use was by Margaret Thatcher way back in 1979, when the immigrant communities in Britain were half their current size. She spoke of people’s fears about being ‘swamped by people of a different culture’ and was roundly assailed for this by people who pointed out that ‘ethnic minorities’ only made up a few percent of the British population. With hindsight, some on the left have acknowledged that this speech, so condemned at the time, cut the ground from under the feet of the anti-immigration far right, who disappeared off the political map for twenty years. Of course both Thatcher and her critics were right. To a Native Brit living in, say, Lidget Green, Stockwell or Sparkbrook, swamping in the sense of being overwhelmed was a reality. The character of many city areas has changed utterly in the last forty years, as the natives have moved out and newcomers moved in, leaving only the very poorest (usually elderly) natives to ponder the cultural, physical and linguistic transformation of their streets. There’s a wonderful book waiting to be written, of interviews with the surviving oldies in places like Peckham, Bethnal Green, Manningham.
But the number of incomers was still only perhaps three or four percent of the population, and it was this fact that enabled people to deride Thatcher’s speech.

Twenty-five years on, things are changing. The ethnic minority population of Britain is nearer 10%, concentrated almost entirely in England. Emigration by Native Brits is at record levels, immigration likewise. To look at the cultural and demographic changes you need to examine both figures rather than net immigration (think of 5 million Brits moving to LA and 5 million Angelenos coming to Britain. That’s ‘zero net immigration’ in the government’s terms).

In 2001 the Observer reported an unnamed demographer (who I’m presuming with zero evidence was David Coleman of Oxford University) as saying that on current trends for immigration, emigration and birthrate, whites would be a minority in Britain by 2100. I’m not sure if he’d taken into account the million-odd Poles who have come over since EU enlargement, and I’m not sure talking of ‘whites’ is helpful either. I prefer the term ‘Native Britons’, which distinguishes the indigenous people from Albanians, Poles, Frenchmen and other Eastern Europeans.

Not being a demographer, I’m unqualified to say whether his work is plausible or not (you'd think being an Oxford professor was enough - then you remember Terry Eagleton was one). But the lack of any rebuttal from the left is significant. And the recent ONS figures on 2003 births (p75) certainly seem in line with that forecast. In 2003 nearly 20% of births in England were to mothers not themselves born in the UK. Given the number of second and third generation immigrants, it would not seem implausible that between 25 and 30% of births in England were to non-Natives. This would imply a minority population of 25-30% in 50 years from now, even were all immigration to stop tomorrow, all emigration by natives to stop tomorrow, and were those 2003 babies, on reaching child-bearing age, only to bear children at the rate of the natives.

Neither of the last three assumptions are very likely. Labour will do nothing about immigration (David Blunkett said there was no obvious upper limit), natives will continue to up sticks, and communities with a strong sense of family and a dislike of abortion will continue to see children as a good thing, rather than adopting the native attitude of children as a burden and expense.

The beauty of demographic change via birthrate is that it’s not readily perceptible in the short term, unless you start walking the streets of Southall and Cirencester counting pushchairs. As an economist whose name I've forgotten said, ‘compound interest is a wonderful thing’. Following Mr Howards various speeches, I detect a note of ‘he’s gone on about it long enough’ even among some rightish bloggers. My view is that he hasn’t hit the demographics nearly hard enough. It really is almost now or never.

There’s no dictionary definition of swamping in relation to immigration. But I must wonder – if Ms Toynbee doesn’t consider 30% to be swampy, what is ? 50% ? 70% ?

Such changes in the make-up of the population will have impacts all over the place, some good, some not so. Let’s play fantasy politics and try to lay down a few pointers and questions.

The native British are a demoralised bunch, and have generally reacted to immigration by voting with their feet rather than for people who like Odin and dislike Jews. But as the incomer population grows, the English are finding that there’s nowhere (emigration apart) to run to. This may be why the BNPs vote of nearly 5% in the 2004 Euro elections was around four times their 1999 vote.

This trend may not continue - as children of all colours and cultures grow up together they may unite and reject communal politics. But Bradford, Oldham, Burnley aren’t terribly hopeful pointers.

The Muslim vote, as Muslim numbers grow and they realise their electoral power, is likely to detach from Labour, even if Labour foreign policy is adapted to their needs and we cut ourselves off from the US. Traditionally Labour has been the party of immigrants, but a point will be reached at which they (Labour) are not needed any more and with a cry of 'so long and thanks for all the outreach workers' the Muslim vote will depart. The divorce will be messy. As I wrote a day or two back, the average middle-class Labour activist and the average Ibrahim in the mosque are 180% apart on social issues. And I’m with Ibrahim (apart from the death penalty for homosexuality and apostasy – I think ostracism is a sufficient punishment) on most of those issues.

Where will the remnants of the white working class vote end up ?

When will the Conservatives realise that they will never recapture city seats or votes – that whatever happens to the votes which now go overwhelmingly to Labour, they won’t end up with the Tories ? And what will the Tories do when this sinks in ?

What will happen if taxes are raised to support the large numbers of post-war baby-boomer pensioners ? Remember these pensioners will be 95% hideously white natives – the workforce being heavily taxed to pay their pensions will be all colours and cultures.

At what percentage of population does it become acceptable for Native Brits to form equivalents to the Black Police Officers Association or the Society Of Black Lawyers ? Are the BNP just ahead of the demographic curve ?

The possibilities are endless. But there’s one nasty one - the possibility that the English will wake up to what’s happened and get very cross about it – but after it’s too late to do anything about it, which is pretty much where we are now.

In yesterday’s Guardian, ex-Aussie Labour leader Paul Keating, tired of being stuffed at the polls by one Howard, took a poke at the other one, comparing him unfavourably with that legendary anti-racist campaigner - Winston Churchill, a man who apparently "bequeathed to his party a mantle of moral rectitude which remains to this day".

Churchill was certainly neither class nor race-bound (‘what is the point of being against a man simply because of his birth ? How can any man help how he is born ?’). But he did have a view on swamping which I’m sure could be called racist. Towards the end of the Second World War the question of Indian officers in the Royal Navy arose, and whether there was any barrier of rank for those who showed aptitude and bravery. Churchill had already been in conflict with the navy over the antiquated rules governing which occupations could rise to become officers (‘apparently there is no difficulty about painters rising in Germany !’), and he wrote that there should be no limits, that Indian citizens should be promoted to Captains, or even Admirals, of His Majesty’s Ships if they were the best men for the job.

He then added an afterthought - ‘But not too many of them, please’.

Churchill also said a few things about the Brits which give me to pause. Throughout the 1930s he had been a lonely prophet, railing against German rearnament, at a time when the mass of the British people only wished for peace and a quiet life. They didn’t want to feel bad about themselves by listening to a lone warmonger. Wasn't the government saying there was nothing to worry about ?
In the end, brute facts forced the government to Churchill’s view, but only after the damage had been done and a European war had become inevitable.

Similarly today no-one wants to think too hard about what’s happening on the demographic front. Who wants to have the tag of ‘racist’ attached to them ? Far better to ignore the figures and the swivel-eyed loons shouting about them.

Here’s Churchill in May 1932 :
"I should very much regret to see any approximation in military strength between Grmany and France. Those who speak of that as if it were right, or even a question of fair dealing, altogether underrate the gravity of the European situation. I would say to those who would like to see Germany and France on an equal footing in armaments : ‘Do you wish for war ?’ For my part, I ernestly hope that no such approximation will take place during my lifetime or that of my children. To say that is not in the least to imply any want of regard or admiration for the German people, but I am sure that the thesis that they should be placed in an equal military position with France is one which, if it ever emerged in fact, would bring us within practical distance of almost measureless calamity. "

While not in the least implying any want of regard or admiration for our New Britons, I feel the same way about the Native Brits becoming a minority in their own country 50 or 80 years hence. While I think we can probably avoid civil war, Fiji (where resentment at the majority Indian-descended population by the minority natives has led to several army coups) may be our future.

My worry is that if the Native Brits decide they don’t like what has happened, will they try to do something about it ? And what ? Churchill again.

‘It is a curious fact about the British Islanders, who hate drill and have not been invaded for a thousand years, that as danger comes nearer and grows that become progressively less nervous ; when it is imminent they are fierce; when it is mortal they are fearless. These habits have led them into some very narrow escapes.’

By now the polls are closing and barring a change in voting behaviour (all those don’t knows being Tories, for example) Labour are back in, with what majority we know not. Guido Fawkes showed a few weeks back a list of Charles Clarke’s tough measures on asylum and immigration - but like pinball machines, Clarke’s pledges are ‘for amusement only’. Labour, from the Home Secretary to the lowliest ward chairperson, are constitutionally incapable of doing anything about immigration - because to do so would, in their eyes, be racist, the sin of sins. So it looks like we will continue the slide towards – whatever.

One consolation. If it is racist to make any objection to any number of incomers, the good people of the USA, Oz, Canada and New Zealand can at least sleep easy at night, knowing that they are not the genocidal interlopers of guilty liberal mythology. No, it was the natives, objecting to their arrival with spear and arrow, who were in fact the evil racist thugs, quite rightly suppressed by the forces of law and order. Mr Sharon, too, can start planning many mighty cities on the West Bank and Gaza, as any Palestinians bothered by them are racists who should be ignored. And should the Palestinian Authority object, I’m sure western liberals and the Guardian will give them the same hard time as they’ve given John Howard’s Aussie government.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

No Representation Without Taxation

We can't aford our pensions. People will have to work longer. The government is raising the retiring age to 65 for men and women.

At the same time, with their idiotic idea of sending 50% of the population to university, they want half the nation not to start work until they're 21. Potentially five years of working life taken off. Joined up thinking at its best.

The liberal left see a fantastic opportunity to gather votes in the idea of lowering the voting age to 16. As a general rule the more you are cocooned from the real world, the more likely you are to vote for a left party. And with compulsory citizenship classes it is hoped that the kids will know which way to vote.

So a coalition of the stupid has been formed to campaign for votes at 16. The usual self-selected 'Youth' organisations, the NUS, and one political party - the Lib Dems. Surprise surprise.

The Electoral Reform Society, a supposedly 'neutral' charity, are also asociated with this political campaign. I've had my doubts about them ever since they refused to administer Brian Souter's privately-funded referendum on the retention of Section 2a (a clause preventing the presentation of homosexual propaganda in the guise of sex education) in Scottish schools (a third of the four million ballots were returned, approximately the turnout by which most Scottish and English councillors are elected, with 87% in favour of retention).

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

More Manufacturing News

Ah yes. We can't compete any longer with overseas competitors in the old, low-tech areas like car manufacturing. You'll have noticed how car technology's been standing still for the last 20 years.

Good news, isn't it ? Leaves us free to concentrate on the high-skill, high added-value sectors, where the best-educated generation in our history will be such an asset.

Sectors like telecoms.

"Marconi reports annual results in two weeks and it is feared that executives could announce the first round of redundancies at the same time. Speculation has also centred on a potential bid for the entire business with Chinese rival Huawei, which did win business from BT, mentioned as a possible buyer.

The fact that BT failed to give a single one of the contracts to build its so-called 21st-century network to a UK business is also a cause for concern among Amicus leaders who fear that valuable research and development jobs will be lost from the British economy."

The news just keeps on getting better.

A pension fund deficit of £139m may restrict the amount a buyer would be prepared to pay for the company.

Meanwhile, a Chinese company with links to Marconi played a role in its downfall (does that sound familiar?). Huawei (pronounced "who-are-way") - which has a distribution deal with Marconi - was one of the eight companies to win a supplier contract with BT to build 21CN.

It is the first time the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer has won a such a large, strategically important network contract in the West.

"It is inevitable that Chinese companies will enter the European market," says Parton.

Remind me - what products are we going to be making again ?

Monday, May 02, 2005

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Is this the largest organisation of hypocrites in the UK ?

"A head teachers' leader has warned of the danger of giving "irresponsible parents" power in schools.

Mr Hart's comments reinforced a theme at this year's conference, being held in Telford, Shropshire, attributing worsening pupil behaviour to poor parenting.

He said all parents must sign up to basic standards, including respect for school staff and a recognition that violence, threats and abuse were unacceptable."

"Head teachers booed and hissed at a junior education minister yesterday as he sought to persuade them that Labour had put enough money into school budgets."

Big Tommy ...

Makes the case for UKIP.

"UKIP’s support for withdrawal is commendable. But they show no signs of knowing how best to make it happen, and have failed to deliver anything for Britain. Their other policies, such as hostility to free trade, are unappealing, they are largely staffed by ghastly people, and they are irresponsible, self-indulgent loons."

I must admit I'm tempted.

Our Rainbow Nation (Again)

Kurds v Turks in Bristol.

Honour killing in Southall (handy hint - find a young person to do the deed. A 16-year old will get a much lighter sentence - indeed, if the Children's Society get their way, no sentence at all).

"One neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "They wanted her to marry a boy in Pakistan-but she did not want to do it. At 10.45am she went home and by 11.10am she was dead.

"We saw a man who had blood all over his shirt. He was in the front garden. There was blood on the front door."

Police arrested four people - two women, a man and a teenager. The two women and man were later released on police bail. "

The Afro-Caribbean community celebrate the Bank Holiday in traditional style.

"We were called at approximately 10.59pm on Saturday to reports of a shooting in Buller Road, Wood Green,'' a spokesman said. ''The victim, a man aged 22 from the Wood Green area, was taken by ambulance to North Middlesex Hospital in Edmonton. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. It is believed that the victim was in a small silver car when he was surrounded by a group of around five or six black youths.

''The victim was shot and the group of suspects were seen to run away from Bullers Road, towards Redvers Road."

And the Native Brits make their own unique contribution to the fabric of society, with an assault of the sort Polly Toynbee considers was frequent in the past.

A Chinese shopkeeper has been murdered by a gang of more than 20 teenagers, armed with a spade, wooden planks, a tree branch and metal pipes.

The gang, which has plagued the local community with antisocial behaviour in Wigan, Greater Manchester, set upon Mi Gao Huangchen, 41, after he emerged from his Chinese takeaway to investigate damage to a car at 11.30pm eight days ago.

After an altercation with the youths, Mr Huangchen was submitted to a "horrific and frenzied" attack which lasted up to 15 minutes, Greater Manchester Police said. He suffered head injuries and was left in a coma as doctors fought to save his life. He died in Hope Hospital, Salford, on Thursday night, without regaining consciousness.

Mr Huangchen is understood to have come to the UK years ago to improve his prospects.

The good news is that, once again, most of the assailants being under eighteen, the Children's Society will be arguing that they should not be imprisoned. After all, they only beat an innocent man to death. If they get sent to prison they might become criminals. Heaven forbid.

Alas no data is available on the cheeky chappies who beat a man to death off Leicester Square an another good old-fashioned Toynbee-esque 'drunken riot'.

I like to think they were a crowd as diverse as the great metropolis itself.

UPDATE - they appear to hve been of Asian heritage.

How Will This ...

The impending Galloway divorce - from a Muslim at that - play with the faithful ? We shall see.

This election is the first where we see the Muslim vote becoming decoupled from Labour - a trend which can only continue. I've noted before that the pro-immigration Left are importing millions of Theodore Dalrymples into the UK - people whose views on family life, abortion, sex education, divorce, pornography and the privileging of homosexuality are 180% in opposition to the instincts of the UK left. There is some truth in the Muslim criticism that Labour have taken the Muslim vote for granted. As the Muslim population with its high birth rate grows, there's no reason why we shouldn't see explicitly Islamic candidates winning in the future in places like Leicester. In the long term a divorce is inevitable, in which case Labour may regret all those years spent ignoring the despised white working class.

Out in blogland Dumb Jon is on good form.

On the media fuss over Lord Goldsmith, exemplified by Ros Taylor's Guardian piece :

Iraq is the perfect barometer for the media/human divide. Are we really supposed to believe that there are people out there who didn’t know Blair was a lying scumbag ? Really, how can the media deny that they have utter contempt for the public ? Do they think we’re all morons ?

On the aftermath of a possible Tory defeat :

"We’ll be told that certain lightweight imbeciles are potential PMs for no better reason that their supposed electability – which, in practice means nothing more than their ability to garner fawning profiles for their courage in parroting the media line on the issue d’jour. "

Sunday, May 01, 2005

The Magistrate And Crime Figures

The Magistrate seems to have retreated from what appeared to this reader to be a position that crime figures don't tell us anything, certainly not that they've increased. He also makes an important point all too little appreciated.

"Another thought:- What would the homicide figures look like without the great improvements that have taken place in trauma care? Once a victim reaches a hospital his chance of survival is a lot better than it would have been a generation ago. The same question could be asked about the figures for road deaths. Not simple, is it?I am grateful to the indispensible Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry for these links: Here and Here "

The BMJ article posits that murder figures would probably be five times higher in the absnce of medical advances.

But his previous post contains so many items used as ammunition by the 'crime hasn't risen', 'moral panic' schools, that they need refuting or at leasst an attempt at such. Here goes. The Magistrate is in bold type.

? Just to mention a few of the variables that have affected perceived crime rates over the last generation:-

There is one factor here which will affect crime statistics compared to, say, a hundred years ago. More things are illegal now. In Victorian England you could dose yourself with opium and hashish and keep a small arsenal of weaponry quite legally. It was illegal then as now to beat a wife, but prosecutions weere rare However none of these things can explain, either by themselves or in combination, the tenfold increase in recorded crime since the 1950s.

? The explosion in recreational drug use. From a bohemian minority pursuit drugs have become one of the largest industries in the country and account for a huge percentage of the workload of the police and the courts, while consumption continues to rise and social approval, or at least indifference, increases. Vicious turf wars are killing scores of people every year. Some very nasty people indeed have access to millions of pounds of drug money, with the power that brings them.

The explosion in recreational drug use is NOT something that affects perceived crime rates, it’s something that affects actual crime rates. Posession of drugs is a crime, sale of drugs is a crime, although these would not have been offences 120 years ago. Killing people in turf wars or mugging old ladies for drug money is a crime, and would have been a crime in all ages.

? Prosperity has increased across all classes which is reflected in property crime and theft. Few homes, even middle class ones, had many portable goods of any real value in the Fifties and Sixties. Ironically, the recent fall in burglary may have something to do with the flood of cheap imports from the East, making stolen goods hard to sell for a worthwhile price.

So increased prosperity leads to increased crime, does it ? Is that why recorded crime has been falling for twenty years in the US ? Does it explain the huge drop in crime during the Victorian era ? Does it explain why Jersey, Guernsey, Leichenstein, the Isle of Man, Switzerland, Abu Dhabi have low crime rates ? And as for ‘Few homes, even middle class ones, had many portable goods of any real value in the Fifties and Sixties’ – money, telephone, television, transistor radio, record-player, alcohol for starters. The Guardian tells me that it’s poverty, not prosperity, that causes crime – an equally foolish idea. This whole ‘thesis’, if it can be dignified with that title, implies that crime level is purely a function of opportunity. Yet when I go to my friend’s house I don’t slip a CD into my pocket on the way out, although I could.

? Men would routinely beat their wives and the Police were not interested in 'domestics'. Now the Police treat all such assaults seriously and the CPS prosecute even when the woman has changed her mind, summoning her to court if necessary. One woman on my patch called police fifty times in twelve months, and they attended every time. That's fifty crimes of violence for the politicians to wave about.

‘Men would routinely beat their wives’. What, all of them ? Evidence ? I thought domestic violence had increased, not decreased. Where did he get that one from ? My suspicious voice says – a Home Office training course, run by Elizabeth Stanko or Julie Bindel. Even 150 years ago regular beatings were uncommon enough to be noteworthy.

‘ Well, Mother Cuxsom … how’s this ? Here’s Mrs Newson, a mere skellinton, has got another husband to keep her, while a woman of your tonnage have not.’
‘I have not. Nor another to beat me … Ah, yes, Cuxsom‘s gone, and so shall leather breeches !
’ – Hardy, The Mayor Of Casterbridge.

? If two men settled their differences outside the pub at closing time, nobody would call the police - it was just what men did. Nowadays, it's more violent crime in the stats.

There’s some truth here, for some men in some social classes. But I’d imagine that sort of ‘traditional’ scrap is a) quite rare now and b) even today doesn’t result in the police being called. Unfortunately, rather than an agreed ‘alright, outside !’ with coats off, a disagreement in the pub today is more likely to end in a car park ambush by the aggrieved party and five of his mates. The old British saying ‘you don’t kick a man when he’s down’ has been inverted. These days it’s considered the best time to kick him – precisely because he can’t defend himself.

? Armed robbery, by the old-time 'blaggers' rapidly dropped off when the police started to shoot back. Nowadays credit card and financial fraud pays better and is safer. There were no credit cards in the Fifties.

Is the magistrate saying armed crime has decreased, and that today’s credit card fraudsters used to be armed robbers ? There seem to be plenty of new-time blaggers not too far from Ealing Broaday. Try Wembley and Harlesden for starters. In the Fifties there were still cheque books, and con-men using them. Let’s have some figures on armed robbery and its 'rapid drop-off'.

‘If we take the figure for armed robbery, an offence the growth of which in the statistics could not be significantly accounted for by changes in reporting (more telephones, for example) and recording (changes in the law, changes in police procedures), we see that it was such a small problem that no figures were generally published until twenty years ago(written in 1990). In 1970 there were 480 armed robberies. By 1990 there were 3,900, and this rose in the following year to 5,300. This was an eleven-fold increase on 1970, and the increase in the single year was three times the total in 1970.’

? In real terms drink is as cheap as it has been for a century or more, and practically anyone can afford to drink himself into a stupor whenever he chooses.

Point being ? Are increased crime figures are down to the increased number of covictions for drunkeness ? I’d hazard a guess that such convictions have fallen, not increased, over the last fifty years. Drink was pretty cheap in Victorian times too. And there were active social movements against drunkenness. If you are arguing that the drink has caused more crime then again that is affecting actual, not perceived crime rates.

? The number of cars has vastly increased - more theft of and from cars, more dangerous driving, more road rage.

The number of horses has vastly decreased, with a corresponding drop in horse thefts, horse rage and other equine crime. And of course even in the 50s most working men went to work on a bicycle or motorcycle. So stealing a bicycle was a more serious crime fifty or sixty years back – as it was the only form of transport for most working people, a theft was ceertain to be reported. Fortunately we have the historical data on bicycle theft, as reported by Norman Dennis again, in ‘Rising Crime and the Dismembered Family’.

‘In the Sunderland of 1938 the bicycle, in number and as a working-class possession of value and means of transport, was roughly comparable to the motor car today. In the whole of that year, in the whole of the
town, 50 were known by the police to have been stolen.5 In the first six months of 1993 90 cars were stolen or broken into in Sunderland on a single car park of 197 spaces.’

I’m unlikely to visit Sunderland in the near future, unless the Baggies stay up. But I wish he’d named that car park. Avoid the one that says ‘197 spaces’.

? The loss of deference right across the social scene has left many of our citizens convinced that they have the right to do what they want when they want, a problem that has even spread to schools and to hospital A & E departments.

This is of course an important point, and one which starts to get to the heart of the matter. But it has nothing to do with perceived crime rates, and everything to do with actual crime rates. Nor does it explain why a loss of deference should automatically imply an increase in crime. What it boils down to is that many of our citizens, a much higher percentage than fifty years ago, have no concern or consideration for others, and are prepared to break rules and laws to get what they want. We call these people ‘criminals’.

? Relatively few people had their property insured - with no prospect of an insurance payout many crimes went unreported. Nowadays the Crime Number is all-important so the statistics go up.

This is certainly an argument, but one for which (to my knowledge) no actual evidence has ever been presented. It relies for its force on the assumption that people in times past treated thefts and burglaries as routine. The only source of possible evidence for this is literature, autobiography, and interviews with the elderly. I don’t know of any evidence from such sources that supports it.

The Magistrate seems like a decent sort. I just worry he's hanging out with the wrong people - Home Office advisers, the Magistrate's Association and the like. Or maybe he's taking seriously what they tell him. To repeat myself :

Image of magistrates as hard-headed traditional types ? Forty years too late mate - this gives more of a flavour of today's Bench.

"Magistrates rate Probation as having a greater effect on reducing crime than Prison.
Eight out of ten agree that community sentences punish offenders.
Eight out of ten agree that community sentences enable offenders to pay back to the community.
Seven out of ten agree that community sentences help to rehabilitate offenders.
Magistrates are not aware yet of the evidence that Probation programmes reduce re-offending.
Magistrates seem to want wider public support for their use of community penalties."

I like "Magistrates are not aware yet of the evidence that Probation programmes reduce re-offending." That's because there isn't any.