Saturday, April 30, 2005

Youth And Age (And Crime Figures)

The police say that the 86 year old woman, found bruised, dehydrated and cowering under a pile of clothes in her utility room, dying two days later in hospital, was not murdered. Apparently she died of 'natural causes' - as you do when you've been beaten up in your own home aged 86. She'd lived there for 60 years.

She was traumatised when found and could only whimper. From her hospital bed she whispered 'have the two boys who hurt my head gone away ?'. The house was disordered.

Meanwhile in Anglesey there are problems with vandalism and anti-social behaviour. Two weeks ago it was reported that "One tiny village, Dwyran, has become a no-go zone at night after becoming terrorised by yob gangs. Extra police were drafted in to deal with the problem, but their patrol car was trashed as they walked the streets." Funny - North Wales Police are so good when it comes to speeding drivers and racism.

Let's just go back to the theory again.

Home Office minister Hazel Blears on anti-social behaviour :

"we are seeing much more cooperation from the courts in making sure decent people who are prepared to stand up and challenge this behaviour are properly protected."

Alwyn Jones stood up and challenged the behaviour. Just like William Bird did in Bridgwater.

A man is being
treated for stab wounds after apparently confronting a gang of youths outside his home.

Alwyn Jones, who is thought to be in his 50s, is in a serious condition in hospital following the incident in a small village in Anglesey, north Wales.

Witnesses claimed Mr Jones, believed to be a father of five, was attacked after shouting at the gang for throwing stones.

A neighbour, who did not wish to be named, said the gang, who are thought to be between 18 and 20, were laughing and cheering as Mr Jones collapsed.

Every time an incident like this occurs (and there have been many), a few hundred more people take note and decide that they won't intervene when they see anti-social behaviour. This is to some extent encouraged by the police, who would rather we locked ourselves in our homes and dialled 999. So a culture dies.

Back to the poor old lady.

The figures for householders killed by burglars, supplied by the Home Office in 2001 to the Tony Martin Support Group (scroll down from top of page to see figures), tell a sombre tale. Even looking at the raw data makes one shiver.

"Male,90 - Strangulation"
"Female, 91 - Beating"
"Female, 87 - Blunt instr"

The octogenarian couple suffocated by three men. These perpetrators, remember, are the guys the Liberal Democrats think should have the vote.

The risk of being murdered in your home by a burglar is still statistically low - but it is five times greater for over-75s and ten times greater for over 85s. You could argue that there's a low-intensity war being waged by the young on the old.

The Magistrate, whose blog is generally excellent, seems surprisingly to have been converted to the 'moral panic' liberal view that real crime hasn't increased.

"The only thing of which I am sure is that nobody knows how much crime there is, or how much crime there was in the old days. If anyone tells you that they do know, you know that you are listening to nonsense."

So there's no way we can say that crime's increased, is there ? Maybe the teachers unions have always been calling for metal detectors, CCTV, a police station on the premises and compulsory parenting classes. Maybe.

I'll have to repeat myself and quote Norman Dennis at Civitas blog.

In the first eleven months of 2004, the year of Mr Blunkett's departure, with December's figure of about 2,500 still to be added in, there have been 33,673 personal-property robberies in London--with December included, not fewer than 36,000 for the full year.

Thus Mr Blunkett has not succeeded in getting the figures back even to the 35,709 personal-property robberies of 2000. Mr Blunkett was all the further, of course, from getting back to the figure with which Mr Straw began, the 27,000 of 1997, which included business robberies as well.

Robberies of personal property in London is a good figure to take. The Home Office is directly responsible for London's policing. There's been no significant change in how it robbery is defined. The category of "robberies" has hardly affected by changes in recording practices by the police. The British Crime Survey has too few cases of robbery for it to be of much use, so the Home Office uses the police figures. The figures are right up to date, so officials and ministers cannot claim that things have (unprovably) improved since the figures were collected.

For all these reasons, the usual slipping and sliding between one set of figures and another is not possible here.

On the assumption that the December 2004 figure will be very low at 2,500, robberies in London would have fallen from 48,000 in 2001 to 36,000 in 2004.

But as late as 1990 there weren't as many as 36,000 robberies in the whole of England and Wales!

Taking the generous and hopeful estimate I suggested above--that the figure for London for December 2004 might be only 2,500--as late as 1961 there weren't as many as 2,500 robberies a year in the whole of England and Wales.

In the year David Blunkett became Home Secretary, 2001, there were 5,900 robberies in Lambeth alone. The national figure for robberies did not exceed 5,900 until 1969.

It is scarcely an occasion for popular celebration when the figure for Lambeth alone in the first 11 months of this year is 2,419. For this is more than the national figure of robberies for the full twelve months of 1961, 2,349, just before the cultural revolution began to shower its blessings upon us.

No the wonder people "fear" that crime is growing. People would have had to be extremely stupid not to come to fear crime. The stupid thing is to say that the fear of crime is "as much the problem" as crime itself.

Friday, April 29, 2005

You have to admire ...

The utter foolishness and futility of this gesture.

A book of easy to prepare, healthy recipes aimed at homeless people has been launched in Oxford.
The Have a Heart Cookbook is aimed at those living in city shelters or alone on a tight budget.
The free book has been put together and funded by a network of community caterers and cooks across the city.
The recipes have been designed by a community dietician to ensure they are healthy and include ideas ranging from breakfasts to desserts.

I wonder what exactly a 'community caterer' is ? Would they be by any chance related to the people who have put the Turkey Twizzler in every school ?

But there was one item which would always have to be on the right-on menu. Forget the Special Brew lunch boys, get into some of that 'stir-fried tofu with black bean sauce' !

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Daisy, Daisy

As the first reports emerge of HIV among 14-year-olds, a wonderful new teen craze hits the headlines.

The trend spells even more trouble for Britain’s epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Among teenagers, such infections have doubled in ten years, with new cases among those under 20 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland up from 669,291 in 1991 to 1,332,910 in 2001.

A million kids a year with STI's ? Whatever shall we do ?

£138 million has been allocated since 1998 to fund the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy, which involves making the morning-after pill, condoms and sex education more easily available.

Phew ! That'll sort it.

I was reminded of this City Journal report, on the syphilis outbreak in Rockdale County five years ago. Read the whole thing.

Never Forget

The 90th anniversary of the slaughter of Armenian Christians by the Ottoman Turks.

These days, like a modern, liberal, European nation, Turkey is overwhelmed by guilt at past injustices to her minority citizens - the Armenians and Kurds.

It's also the AGM (Today report, RealAudio) of Wyevale Garden Centres, perpetrators of a hideous massacre a year ago.

BNP Activists Sentenced For Murdering Bangladeshi

Another Laban Tall exclusive.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

It's Kennedy Fever !

CHARLES KENNEDY’S election campaign sparked into life last night as hundreds of supporters had to be locked out of his first election mass meeting.
About 500 people crowded into the Guildhall at Cambridge, on the day that the former Labour MP Brian Sedgemore defected to the Liberal Democrats.

Hundreds more queued in the rain outside but were turned away. Mr Kennedy went outside to address them in the market square where, in unscripted remarks delivered through a megaphone, he told the crowd: “We’re on the move”.

Fair fa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!

Six Months

For firing an unloaded air pistol at the pavement.

Now how about six months for waving a toy gun ?

New Labour - tough on toy gun crime.

Light Blogging ...

Because for some reason my connection's running like a dog this am and connections are slow. So you'll have to go to Mirabilis to find out about more Chinese mummies as well as Roman lead mines , to the Pooter of Geek for a touching love story, or Eric for a link to a pathetic Muriel Gray article which happily confirms all my prejudices about her.

"Feeling abused and targeted by a suspicious white community, fuelled on Daily Mail and Michael Howard’s hatred, and then bullied and intimidated by fundamentalist thugs from their own religion, I simply can’t see any clear path for them (young British Muslims) that leads into joyous, untroubled, life-affirming adult enlightenment."

For 'joyous, untroubled, life-affirming adult enlightenment' read 'being someone like me'.

And the Pub Philosopher reports more police action against the BNP. I can't comment on the video as the BNP site appears to be offline, but I've pointed out before the long-term futility of such action, quite apart from it being wrong in itself.

Last, another tale from the land of 'I may disagree with what you say, and I will try to stop you saying it'.

Kirklees Council chiefs cancelled an on-line St George's Day discussion for being too `offensive'.

Communications bosses slapped a gag on an internal council chatroom after five complaints over the "tone and content" of contributions.

The chatroom, which council staff have access to from work computers during breaks, became heated after a community cohesion worker asked about the relevance and importance of St George's Day.

One reply from a worker whose father immigrated to England in the 1950s and said he wanted to throw his passport in the skip, led to a flurry of responses both for and against with one poster even writing: "I am Asian but I love England it's my home and it will always be my first choice no matter what."

Mirfield councillor Martyn Bolt has questioned the decision to gag people who wanted to talk about St George's Day and the English national identity.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Now Listen Up ....

That posh Today presenter opens a conversation with Conservative education spokesman Tim Collins by remarking that while Labour talk about "education, education, education", the Tories talk about immigration. Tim gets a bit cross (RealAudio) and notes 'the institutional Leftism of the BBC'.

Tell it like it is !

UK Religious Right ?

A few more stirrings in the undergrowth. Here's Peter Glover's blog.

Get yourself a blogspot account, Peter !

I like this, though.

"Veteran Labour backbencher Brian Sedgemore, having apparently come out of a persistent vegetative state, has had an epiphany. Realizing that over two years ago his Prime Minister must have told him a 'porky' he decided today to act upon that knowledge 'for the good of all'. Though he had kept this fact locked within him for some two years, unable, so it seems, to speak and alert anyone to the fact, he must have suffered grievously.

But now, having finally regained his physical capacities, after such an extended period being comatose, Mr Sedgemore has put an end to his own mental suffering on the issue - choosing to join the Liberal Democrats. RIP."

Social Mobility

Meaders at Dead Men Left is puzzled at the decline of social mobility since the grammar schools, traditionally the route upwards for bright working class children, were abolished 30 years back.

"What's quite startling about the decline in social mobility in recent years is that it appears to be linked to the expansion of higher education. Expanding access to universities without whilst substantially worsening the financial barriers to entry - as has happened in Britain, at an accelerating pace, since the early 1990s - simply allocates more university places to the children of the rich."

Of course - nothing to do with grammar schools - it must be those evil tuition fees, which have only existed for the last few years anyway. Not enough time for their effects to feed through. Meaders seems an intelligent chap - he just doesn't want to look in that direction.

There's an interesting thesis to be written on when the Left started to be afraid of competition outside of the economic sphere. A hundred years ago, under the spell of Darwinism, competition and the survival of the fittest was quite an acceptable doctrine. After all, would not the virile working class inevitably come to overtake the effete capitalists, the tired sons of a long line of rich men ? Would working class children not show that they were just as bright as the wealthy ?

"Brothers ! Is not one man as good as another ?"

"Aye ! And a devilish bit better, too !"

Nowadays failure at 11-plus will apparently scar a child for life. Hence the millions of wrecked individuals who make Kent and Buckinghamshire (to name two of the counties who have maintained grammar schools) no go areas for the rest of us.

The strange thing is that while children at school are protected from competition, in the outside culture winning is everything, far more so than it was 50 years ago. A killer feature of reality shows is when someone gets chopped, whether by Simon Cowell, Alan Sugar or the Big Brother voters. The VIP zone in nightclubs is an accepted fixture. In some ways we're going back 150 years, and the phrase 'do you know who I am ?' is being heard again, whether from a drunken head of the Commission For Racial Equality, or a drunken footballer in a nightclub.

Snafu at Not Proud Of Britain reckons trashing education is called retaining the core vote.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

More Criminal Justice

What do you get four years (you're eligible for release after two) for nowadays ?

Stabbing your husband to death, a neighbour to death, dropping heavy objects onto strangers from a motorway bridge, killing innocents by driving dangerously, shaking a baby to death, smuggling dope for paramilitaries, locking a child in a skip and burning him to death (reduced to three years on appeal), killing a woman rather unpleasantly with a golf umbrella. Nearly all acts which end in the deaths of innocents.

Or you could possess an unlicensed revolver. In a drawer at your mum's house.

A collector of World War II memorabilia has been jailed for four years after a pistol which he had hung on a wall turned out to be a prohibited weapon.
David Elwyn Richards, 35, of Rhos, near Wrexham, said he had not realised the pistol could be fired and was illegal.

Police found the military-issue revolver and an air rifle, which he was banned from owning due to a previous jail sentence, during a search.

Gosh - and an air-rifle ! Now the guy's obviously got some previous. We don't know what. But I don't get the impression he's a professional hit-man. The judge certainly didn't, reducing what we'd all been told was a mandatory five year sentence to - four years.

A couple of years ago you'd only get 18 months for driving round London with a loaded Brocock in the car. But since gangstas shot two young girls in Birmingham Blunkett's new laws have been passed. And what's easier - to go after gangsters in Brum and South London, or to hassle a collector ? A no-brainer really.

"The overall purpose of this specific legislation is to reduce the number of firearms in circulation," said Judge Rogers.

"It does not matter for what purpose someone has possession of a prohibited weapon.

"In the end, I have to remember that Parliament has indicated a five year minimum and I can only go below that in exceptional circumstances.

"I go as low as I can but I cannot go lower than four years."

Nothing like targeting the bad guys. Meanwhile ...