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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Tory crime policy based on TV show?

Sadly, not Strictly Come Dancing, where people phone-vote for which minor criminal has done the best tango.
But, in fact, The Wire. "The Conservatives have compared parts of the UK to The Wire, a US television show which portrays inner-city drugs and violence."
Some really top work by Sunny H at Liberal Conspiracy:
"So how well versed with The Wire was Mr Grayling?

When asked on BBC News this morning it seemed Mr Grayling was trying to wing it.

Interviewer: Have you really seen any more than that first episode?
Grayling: Yes I’ve seen a number of … I’ve seen most of the first series. I have seen a number of the other episodes yes. I have.

Oh dear.

Perhaps he should heed the call of the show’s writer himself, who once said it would was dangerous to create policy based on the show.

It is possible that a few thinking viewers, after experiencing a season or two of The Wire, might be inclined, the next time they hear some politician declaring that with more prison cells, more cops, more lawyers, and more mandatory sentences that the war on drugs is winnable, to say, aloud: “You are hopelessly full of shit.”"



Now, the interesting bit: the statistics:

Why, he may be talking directly about Chris Grayling himself.

And what about the stats themselves then? Michael White writes:

Now down to the stats. The city of Baltimore, where The Wire was set by local reporter David Simon, has a population of around 640,000 and a murder rate – falling, I am happy to note – of 234 in 2008, down from 282 in 2007 after rows about fiddled figures – a detail which echoes the TV series.

Is that around 40 murders per 100,000? That’s around six times the New York rate of 6.3 per 100,000 in 2008 (523 murders, slightly up on 2007) and a lot, lot higher than the UK – where the murder rate per 100,000 is around 1.4, slightly higher than France, lower than Scotland (2.56), a lot lower than South Africa (49.6). The overall US murder rate is 5.5 – a quarter of post-Soviet Russia’s.

In fact, the common thread linking murder rates in every country appears to be extremes of wealth and poverty, despair, plus the easy jump that makes to drug-related crime.

PS Context: of the 1,574 youngsters who died between 10 and 19 in 2008 half did so because of illness, 546 in accidents, and 84 in suicides – slightly more than those murdered.

But when you’ve got a ‘Broken Society’ narrative to sell, who cares about the stats or thoughts of whether it’s wise to make judgements after watching a couple of episodes of a TV series?"

I like the end bit so much i'm going to say it again for added effect:
"But when you’ve got a ‘Broken Society’ narrative to sell, who cares about the stats or thoughts of whether it’s wise to make judgements after watching a couple of episodes of a TV series?"

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