January 26, 2005

Pot and Kettle

Brits like to characterise America as a violent lawless place, so unlike these gentle shores, populated with the sensible people sharing enlightened Euro-values. Once again, it is time to put this in perspective with those pesky little crime figures. With a Government that spins everything on an axis tilted to give it an eternal summer, they were hard pressed to get out of the hard, cold facts.

Violent crime is up by six percent. No big surprise there. This is a violent country. People used to just beat the crap out of each other, but since the Government took away all the guns in their first year in power, gun crime has steadily risen. Firearms offences rose by another five percent last year to 10,670.

Sexual offences rose by 22%. The Government explains that this rise is due to the creation of new offences, such as administering a date-rape drug. So in other words, people were doing some really bad things already -- we just hadn't bothered criminalising it until now.

Some of this may be related to the fact admitted by the Home Secretary that one in four boys between the ages of 14 and 17 admits to being a serious, or prolific, offender. The Government did not say what percentage they comprise of the 3.8 million active offenders in England and Wales. That is over 7% of the overall population.

The Home Secretary blames much of the problem on alcohol. “We are building a massive problem for the future if we do not really hammer alcohol-related crime. There is no doubt about that, for both health and social reasons. Anyone who goes on to the streets of some of our town centres on Friday or Saturday nights knows there is a major issue that needs to be addressed. There has not been sufficient working together between communities themselves, police and the alcohol industry themselves to ensure people behave in a responsible way.”

Notice that everyone else is to blame: communities, police, the alcohol industry. This is the same Government that has now changed the law to allow alcohol to be sold 24 hours a day. This is to reduce drinking. I kid you not. If pubs don't close at 11pm and clubs can stay open past 2am, then there will be a reduction in binge drinking, because everyone won't be trying to get drunk as fast as possible. Then they won't all spill out of pubs and clubs at the same time, so there will be no more street violence. According to opinion polls, no one believes this except for the Government.

The real Government policy: Let them get as drunk as they want to and stay drunk all night long. As long as they don't leave the pubs and clubs, there won't be that peksy CCTV footage of street fights to show on telly.

If most Americans could see the real Britain at night - and this sort of thing is the usual experience even in backwater cities like Hooterville - they would realise what a more civilised nation they are.

Posted by david at January 26, 2005 05:51 PM | TrackBack