MichaelCD - The Blog.

The thoughts of Michael Cadwallader. Coffee loving, history book reading, Cheshire man.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

A Christmas Carol........

There is no more perfect day for bad economic data to come out, than this. It gives us the opportunity to paint Gordon Brown as a latter-day Ebenezer Scrooge. No bad thing in my mind!

The BBC may call the economy 'impressive', due to hardly sparkling GDP growth, but who has benefited from this impressive economy? Young people who have entered into the much vaunted 'New Deal', clearly haven't. Perhaps that's why Tony fails to mention it now, when talking about New Labour's 'achievments'. And then there is your average worker, facing inflation creeping ever higher. Add in Gordon's obsession with taxing things like petrol, and council tax rises, and you find the poor now pay a higher share of taxes.

The link to today's news? I think that there is a direct link between this impoverishing tax burden and crime. And that this has been starkly illustrated in a leaked report:

MINISTERS have been warned that crime is to rise for the first time in 12 years, according to a leaked Downing Street report.

A newspaper reported last night that the document, drawn up by the No 10 strategy unit, warned that a slowdown in economic growth was threatening to reverse recent falls in crime levels. Also, the report was said to predict that the prison population would rise by 25% over the next five years, from 80,000 to more than 100,000 - outstripping the planned rate of growth in prison places.

It suggested that the government consider other remedies, such as rationing the amount of alcohol people can buy, prescribing heroin instead of methadone to addicts, and "chemical castration" for sex offenders.

The report said that 80% of the recent decrease in crime was due to economic factors, but that improvement was now in jeopardy.

"Unless action is taken, economic and social pressures are expected to put recent falls in crime under threat," it said.

Now, I am not a marxist (obviously!) , so I do not believe in a solely 'homo-economicus' explanation for crime. A large percentage of the decrease in crime figures has been automotive and, in my opinion, more than likely due to increasingly sophisticated alarms. That said, economic reasons are a factor that will motivate many opportunist crimes. A snatched handbag, a mobile phone swiped (happened to me) and an unlocked car, all provide an opportunity to the desperate and capricious. The capriciousness and feeble mindedness of petty criminals will remain locked in their personality; it's more than likely they would commit crimes whatever the circumstances. But when desperation, caused by the economic policies pursued by the government, is factored in, the mix becomes particualry toxic. So, to see an increase in this sort of crime would be quite simply the most damming indictment of Gordon Brown's Chancellorship, yet.

Finally, I would like to wish everybody a merry Christmas, yes, even dear old Gordon, and a happy new year. I would also like to thank those bloggers who who have been kind enough to link to me, God bless you and your families.

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