Monday, 23 March 2009

Canvassing on crime

I wonder what the level of local concern about issues of law and order really is, and I wonder how far it is based on objective information. The picture shows the latest damage to the previously repaired new lantern at the renewed entrance to St Michael’s to prove that the local Ward is not free from anti-social behaviour, and being subject to it is immensely frustrating. But today Jonathan Aitken launches ‘Locked Up Potential’, his report for a Conservative ‘Think Tank’ about the way in which our present prison system actually increases reoffending rates; he freely admits that popular perception does not see this and that his own back bench speeches on the subject before he experienced prison himself totally failed to understand what he now finds self evident.

Our local Council by-election has a candidate from ‘the Generalist Party’, a local initiative of which I’d been previously only peripherally aware without knowing anything about it. His leaflet has now come through the door - it does not include anything to tell me about a single policy he’d like to see the local Council implement, which is quite an achievement for a principal piece of election publicity. It does identify the issues which he hears local people say affects them as ‘The complete lack of facilities for the Younger and Older generations, the terrifying rise in crime and the lack of prevention methods!’, not one part of which is strictly true in relation to the Ward as far as I’m aware.

A second BNP leaflet has also arrived, and it actually looks more balanced and detailed if the Generalist leaflet is taken as a benchmark, and it has more visible policing as its lead item on both sides. I notice two peripheral details. One is that the publication address of leaflets for the other four candidates is local but for the BNP it is a PO Box in Worcester. The other is that tick boxes for a person’s title on the form which can be cut out and sent off for further information includes ‘Rev’ alongside ‘Dr’, ‘Mr’, ‘Mrs’, ‘Miss’ and ‘Ms’, which I’d like to think is a witty riposte to the General Synod’s recent resolution that membership of the BNP is incompatible with being a serving priest, but I fear it may be more cynical than that.

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