progress is not the elimination of struggle, but rather a change in its terms’ - Aneurin Bevan

well, you can prove anything with facts, can't you?


Crime stats give the latest interesting news. Across England and Wales crime is down 8% on last year. Certainly puts Tory claims of a broken society in a new light.

In the midst of the worst recession since WW2, criminal activity is falling. What gives?
Car crime fell by a fifth and the number of robberies showed a reduction of 9%.
Ministers say the British Crime Survey's separate study reveals that the risk of being a victim of crime has reached its lowest recorded level.

According to the quarterly crime figures covering July to September 2009, there were falls in all categories of recorded crime over the period, with the exception of sexual offences which rose 5%.


Home Office experts say they do not know why sexual offences rose although police chiefs have been encouraging more women to come forward to report complaints.
I'd say this last bit might be particularly true. Stereotypes are being challenged through a bold advertising campaign, though the odd Tory councillor might make sick jokes...


Strategies to improve service delivery include eliminating all targets except those for public satisfaction, and police forces working with other agencies and local communities in setting priorities.

There's been a shift back to community policing from the 'rapid response' approach of the Tory years, with police community support officers helping to improve communication between local communities and police forces. There are fourteen thousand more police officers than in 1997 and sixteen thousand PSCOs working with 3600 Neighbourhood Policing Teams.


Far from being tough on crime, the Tories would not keep funding this level of service delivery. Tory councils show their approach - effective provision is being cut down to "no-frills" basic service. For policing, this would mean going back to the days when to speak to your local police officer about a problem you'd have to wait for a passing police car and try to get the officers' attention...


+ + +


On public debt, though borrowing is at it's highest recorded level in terms of numbers, as a share of GDP it's about to hit 70%. Ann Pettifor gives us this nice graph to illustrate the significance in historical terms:





What the graph shows is that borrowing as a share of GDP has been much higher, and that Tory hysteria about debt levels mask a deep divide in interests. After WW2, the Labour government fought an election campaign on rebuilding from the crisis of war.


Churchill blew it for the Tories, claiming that the Gestapo would be needed for Labour to introduce the NHS. Now, we have Tories like Dan Hannan claiming that the health service is a failed experiment. The faces change, but the interests remain the same.


As Pettifor writes,


In 1946 Britain's debt was roughly 5 times what it is today - a staggering 250% of GDP. At that point an extraordinary thing happened. The heavily indebted Labour government began to spend - as soon as legislation was agreed by Parliament. Labour invested in a bold and visionary project: - a publicly funded health service free at the point of use - the NHS. There was a slum clearance and housing programme. They revived the ancient universities, provided pensions and welfare to the poor [emphasis added]




The debt levels came down as a result.


Today, it was announced that public debt had increased by less than expected and as Larry Elliott reports:


the independent Institute for Fiscal Studies said there was a good chance that the deficit for the full year would come in below Alistair Darling's £178bn forecast in the pre-budget report.


There's a chance for new growth, this time in the transition to a low-carbon economy, which can save us money and create thousands of jobs in this country.


But since the Tories have money flowing into their coffers from financial service companies and other business concerns that make far more money overseas than domestically, there's an obvious lack of interest in developing the UK economy...



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