Michael Howard Misleads the Nation

Here he is, speaking in Middlesborough today on the subject of crime:

Government ministers cite the British Crime Survey as evidence that there has been a steady decline in crime over the last nine years. But the BCS excludes lots of crimes from its calculations – such as murder, crimes against children under sixteen, sexual offences, dealing and taking drugs and shoplifting. It is estimated that around twelve million crimes a year don’t even make it onto the BCS radar.The most reliable crime statistics – those crimes actually recorded by the police – show that crime in Englandand Wales has risen by almost 850,000 in the last five years.

Happily, we in the Republic of Blogs have already had Chris Lightfoot address this topic here and here, so we have powerful reasons for suspecting that Michael Howard is talking out of his arse.(Any idea where he gets this “estimate” of twelve million crimes from, anyone? Is it just the difference between the reported crime figures and some kind of extrapolation out of the numbers dug out of the BCS; is it produced by totting up the reported crime figures for murder, crimes against children, etc.; or is it just plucked from Howard’s own [or, indeed, somebody else’s] arse?)

Great West Indian Cricketers

So there was some discussion of the Greatest West Indian Cricketers while I was away, over here especially.

I’m too young to have anything coherent to say about any of the great players before 1984, except to repeat whatever it is that C. L. R. James says about them in Beyond a Boundary, but I just wanted to enter the controversy about the absence of bowlers from the approved list to say that if I were to draw up a list of the best five or the best six or whatever West Indian cricketers of all time ever then Curtly Ambrose would be somewhere on that list (along with everybody else’s choices).

Now the press tells me that he’s playing the bass guitar in a reggae band. Good for him.