Please can we keep the Scots? I’m fairly sure they drive the average IQ up, at least compared to the English Parliament nutters…
Mr Eugenides is an extremely offensive and ranty, but also highly entertaining and generally honest, blogger. I disagree with him on most things, and sometimes feel that his commentary on female Labour MPs’ stupidity goes beyond the stick they deserve for their actions into misogynistic territory, but overall he’s a principled and reasonable right-libertarian.
Unfortunately, he’s decided to go on holiday and put his mates Carpsio and Moai in charge. I say unfortunately because, in three posts they’ve made, they’ve managed to fall for three of the most obvious and ridiculous libertoonian [*] myths:
1) “the government is evil to small businesses by making them pay for maternity leave. The government should reimburse companies for maternity pay. But they won’t, the bastards”.
Fact: they do. Moai’s suggestion would be worse than the status quo, as it’d only help tax-paying profitable businesses and not start-ups.
2) “the BBC and the Guardian are evil lying scum for suggesting that Ofcom condemned the Global Warming Swindle documentary”.
Fact: Ofcom found that the programme was unfair, partial, and misrepresented significant views on the subject. It rejected the complaint that the programme had ‘materially misled’ the audience. So that’s OK then.
3) “Everyone who dies of malaria dies because of Rachel Carson, because she got DDT banned”
Fact: DDT has never been banned for use against malaria. Rachel Carson only sought to get DDT banned for use as an agricultural pesticide, partly because that use made it less effective as an antimalarial drug. Everyone serious in the malaria field accepts that this is the case, even the ones who aren’t hippies.
On the plus side, the superb Reactionary Snob has also been drafted in. Hopefully he’ll address the balance a little…
Update: commendably, Carpsio was extremely quick to correct post #3. No sign as yet on the maternity pay one…
[*] libertoonian = someone who became a libertarian because they’re grumpy about how the Metro says their tax money is wasted and hate politicians, rather than because they believe that political theory and history shows a minarchist state is the best way to maximise the general happiness of the people.
Scarily, they’re both made by the same fat Australian political activist. Good work Mr Ireland.
On the grounds of ‘what goes around comes around’ [*], as well as on the general grounds of free speech, let me join the chorus of people supporting slightly demented Decent Left blog Harry’s Place in the libel suit that Hamas UK brought for calling them antisemitic.
Normally, calling somebody antisemitic is a pretty horrible libel and one of the few uses of the libel law that I’d suggest was justified; however, in the case of an organisation whose manifesto states that “the Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews…The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him“, it’s pretty much a fair cop…
[*] a long time ago, far away; if you don’t know, you don’t need to know.
“People”, “knife”, “crime”, “statistics”, “public” and “law” seem to be pretty high up.
Since the main point of this blog is to use stats and logic to highlight when general commentary on a major issue is wrong, I guess the main lesson is that commentators at present are more outrageously wrong about knife crime than finance or transport.
Which, given the appallingly low quality of finance and transport coverage, is a bit disturbing.
Unfortunately, the comments indicate why we’re never going to get anywhere with the criminal justice system, other than locking up more people for being black and scary with no discernible benefit to anyone – the complete and utter cognitive dissonance of the public on the issue.
This is a shining example:
On the issue of violent crime per se, the statement that Sunny made that ‘overall violent crime has decreased by 41% since a peak in 1995′ is not believable.
Sunny, never understimate ‘common sense’. People have a fairly good idea of what is going on around them ….
Nonsesne. Common sense is the most overrated tool in the box and the cause of most stupid actions; and people have absolutely fuck all idea of what is going on around them. If you trust some random members of the public over the wider body of academic research on any issue, then you’re almost certainly wrong and definitely an idiot.
Unfortunately, most people on most issues trust random members of the public over the wider body of academic research, because most people aren’t very bright. Never mind that the conclusions it leads them to are entirely wrong; at least it saves them having to think…
Mark Easton at the BBC has a superb piece that’s saved me the effort of doing my normal thing (dammit!) – he’s looked at the actual statistics and discovered that knife crime is up slightly in some ropey bits of London, and not at all elsewhere.
A very sensible point that Mr Easton makes, as also made coherently and provocatively by Dave Osler at Liberal Conspiracy, is that the massive and deranged overhyping of the non-event that is knife crime is only going to encourage kids to carry knives, because they’ll be a) worried that they’ll get knived and b) keen to stick it to the patronising idiots who think that knife-carrying is The Worst Thing Ever.
Unsurprisingly, David Cameron’s take on the whole issue is to demand that anyone found carrying a knife should be jailed with no exceptions. I’m sure that the picnic-goers and sausage-cutters of the world will be reassured by that one…
(and yes, Mr Cameron suggests the police should ‘use discretion’ in deciding who to prosecute. This is not the way the law works, and not the way the law should work – if something is a crime, then everyone who does it should be prosecuted; if it is not, then no-one who does it should be prosecuted. The police’s job is to enforce the law, not to decide when to enforce it and when to ignore it.)
Meanwhile, in a sane parallel universe somewhere, the only worry people have about crime is why we waste so much time and so many lives on sending people to jail, when [pointed hyperbole] crime is completely trivial and not-worth-bothering-with [/pointed hyperbole]. Unfortunately, on this earth people don’t understand statistics but do understand emotivised tabloid nonsense… roll on the teleporter.
It’s like a 1950s children’s guide to the police, but ever so slightly different. Excellent comedy.