Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Henry Smith caught out by police

Henry Smith is under fire, according to the Crawley News, for exaggerating the threat of crime.

He claimed that the latest statistics demonstrated a daily crime wave targetting school children.

It turns out that in the area of Sussex that Crawley is in, 28 pupils were victims of mugging. That's not even weekly, Henry. Oh, and street robberies went down by 30%. Across the whole of Sussex (that's East, West and Brighton & Hove City combined) the total was 171. Every single one is a crime, and all are to be condemned, but that's not exactly a 'daily crime wave'.

Now, is Henry hyping crime figures for a reason? Is he creating fear for political gain?

11 comments:

Richard W. Symonds said...

Yes.

Danivon said...

Well, I tried to ask Henry via the Maidenbower Forum, but my comment was removed. I was perhaps a little facetious, but pretending I never asked? Hardly open...

I will wait a while and try him again.

Gordon Seekings said...

Shame on you Owen for even thinking that Henry is creating fear for political gain.....hang on though, wasn't that done before, at the 1992 General Election, by another political party in Crawley when they thought they could beat the then MP Nicklearse Soames. :-)

Danivon said...

You'll have to educate me a bit, Gordon. I'm guessing you mean Labour, but I'm floundering as to the fear?

If it was on crime, well, crime levels were about double the current ones in the mid 90s. If it was the economy, we had net unemployment for the first time in Crawley and were in the middle of a recession. If it was Health, the idea of closing Crawley Hospital completely came while Mr Soames was about and he seemed fairly amenable to the idea in 1996. What was it?

Mind you, I do recall one of those Lib Dem leaflets from 92 with the out of scale graph which suggested that the Salads were in a three way fight. It scared the willies out of me, the thought of a Lib Dem MP - luckily it wasn't in any way realistic.

Gordon Seekings said...

You may or may not know that I was the candidate for the Lib Dems (note not "salads" by then as you so quaintly put it) but it does mean I have all of the leaflets from that General Election to look at. :-))

There are NO out of scale graphs on them.

On the Post Office delivered Freepost leaflet there is a map of the then constituency showing that Crawley itself was only (approx) a third of the seat. That is a geographic fact. You may not like it but that's what it was. In the remaining two thirds of the seat Labour did not even have candidates for most of it at the previous District or County elections. The Lib Dems did.

The phrase used was "we suggest that only the Liberal Democrats can beat the tories here". You may want to look back to the result at the 1983 GE (only 9 years previous at that time) when Labour got 26.2% and the then Alliance got 25.7%.

In one of the other Lib Dem leaflets there was a map of the UK showing all the seats that would have gone Lib Dem if the percentages in the survey done by, going from memory NOP, who answered yes to the question "would you vote for the Lib Dems if you thought they could win in this seat". It did NOT show Crawley as one of those.

Stick to facts Owen - it makes for a better quality debate - and don't let your party political predjudices get in the way.

Sorry if I scared you with the thought that I would be an MP though. :-)) My only answer however to you on that is tough. At least I think I would have done better than one or two others who got elected at that time!

Danivon said...

Oh, so it was a misleading map, avoiding the fact that the large areas were far less populous than urban Crawley. I knew it was some dubious tactic, but I must of confused it with a LibDem leaflet in Manchester from 97. Sorry about that :-)

(oh, I note you don't mention the 1987 election in your response - surely the most recent contest was more relevant to the situation)

But, you didn't answer my question on your original comment - what fear were you talking about.

Gordon Seekings said...

No - the map was geographical exact.

I'm not sure I've still got the exact number of voters in each of the wards that made up the old Crawley Constituency now but the number of households outside the Crawley BC boundary was very similar to those within.

The reason I can recollect this is that working out the numbers of leaflets we needed on a one per household basis, at a pre-election stage for costings, we were very surprised to find that the numbers were so similar to those inside. Basically we had not expected that.

I think where you may be getting a little confused is that at that time large chunks of Bewbush (plus bits of Broadfield) had either not been built or had been built too late for the occupants to be on the electoral register so were not part of the equation. You can also add into that a bit of Ifield being in Horsham, plus a bit of Pound Hill North being in East Surrey etc. etc.

It might sound like a bit of a lame excuse but the exact details on these latter ones escapes me after 15 years!

So far as the reference to "scare stories" are concerned it was in a copy of Press Release we were shown from Labour. It made reference to the fact there had been a dramatic increase in the number of race related crimes in the area. What was not mentioned was that the basis for compiling the figures had changed.

Whereas before the Police had to say it was a race related crime for it to be catagorised as one the basis had now changed to one of if the victim thought it was one. The result was as the Press Release said, a dramatic increase in the number of reported race crimes, only the jump was caused by under reporting previously.

One crime of this sort is serious enough (and I had/have no arguments with the basis of the change in reporting methods) but it was to say the least a bit disengenious of Labour.

Danivon said...

Well, however geographically accurate your maps were (and however they ignored fact that much of the extra-urban areas were woodland and fields), clearly it didn't help much, as the Lib Dems slipped even further back that year.

Now, it's very dfficult to find facts about crime figures from 15 years ago. So I can't be sure whether the trend in Sussex was different to the national one at the same time, or whether things like the BCS survey also registered an increase in racially motivated attacks in the same period.

I don't think we can be sure on stuff from that far back. As a callow 17 year old at the time, I can quite happily disavow all reponsibility.

So, back to the here and now, Gordon - do you think Henry has been overzealous here?

Gordon Seekings said...

Sorry - can't answer that one as I don't know what he said in his Press Release. I only know what I've read in the paper or on various websites and blogs - and not all of them are exactly unbiaised. :-))

PS. Owen. Nice to have a face-to-face chat this morning.

Danivon said...

Neither do I, but I can't find it on the local Tory website, and only have the press to go on.

I do hope you don't think I'm biased? :-)

Still more blatant Smith bashing today (I'm just incorrigible...)

PS: and thanks also for the chat. You are one of the decent salads, as salads go (I really miss the days when your party was called the SLD).

Gordon Seekings said...

And I miss the days when your party was the Labour Party....and not whatever version of New it is this week. :-))