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The Blog

Reducing punishment will increase crime

4 October 2004

According to the Sunday Times, the police are shortly going to be encouraged to give offenders who steal goods up to £200 a fixed-penalty notice, similar to a parking ticket. It means that shoplifters and other thieves will be able to ply their trade without getting a criminal record. Past experience of downgrading punishments should… [Read More]

Educational Opportunity

3 October 2004

This week the Higher Education Funding Council ‘named and shamed’ 17 universities for not meeting their quota of pupils from state schools. Threatened with the prospect of losing state funding if they do not discriminate against children from private schools, some universities have publicised their strategy for meeting their quota. Exeter University, for example, asks… [Read More]

Equalizing People

1 October 2004

Tony Blair’s illness is a reminder that old-Labour collectivism could easy re-assert itself under a different leader. One of the dominant trends under Gordon Brown has been the increasing use of means-tested benefits. In 1951 only 3% of the population relied on the old national assistance and unemployment benefit. Today about 22% of households of… [Read More]

Make Laws not Legislators

30 September 2004

The majority of new laws are initiated by the European Union. Many are not even rubber-stamped by Parliament. When John Locke wrote his Second Treatise of Government in the 1680s to defend the emerging democratisation of this country, he laid down the four main characteristics of a free society. The fourth was that the legislature… [Read More]

Why ‘Sure Start’ is a Sure-Fire Way Not to Start Caring for Our Young

29 September 2004

In his speech at the Labour Party Conference yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Blair listed ten policy objectives whose accomplishment he intends to make the central task of any Labour administration that might be returned for a third term at the next general election. One of these ten objectives is the provision of child-care facilities for… [Read More]

Prison is a Bargain

27 September 2004

According to the Populus poll for The Times, cutting crime and anti-social behaviour is the issue most likely to make Labour voters turn out to vote for the Blair Government. Crime has been falling since the mid-1990s, but the Government is reluctant to do the one thing that unambiguously works best. It is putting enormous… [Read More]

Police Performance

23 September 2004

The police performance figures show that only 18.8% of offences were detected and sanctioned in 2003-04, slightly fewer than last year. Consequently, public confidence in the police remains below the half-way mark, with only 47.7% believing that the police do a good or excellent job. And yet many chief constables are complacent, regularly complaining that… [Read More]

Immigration and false accusations of racism

22 September 2004

Tory proposals to reform immigration policy will, no doubt, lead to talk of racism. Making false accusations of racism has become the weapon of first resort of the cosmopolitan intelligentsia who refuse to accept that there are any valid reasons for limiting the influx of newcomers. Most developed countries have an immigration policy, usually because… [Read More]

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