Friday, October 24, 2008

We cannot Watch what we cannot see

Apologies for the lack of Aaronovitch content round these parts. But there's been nothing to Watch. Nothing in the Times these last two weeks. Nothing in the JC since September. Nothing on Google News. Nothing in the Ham & High (I checked). Nothing in Cayman Net News. Is he working on a book or something?

26 Comments:

Blogger claude said...

However I have something for you on my blog. Remember July when the Government was telling us all that crime was down and it just was down full stop? And David Aaronovitch ramming the point home that yes, we're all panicking and it's all hunky and dory?

Well, there you go.

http://mymarilyn.blogspot.com/2008/10/why-statistics-dont-mean-jack.html

10/24/2008 10:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't agree with this one, Claude. What's happened is that some offences of 'assault' (ie what actually happened) are now recorded as 'GBH with intent'. This is a bobbins definition, because it actually means 'Attempt to cause GBH', but sounds worse.

Me, I think that it's just another step in our on-going campaign to de-legitimise violence.

Police-derived crime stats are largely useless, but attempts to make them less so invariably lead to the 'crime rate' going up and the 'clear-up rate' going down. Variations on the classic saloon bar rant about the evil librals don't change this fact.

I can support all this with tedious reference to academic research if pressed.

Chris Williams

10/24/2008 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Doing a bit more, like, research, I note that your blog is not entirely populated by idiots, but you perhaps need to take Johnny T aside for a chat with some of the older comrades about the way things are best done.

CW

10/24/2008 11:13:00 AM  
Anonymous biz said...

Dear God, HP is running a competition - Who can racially slur Obama before trumpeting their own solid anti-racist credentials...:

http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/10/24/competition-corner-what-will-they-call-obama/

10/24/2008 03:48:00 PM  
Blogger ejh said...

That'll be five nicker, thanks

10/24/2008 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Chardonnay Chap said...

Claude @ 1. You're pretty much right there. The problem with our Dave is that, while he's fine on most intuitive stuff, and does better than most newspaper columnists on issues involving minorities (at worst, he's a very feeble hater, and at best he's genuinely inclusive and broad-minded and intellectually generous and other good stuff), he knows bugger all about statistics. He tends to defer to the nearest expert - and quel surprise! the nearest expert always comes from the government: everything is going according to the five-year plan. Pig iron production is not down: the empty freight trains marked 'pig iron' are shuttling back and forth to keep train drivers occupied. [Taps nose] bit of Keynes there [wink].

Anon or CW @ 2. Do you have any links for those claims? 'Assault' seems an awfully general crime from where I am. There's an Irishman in a chip shop joke here if I can get it out - I think you're somehow confusing 'assault' with 'battery' which is what GBH certainly is. 'Attempt to cause' sounds to me like faux plain English for 'premeditation' but I could be wrong here.

Having looked at crime survey data myself (some time ago), I'm sort of on your side about the stats. I *think* as of tonight, I'm a sort of positivist in this respect: if it doesn't get reported to the police, it either wasn't a crime or enough of a crime to bother about. Academic research would be interesting to me.

CW @ 3. We're bound by a bloggers code which I cannot reveal in public. However, the Grand Wizard has authorized me to tell you that we do meet the statutory population of idiots, especially when I make contributions. Hold on, he said what?

Biz @ 4. Bloody hell, I looked at that. MY EYES .... etc. I'm sure that's not what David Toube meant. All I can say is that Melanie Phillips seems to me to be out of her depth here. First she calls a straw man (that any criticism of Obama is racist) a 'disgusting smear'. Second as a Scot who lives in Wales and who voted against devolution (and I said so wherever I could), if you were to substitute the word 'white' in Mad Mel's example with 'Welsh' (and since 'white' means 'black' to Mel, and I really am not making that up - it means the underdog community if I can put it like that), I would not find it racist at all. What I find offensive and racist are claims of, if you will, 'betterness'. Obama/Rev Wright claim something like 'equality' - as that's pretty much my default belief, there's no argument from me there.

10/24/2008 10:10:00 PM  
Blogger claude said...

CW, no, no, to say that we're idiots is a fair comment. Cos I couldn't quite make out much of what you wrote. I'm extremely sorry. I'll though take Johnny aside and slap him with a wet fish.

Aaronovitch though, would have been a perfect member of that Titanic orchestra. Tutto va bene, tutto va bene.

I, instead, will never believe a word any New Labourite will say. Ever. Again.

10/25/2008 09:58:00 AM  
Anonymous stephen said...

Dear God, HP is running a competition - Who can racially slur Obama before trumpeting their own solid anti-racist credentials

They do seem to be losing it. It appears that one of their regular posters got into a brawl with a political opponent and is now bleating about it because he came off worse in the encounter. A week in jail for the lot of them would probably do them and the blogosphere no end of good.

10/25/2008 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

I will happily cover biz's contribution to the Harry's Place swearbox, as that competition is just perfect for the Decent Racism post. Imagine, just imagine, the fit that David T would have thrown if someone else, say "Lenin's Tomb" had decided to have a jokey "who can think of some really good anti-Semitic epithets" competition.

10/25/2008 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Nik Cohen did the Ratcatcher piece in the recent Eye about Gary MacKinnon, I thought it was surprisingly humane and understanding.

For once, congratulations.

Johnf

10/25/2008 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Nik Cohn != Nick Cohen.

10/26/2008 12:22:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm a bit busy right now, but the best summing-up about criminal statistics, the BCS, and their relationship to long-term trends in the history of crime is found in the chapter entitled 'The History of Criminal Statistics' in 'History and Crime' by Godfrey Lawrence, and someone else. Sage, 2008 ISBN978 1 4129 2080 3

I have no direct financial interest in you going out and buying it, so long as about 412 other people don't do so at the same time, in which case it might net me the price of half a cup of tea and you should discount the above plug accordingly.

Chris Williams

10/26/2008 11:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PS - Claude, I'm with you on the trust thing. But just because Tony Blair says it's raining, it doesn't mean that it's not raining, merely that we should go outside and check. In this case, DW's point about crime levels (which might actually be true, though probably not for the reasons he thinks it is) is not invalidated by last week's Home Office reclassification.

Chris Williams

10/26/2008 11:27:00 AM  
Anonymous dd said...

More Harry's Place hilarity, as David T emotes (on the general subject of why we should all be more understanding of George Osborne) that perhaps he too hasn't done enough to challenge openly racist comments - although he perhaps oddly doesn't mention the blog he operates.

10/27/2008 08:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our good friend Conor Foley has a book out, and there have been a number of reviews and comments in various places. I would be interested to hear if there are any reactions from the Decent corner of the woods.


Moussaka Man

10/27/2008 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

I've just ordered a copy of Conor's book from Amazon. It looks like a good read and I'm much more inclined to trust the word of someone like Conor rather than some of the more facile anti-imperialist writers because a) he's personally seen things from the sharp end and b) he doesn't come across as having a predefined agenda which means that uncomfortable facts are filtered out to maintain the credibility of a particular position. In other words he's a complete opposite of a Decent.

Decents in general will no doubt hate this book but will struggle to pin a 'anti-imperialist' or 'stopper' epithet on him, in order to try to discredit it.

10/27/2008 02:46:00 PM  
Anonymous dd said...

In other words he's a complete opposite of a Decent

I wouldn't say the complete opposite - that would be someone like Lenin's Tomb - Conor does recognise a role for humanitarian interventions and there are still one or two that he regards as being a good idea (on the other hand this is also true of at least a majority of editors of AW). In general the Decents try to maintain good relations with Conor because he's so self-evidently reasonable and has much more physical courage than they do (viz the Nick Cohen episode we all cherish), but tend to patronise him with "oh why is it that this well-meaning liberal can't see how awful the Islamisses are!!"

10/27/2008 03:56:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I think relations have soured more recently though, at least between Conor and HP. He has on at least a couple of occasions complained about them quoting him completely out of context.

10/27/2008 05:41:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

I notice David T also had a go at Quentin Letts in the Mail for making an anti-semitic comment.

Now I'm not sure how valid his complaint is but it at least makes a change for him to go after a serious target rather than some obscure academic.

It might have been nice if he'd have taken the Mail to task in the past over its racist coverage of asylum and immigration but I'm sure that's just an oversight and he recognises the Mail for the nasty hate-filled rag that it is. And, just as he excoriates others who associate themselves with the far right, he would never want to be in any way associated with them himself.

What? Oh.

10/27/2008 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger BenSix said...

Conor Foley vs. Kamm/MacShane tag team...

10/27/2008 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous andrew adams said...

Hey, i'm up for that!

10/27/2008 08:44:00 PM  
Anonymous bubby said...

Hi dd I think you misunderstood me - I meant he is the opposite of a Decent in the way he recognises nuances and complexity in arguments and also in how he approaches those who disagree with him. In other words he is a pretty respectful and courteous person and I think that is both very admirable and very Undecent.

Talk sounds interesting doesn't it?

10/27/2008 10:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the kind of thing that I was looking for. Unfortunately I will be out of the UK at the time (in a former war-torn country as it happens) so I expect a full report on Aaronovitch Watch.

Moussaka Man

10/27/2008 10:26:00 PM  
Anonymous organic cheeseboard said...

in the jar in advance - Harry's Place have removed Melanie Phillips from their blogroll and are repeatedly taking her to task now.

i wonder whether this will last, or whether it's just because she's redirected her mentalness away from the ME and towards Obama, who HP have finally decided is going to win and therefore inherently worthy of support...

10/28/2008 09:29:00 AM  
Anonymous saucy jack said...

"i wonder whether this will last, or whether it's just because she's redirected her mentalness away from the ME and towards Obama"
Nonsense. Pure, naked Jew hatred of the most classic kind is the only possible explanation for HP's action.

10/28/2008 12:13:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

We must ask the question: can there be a decent Harry? Does he hate our freedoms? It would be irresponsible not to speculate!

10/28/2008 05:17:00 PM  

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