Thursday, May 19, 2005

Politicians and crime

There is an interesting article by Craig O'Malley on the Spiked website:

The rise of crime and antisocial behaviour to the top of the political agenda is a relatively recent phenomenon. For much of the twentieth century crime had a minor place in political life.

Take the manifestos of the big three political parties - Conservative/ Unionist, Labour and Liberal - during the first half of the twentieth century. Of the 35 manifestos issued during the 11 elections between 1900 and 1935, there is only one brief reference to law and order. Despite acute political discord and, in the later interwar period, reports of rising crime rates, the topic failed to register as a party political issue. Similarly, after 1945 there was a rise in recorded crime, but the issue remained at the periphery of party political debate.

Asking why it is that crime has risen to such prominence, O'Malley argues:
For the political class, the issues of crime and antisocial behaviour seem to offer the prospect of bridging the chasm with a cynical and disengaged public.

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