Thursday, 25 March 2010

So much for not getting in the paper

Last year I met the Conservative parliamentary candidate for Morecambe. He complained to me that it was difficult to get anything published in the local newspapers but since then I have seen articles about him. However in comparison to the Labour MP there has been little written about him, and there has been very little written about all the other candidates. I think the Liberal Democrat candidate Les Jones has only been named once, but the Tories have a cunning plan to increase their presence.

In yesterday's Morecambe Visitor there is a headline "Tory candidate cuffed by police" along with "Inspector hits out at incorrect crime figures". Now that is a cunning plan. Conduct a survey about crime and see what you can do with the results. It is well known that you should never let the facts get in the way of a good story. Mark Twain wrote that you should "first get your facts and then distort them at your leisure". In this case the Tory has made up his own claims from his own survey. It may be the case that he never claimed that his figures were remotely related to those of the police, but as a responsible politician shouldn't he have made reference to official statistics? If he says "local police are almost entirely restricted to response policing" wouldn't it have been wise to check out the claim first?

The case for the defence is that these are genuine figures. In this personal survey one in five respondents are victims of crime. Unfortunately Chief Inspector Ralph Copley is quoted as saying "we are currently enjoying all-time low levels in certain crime categories such as burglary and vehicle crime". Who do you believe?

What does it matter if Tory figures are not quite right? Does it matter even if the candidate is wildly wrong? He has achieved his aim of getting a large article on page two and if that isn't enough he just managed to pay for a large advert elsewhere in the paper. Let's hope the newspaper readers can see past the photographs.

So much for not getting in the paper!

Change the world


  1. Strange, if we are currently experiencing less vehicle crime, why did the community police, based in the school I work at, want letters to residents warning about vehicle crime being on the increase? I know about these because I printed them.

  2. You are quite right Sea. The report states that "all-time low levels in certain crime categories such as...vehicle crime...are (also) being achieved". My optimistic guess is that the police have local figures that are rising and total figures that are going down.