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Can pluralism be low-crime? There's a reason shoplifting is rife

Caught looking the other way. (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Caught looking the other way. (JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)


October 6, 2023   6 mins

My small Shires market town reported a handful of crimes a year when we moved here a decade ago. Over the past year or so, every garage on my street has been burgled. Only last week an escaping shoplifter shoved my daughter to the ground while fleeing the local Londis. Police don’t even attend when you report incidents. The area has not seen a decline in prosperity — only in civic orderliness. And it’s a vicious cycle that burns out local civic participation. I know one town councillor who joined full of enthusiasm, only to resign a year later when officials suggested that, as there was no prospect of any police response to rising drug-taking and antisocial behaviour in the local park, maybe he and another councillor should themselves form a citizen patrol.

The aggregate feeling of having been left by our leaders to rot amid a disintegrating social contract is not a confection of the Right-wing press. It’s a mutinous consequence of visible deterioration. It’s echoed across the media, with reports coming thick and fast of a nationwide shoplifting epidemic, and a documented rise in petty destructiveness such as vandalising shops and restaurants, monuments, or hire bikes. Is this just cuts, or the cost of living? Racism, perhaps? Not enough youth clubs? The causes of crime are complex; but when TikTok is full of video content from across the Anglosphere, in which people — usually young women — boast about their “borrowing haul”, the suspicion arises that some at least are breaking the law simply because it’s fun, and because no one is stopping them.

As we shamble toward a General Election next year, I suspect all prizes will go to whichever politician manages to convince the electorate of their ability to reverse this sense of pervasive decay. But this will be difficult, for it requires us to confront a central cognitive dissonance. That is: the delusion that we can enjoy low-touch policing, alongside the pluralism and rebelliousness that run through post-Sixties Anglophone culture like letters through a stick of seaside rock. For while economics, policing strategy, sentencing policy and the like no doubt have a part to play in crime rates, these beliefs do as well. And together they have chipped away our social order.

For some decades now, Britain has turned away from strong social norms toward pluralistic values and a celebration of the individual. It is received opinion now that the right to be individualistic and even contrarian improves both individual happiness and also the overall social fabric. These beliefs underpin countless platitudes: “Everyone’s different”; “Just be you”; “Each to his own”; or indeed “Diversity is our strength.” Any contemporary reflections on the contribution shared values make to public safety tend to disintegrate into bitter arguments over this last: “diversity”. Which is to say immigration. Over the past week, Home Secretary Suella Braverman reignited that bin-fire, drawing fury from progressives and her own side alike for speeches that framed both the pluralistic values implied by multiculturalism and also mass immigration itself as risks to public safety.

But this has it at least partly backwards. We embrace literal diversity at least in part because we set such stock by pluralism, and so little by shared values. Only a polity that so values letting everyone do their thing and denies any need for such things as shared social norms would fail to anticipate that political and cultural clashes may arise when you fail to integrate culturally distinct sub-populations. In this sense, the immigration debate is only one particularly ugly subset of a wider question that implicates us all. For while we left social conformity behind long ago — some time ahead of the recent rise in immigration, in fact — we stayed committed to a low-touch policing model that relied on that conformity.

Then, having entrenched pluralism and personal freedom as sacred values, we’re left with a conundrum: how are we to respond to those whose values are so divergent from the mainstream that they exercise their freedom by disrupting the status quo for fun, in ways that make things worse for everyone? Our sacred values make it politically difficult to respond with a strong-arm approach. Quite the opposite: activists respond to such behaviour not with calls for stronger policing but for an even less of it.

In the vacuum this produces, the response to hobby lawlessness we appear to be converging on, by default, is a kind of weary acceptance that there’s nothing that can be done — for doing so would mean attacking personal freedom or values such as pluralism, or calling for (gasp) “authoritarian” policing. Outside the liberal West, states such as Dubai and Singapore solve the equation quite differently. Both these states are pluralistic: in Dubai, nationals comprise only around 15% of the population, while Singapore’s population is around 40% immigrant. And yet both have low crime levels — because leaders in these geographies are considerably less troubled than we are by heavy-handed policing. Dubai retains the death penalty for crimes such as murder, treason, and espionage, for example, while Singapore hangs drug dealers on a regular basis.

It’s possible, then, that the most direct way of achieving a society that’s both multicultural (albeit unhappily so) and low-crime is through brutally authoritarian policing. To date, though, Britain’s tradition of liberalism has rendered this an unappealing prospect — at least for those who make British law. Could this change? Well, I suspect any British politician who delivered Singapore-like levels of public safety would be popular with the British electorate — even if this came at the overall cost of less cuddly policing.

But there’s a marked class divergence on this issue. This becomes visible if we take the death penalty as a crude proxy for an authoritarian stance on public safety: a 2022 poll showed considerably greater support for the measure in the C2DE (working and lower middle-class) bracket (49%) than the 35% of ABC1 (middle and upper class) voters who support capital punishment. Rage and desperation, though, can drive support for stern measures: a recent survey suggested six in 10 voters supported reinstating it.

Meanwhile, in another non-Western polity, the autocratic measures taken by El Salvador’s leader Nayib Bukele to crack down on criminal gangs have both shocked Western advocates of civil liberties and democratic norms, and so drastically reduced the murder rate as to deliver a reported 93% approval rate among Salvadoreans. I doubt Britain will go full Bukele any time soon. But rampant crime cuts through across the electorate like nothing else; I and probably most of my town will most likely vote, next year, for the political party that advances the most convincing strategy for ending the epidemic of petty crime.

I suspect, though, that doing so will mean looking again at our long-cherished trifecta of pluralism, individualism, and light-touch policing. For if we want space to be contrarian, alongside light-touch policing, that’s going to mean less pluralism. Such a settlement won’t function under the thin shared belief that we don’t need common values. In turn, this would probably mean heeding the warnings of Braverman and her ilk, and making more concerted efforts to slow the pace of demographic change, so a sufficiently robust baseline of shared social norms can emerge in order that public life can once again largely police itself. It’s a long shot. So perhaps instead we could opt for pluralism plus light-touch policing. Then we’ll have to accept that this comes with a clampdown on freedom of conscience. In other words: the soft tyranny of “nudge unit” style nanny-statism, employed by leaders terrified of direct authority, in an effort to manipulate everyone into good behaviour. (Some might argue we’re a good distance down this road already.)

Conversely, a polity that allows both freedom of conscience and pluralism can only be kept from spinning out of control by far tougher law enforcement than we’re accustomed to in Britain. Values pluralism is a done deal in this country, for now; if we can’t bear to let go of our contrarianism with that change, the only way we’ll enjoy low crime levels as well is with law enforcement that more closely resembles Dubai or Singapore than the traditional British bobby.

What about those who insist that there’s no need to choose? Maybe there’s still some way we can have personal freedom, anything-goes values pluralism, and a police force more interested in dancing at carnivals than arresting persistent criminals? Well, yes, there is. And if we take this route, nothing immediate will happen. Over time, though, this public-safety cakeism will also deliver an ongoing acceleration of every contemporary trend that’s currently making life measurably worse for everyone, everywhere in the country.

That is: unsafe streets, mounding litter, smashed public amenities, rampant petty criminality, and a steady drain of public-spirited people from civic participation. It will mean, in a word, the end of civic life. If that’s not the country we want to be, we’re going to have to stop pretending we can have it all.


Mary Harrington is a contributing editor at UnHerd.

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Toby B
Toby B
9 months ago

“We embrace literal diversity at least in part because we set such stock by pluralism, and so little by shared values.”
The “we” in this sentence is doing a lot of work. Most people don’t ’embrace diversity’. It’s the elite minority who love it & foist it on the rest of us.

Last edited 9 months ago by Toby B
neil sheppard
neil sheppard
9 months ago
Reply to  Toby B

The elite will be ok. Shuttered in gated communities and Bannon locks equipped front door’s, in streets patrolled by private security firms. The hard working majority, who don’t have too much choice where they live will continue to have their lives made miserable by petty antisocial behaviour and petty crime, enabled by the liberal policing polices foisted upon us by an uncaring political class and a police leadership that is demonstrably unfit for purpose.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
9 months ago
Reply to  Toby B

Absolutely right! Why is Mary pulling her punches and pretending that the terrifying degradation of civic culture is something the majority ever willed or wanted?? All these ‘pluralistic’ horrors are the inevitable outcome of the 40 year assault on traditional and Judeo-Christian culture by the Illiberal Progressives and the warped Human Right First, Multicultural society they and the EU foisted upon us. Greviance, Victimhood, Individualism and Entitlement are the ghastly ‘values’ that have created the moral void and pit we now inhabit.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

It’s more complicated than you say. I’m a gay man and I’ve certainly benefitted from more liberal social attitudes and laws. And I very much doubt than the majority of the population want to return to much more restrictive divorce laws, for example. (But even if people can’t easily divorce, you can’t force them to live together).

But on the issues of crime, we are certainly far too soft, especially on young people who need to receive a tough lesson early on rather than being indulged.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Fisher
David Jory
David Jory
9 months ago
Reply to  Toby B

Remember diversity is good and unity is bad.
Have a read of Lord Justice Moulton’s article Law and Manners from 1922 in the Atlantic Magazine.

Benedict Waterson
Benedict Waterson
9 months ago
Reply to  Toby B

Liberal pluralism is the basic principle of everyone who reads unherd and believes they should be able to write anything they want in the comments section.
Very removed from ‘diversity ideology’ which aims to enforce a monoculture

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago
Reply to  Toby B

From what I read, the British ‘speech’ police are busier than those solving crimes? Seems like the country’s priorities are screwed up?

Alan Osband
Alan Osband
8 months ago
Reply to  Toby B

Are you including in the ‘elite minority’ Unherd’s resident vicar who boasted that he is happy to publicly convert Muslim asylum seekers for the sole purpose of making it easier for them to be allowed to stay in the UK , since they can argue it’s too dangerous for them to be sent home as public converts to Christianity .

Last edited 8 months ago by Alan Osband
Nic Thorne
Nic Thorne
9 months ago

I think it’s possible to overstate the light touch of the police in Britain today – witness the raid on Lawrence Fox’s house. In general, the police increasingly seem ready to respond forcefully, perhaps in excess of what they’re supposed to be allowed to do, when confronted with ideological opponents.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
9 months ago
Reply to  Nic Thorne

The term for that is “anarcho-tyranny.” Under anarcho-tyranny, street crimes against citizens are ignored, but dissent is penalized, so even though any crimes against the state meet strong sanctions, individual rights to safety and property aren’t much of a priority at all.
We currently do have more than a bit of that in parts of the US, and certainly this exists throughout the Anglosphere. Strongly authoritarian COVID responses, alongside spectacularly destructive (but largely excused) race riots and looting, made that very clear.
Solzenheitsen alluded to the USSR’s anarcho-tyranny in “Gulag Archipelago,” recounting numerous incidents where people were arrested for acting in self defense.
Anarcho-tyranny results from (here’s where I disagree slightly with this article) a lack of respect for the individual, for their rights to both property and safety. If the interests of the state are paramount, then anarcho-tyranny is almost a given.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago

Apparently those Soviet laws re: self defence are still on the books, much to the chagrin of normal Russians.

Nardo Flopsey
Nardo Flopsey
9 months ago

Interesting reference to the USSR, I need to read up on that. I feel a creeping sense of anarcho-tyranny in the USA. When politicians keep insisting that no citizen should be allowed to own “weapons of war”, which means any scary-looking gun that is not technically illegal, but looks like a military weapon. Meanwhile, American cops even in smaller cities look more like soldiers, and are happy to be given retired military hardware–all the better to fight crime! So why is crime against citizens increasing in so many areas, while police are armed as never before? Or how the FBI had infiltrated one of the militia groups which showed up at the Capitol Riot, thus giving credibility to enhanced sentencing based on conspiracy to commit insurrection; and yet didn’t bother to warn the DC Capitol Police in order to avoid violence on the day. In fact, considering the heated circumstances, there was a surprising absence of police presence based on common sense alone. If a private security firm had been in charge of protecting the Capitol, they would have been replaced after that incident. But a bureaucracy that fails always gets more money thrown at it, because they obviously don’t have enough. In light of your comment about Solzhenitsyn, I can’t think of a better way to undermine public confidence and turn citizens against each other than what is happening the US and UK. This is also how the amorphous Russian mafia was born, but of course mafias seldom restore public order. They merely create another center of power, as in narco-states, which radically destabilizes the whole nation.

Stevie K
Stevie K
9 months ago

Very nice and illuminating reference to Solzhenitsyn and the USSR.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Nic Thorne

Yes, or the way they arrested those anti-monarchy activists engaging in peaceful and pre-agreed protesting for Republic (also their ideological opponents, being the servants of the crown that they are)

Last edited 9 months ago by Desmond Wolf
John Davis
John Davis
8 months ago
Reply to  Nic Thorne

As Peter Hitchens has described so eloquently, policing in Britain has fundamentally changed from “Keeping the peace” to enforcing the will of the Government. And this is why the Police have lost the support of the people.

Roddy Campbell
Roddy Campbell
9 months ago

Rubbish parent(s) who know all about sex but don’t understand the first thing about parenting.

Rubbish schools, staffed by teachers who are hamstrung with regulations that prohibit any effective sanctions on pupils’ misbehaviour.

Cowardly politicians for allowing this to happen and not facing up to a small minority of deliberate political disrupters.

Soft-touch policing is one symptom of societal decay, not its cause.

We have been spending the social capital of our Christian heritage without replacing it and we’re fast running out.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago
Reply to  Roddy Campbell

Agree about the schools. One school leadership team I’m working with are wondering why their teachers are quitting in droves. In the name of ‘inclusive’ education they are discouraging teachers from sending out disruptive pupils. I’ve been trying to explain that in their attempts to include troublesome pupils, they are in fact excluding the hard-working ones.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago

I would say the core issue is the police, not “society”.

Or rather, the way they have been neutralised and reduced to assistants for insurance claims rather than solving or preventing crine.

There were two incidents recently.
One, a small argument where someone said something racist in the heat of the moment, but then got settled once everyone had cooled down.
Two, daylight, brazen robbery of multiple expensive cars.

Guess which one the police attended?

In fact, they insisted on coming to our house, even after we told them not to bother as it was a trivial argument and a momentary error in judgement by that person (we had just called so that they had a record. We eventually had to tell the officer not to bother that “racist” for spurious racism charges and just drop it).

Whereas, the car robberies were on camera, and not just serious by itself, could lead to violent attacks on the car owners if they interfered.
Not even a visit to the scene, didn’t even bother to collect video footage.

Just rubbish.

Last edited 9 months ago by Samir Iker
Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
9 months ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

If you were a policeman consulting your own convenience rather than the needs of society would you not prefer to prioritise attending an incident with a known probably non-violent malefactor guilty of speaking wrong-think or spend perhaps fruitless hours trying to track down anonymous thugs where you might be faced with violence if you managed to identify them. Nearly 30 years ago the young woman police officer who turned up hours after it was reported that an office break in was in progress responded: “We have to take into account police safety” when asked why they didn’t rush round and catch the thieves while they were in the building.

Previously the police knew that the criminal law would come down on crimes of violence particularly against the police with ferocity. Once lenient sentencing for such behaviour became the norm the police adopted the rational safe and easy route to their job. Understanding and kindness to criminals has a knock on effect. As Peter Hitchens has repeatedly pointed out we have a higher proportion of police officers per population than historically but they are doing the easy non-threatening things wherever they can rather than the hard and dangerous bits of the job.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
9 months ago
Reply to  Jeremy Bray

That only happens on the tele.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
9 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

What exactly does ‘That’ refer to in your comment? Every point that Jeremy Bray made?

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
9 months ago
Reply to  Keith Merrick

No. I was referring to the ‘hard and dangerous bits of the job’.

Clara B
Clara B
9 months ago

Powerful article, Mary. I see this everyday, especially in the (litter-filled) streets outside my home and on the buses (even more litter, plus people polluting the confined, shared space with loud music or stinky hot food) and in local parks (vandalised playgrounds, aggressive louts). Not necessarily always criminal behaviour, but behaviour that shouts ‘I can do what I like and I don’t give a stuff about others!’ It’s very dispiriting. What is a society without safe public spaces, a revulsion of crime (even of the petty type) and adherence to shared norms such as consideration for others?

Tony Price
Tony Price
9 months ago
Reply to  Clara B

Slash public services and that’s what happens.

D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

In the 1920s and 30s there was much less provision of public services and far higher levels of public civility and honesty.
Was that because they were the generation that had fought the Great War, or they were more religious, or more homogeneous, or what?

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

I was thinking along those lines. The Jarrow marchers were poor but they didn’t shoplift. Why not? I suspect a mixture of self-respect and the expectation of community disapproval.

Last edited 9 months ago by Dougie Undersub
George Stone
George Stone
9 months ago

Exactly right Dougie. You have hit the nail on the head, well done.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Those factors you mention may well explain the difference with the 1920s, but concerning this current spike in shoplifting there’s little doubt that it’s for economic rather than cultural reasons since – until this cost of living crisis – all crime except cyber crime was falling.
See figure 1: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingseptember2022
Supermarkets are putting electronic tags on basic goods such as milk and cheese, while people like MH are suggesting much of this shop lifting is being done for a laugh or likes on tiktok, directing our anger at poor working families trying to feed themselves and away from say this government and the £37+ BILLION of OUR money they’ve handed to their cronies in VIP lane covid contracts, dysfunctional track and trace systems, over dinner planning permission grants to rich friends etc How MH has betrayed the concern she once had for the plight of ordinary people in deflecting anger at the powerful and onto the weak is truly saddening.

Last edited 9 months ago by Desmond Wolf
Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The idea that bunches of feral teenagers on Oxford Street are loading fashion items and consumer electronics into their bags unpaid because they are starving, is utterly risible. Couldn’t they find a pint of milk closer to home?

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

It is fairly ridiculous and absurdly politically partisan in the narrow sense to drag in covid into this. The government was (unnecessarily) panicking and there was huge pressure to spend on track and trace. That was an expensive disaster (not unique however to the UK) and the vaccine roll out was good. If we’d have waited for all the normal procurement processes to go through we’d have waited a year or more.The left was even going ho about doing these things – perhaps they’d have got a totally uncritisable track and trace system working by now!

They are a useless shower, but there is absolutely no evidence that any Tory minister benefited from these contracts.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Nell Clover
Nell Clover
8 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

The rise in shoplifting has everything to do with its decriminalisation. Almost all police forces in England have now officially categorised it as a low impact crime and do not attend reports. It is now largely a civil, not criminal, matter. As knowledge of this spreads, more and more people take advantage of this leniency. “Cost of living crisis” is then used as a handy white lie.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Back then communities were more homogeneous and individuals were obligated to follow societies customs. Not so much today.

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Quite right. Tony Price is repeating the simplistic mantras of the Left, which have, in fact, helped to create the types of incivility that Mary Harrington’s excellent article is focusing on. The idea that everything is for someone else, or some state body, to sort out has led to a situation where, for example, my litter, or my family’s behaviour, is not my responsibility. We have abandoned a shared set of values, and a sense of responsibility for our actions, and are living with the grim results.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

The public pay role is more populous an expensive that ever

George Stone
George Stone
9 months ago

Could you please reply more succinctly, as I do not understand your comment.

Tony Price
Tony Price
9 months ago

That’s even worse – public payroll much higher, public services much worse than in 2010. I wonder who has been in charge for the last 13 years?

Clara B
Clara B
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Not convinced by this (though provision of public services is important). Is it lack of money that makes people drop litter? Behave aggressively in public? Show lack of consideration for others? Is it just a matter of money?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

You don’t need public services to keep your neighborhood clean. You need good neighbors.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Yes the rise in working poverty has to play a part in this, but going by most comments on here, what people need is even more precarious poorly remunerated work and underfunded services. Most other western European countries have better public services in proportion to how much more they spend on them. I fear the worst for this country which I have (both sadly and fortunately) abandoned for the Netherlands (though I’ll never give up on the UK, whose people deserve so much more than the corrupt oligarchy currently in charge).

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Some of the worst unrepentant thieves are middle class shoplifters. I wouldn’t trust Jack or Freya with a four pound note.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

I’ve no idea what this is based on since from all I’ve read there’s no data on who is currently stealing and why, as is implicitly clear from the article.
‘The causes of crime are complex; but when TikTok is full of video content from across the Anglosphere, in which people — usually young women — boast about their “borrowing haul”, the suspicion arises that some at least are breaking the law simply because it’s fun, and because no one is stopping them.’
In other words, MH’s entire explanation for this crime spike is built on a *suspicion.’

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

As someone familiar with both the very poor and the moderately wealthy it was a real shock to discover the latter think nothing of stealing, do it regularly, and feel no shame.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Eh? What people need is a pro social moral sense, and sense of responsibility. These attributes used to be commonplace in a much poorer society, but have unfortunately declined for many reasons not least because of endless excuse making by left liberals.

I don’t think crime is exactly unique to the UK.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Price

Almost complete bed wetting rubbish, and actually an insult to intrinsic human dignity (we are animals who need to be kept occupied or something). My parents growing up in poor areas of North London had very little indeed in their childhood – certainly in terms of state funded amenities – but they had a loving and crucially stable family (not “baby fathers”).

There were far stronger social bonds and people much poorer than those kids who feel it is their right to shoplift would never have dreamt of doing so. They might well have been punished, but even more importantly, been shamed (and not applauded) in the eyes of the whole community.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Fisher
Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
9 months ago

Another great article from Mary.

Our multi cultural society does generate issues. Let’s be honest. It’s bound too. How the police AND the judicial system respond to it is messy and muddled. But it needn’t be.

So much of policing is now answered with the same comment “it’s a complex issue”.

Take knife crime in our capital. Stop and search would go a long way to prevent the carrying of machetes (aka zombie knives). But our delightful mayor says it’s the selling of knives that’s the problem. Now, that comment may be true. But what to do about the knives already in circulation? The solution will undoubtedly be unpopular, but so are the deaths that we see so regularly.

The Rotherham scandal is another case that defies belief. To ignore this and the other cases around the UK for social cohesion reasons is frankly disgusting. Either something is a crime or it isn’t.

I don’t want our police to be dancing at carnivals, or have our male offices wearing high heels at pride. I want them to provide protection and solve crimes. No matter how unpopular that makes them.

Andrew Vanbarner
Andrew Vanbarner
9 months ago

“Knife crime” – which is fairly rare in the US, as so many of us armed, legally or not – is an almost perfect example of one of the downsides to pluralism, or at least a clear downside to immigration, without assimilation.

Anyone who’s traveled extensively enough through the Middle East or southern Asia has seen societies where guns are fairly rare, but where nearly every male carries some sort of bladed tool.

The repulsive crimes in Rotherham that continued for years, and likely still do in both Rotherham and in other areas, are another strong argument against immigration without assimilation. Societies in the Anglosphere have strong sanctions against the exploitation of young women and girls. Some other societies, not so much.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew Vanbarner
Terry M
Terry M
9 months ago

Muslims put their women in burkas not because they want to shame the women but because they know what animals their men are.

Seb Dakin
Seb Dakin
9 months ago

The problem seems to be not so much light-touch policing, as the police not doing their job at all. If you’re not bothering to investigate burglaries that’s not light-touch, that’s no-touch.
Most laws have been broadly agreed upon. Since it is the job of the police to apprehend people they think have broken the law, or are breaking it, the current chaos seems to stem from the police literally not doing their job, rather then the way that they ‘do’ it, or society not having the stomach for harsher punishment. Harsh punishment or not is only an issue if you’ve apprehended the criminal in the first place.
.

Tom Lewis
Tom Lewis
9 months ago

I’d vote for Mary.

neil sheppard
neil sheppard
9 months ago
Reply to  Tom Lewis

SECONDED.

v easter
v easter
9 months ago

My grandchildren live on the outskirts of a village near a large city. They walk to school past fields which show the ridge and farrow field system of Medieval times. The church clock still strikes more or less on time. At about 2 in the morning men wearing balaclavas have come twice in a year to steal cars. 

They are shown on household security cameras in their sinister black balaclavas and gleaming white trainers.They are young as they jump with ease the walls and fences in their way.They lingering in the porch below my sleeping grandchild’s open bedroom window . This time they moved on to the next house,break the front door lock(it tells you how on u-tube) ,steal the car keys and drive off. It took 7minutes from arrival to departure. 

The police arrive and on being asked how to protect from the next set of balaclava clad thieves i.e .what techie gizmos to buy, the policeman simply replied , ” don’t live here”. A gungho neighbour said the next time they come he and his wife are up for joining forces with others to fight them off. But I said,”Its only a car.They might have knives. “

Jeremy Bray
Jeremy Bray
9 months ago
Reply to  v easter

There are, of course, lots of techie gizmos that might deter and capture criminals but they are ,of course, against “criminals rights” and the police will be happy to enforce the law against you a settled non-violent decent citizen as there will be no risk or hard work for them involved.

Xaven Taner
Xaven Taner
9 months ago

Slowing the rate of demographic change wont be sufficient to stop the rot. And in fact many minority communities are more cohesive and more socially conservative than the general population. It’s a stretch to think that pluralism alone has resulted in a pro-crime culture. The inability for communities to self regulate as a result of the atomising effects of modern consumer culture and technology are the main driver, along with policing that has been, as Mary says rendered “soft”, – by years of underinvestment and bureaucratisation. I don’t see us averting a collapse. Actually I think the way forward is through a collapse. Only then, when faced with Hobbes’ war of all against all, will people band together for mutual protection and relearn self-discipline.

D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago
Reply to  Xaven Taner

True, but they won’t band together as one demos for mutual protection. They’ll assort on religious, ethnic lines. What you get then is tribalism. See the recent riots in Leicester as an example.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

It is inevitable in a multi ethnic society

Simon Neale
Simon Neale
9 months ago

Values pluralism is a done deal in this country, for now

Who did the deal? Where can I contact them to find out why I wasn’t consulted?
I’m all for a bit of pluralism; I don’t want a return to the type of intolerant religious and social Victorian conformity that Mill spoke out against. But I’d like to approach these matters piecemeal, rather than someone assuming that because I don’t mind well-behaved sexual minorities then I’m also in favour of violent third-world criminals calling the shots in my home town.
This is a classic example of Isaiah Berlin’s incompatibility and incommensurability of values. Ignorant virtue-signallers have made our lives worse because they only thought about themselves.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
9 months ago

We don’t have light touch policing. That phrase implies a considered policy and an operational plan to deliver it. What we have is cant-be-bothered policing.
And even if the electorate wanted more authoritarian policing, I don’t believe our current police leaders would deliver it, both out of dislike of the concept and organisational ineptitude.

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
9 months ago

We’re all living in the shadow of the 60’s with a long line going back to Rousseau and his belief in the noble savage, but are we really ready to give up our toddler-type self-expression?

On Spiked today, is a piece bemoaning the current lack of Gonzo journalism, which is obviously all about drug taking and rule breaking.

And how do we stop finding drugs glamorous and acceptable?

Has anybody told this generation of silly teenagers, egged on by Internet brain-rotting garbage ?

How do we get people to stick around for their kids (or at least not murder them) ?

I’ve got a terrible feeling that things are going to have to get a lot worse before we realise that the fantasy of life without limits and a bearable society to live it in is just that.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago

Perhaps if the police weren’t constantly banging on women’s doors because of hate crimes like saying “women: adult female humans” on Twitter, the police could actually focus on real crimes.

William Amos
William Amos
9 months ago

Is there not a slight contradiction in the choice of Singapore and Dubai as examples of heavily policed, highly diverse societies?
Both Singapore and Dubai, which I have known intimately, are defined by extremely strong and publicly conspicuous religious and civic cultures as well as unquestioned hierarchies, respect for tradition and a strong sense public decency. Naturally, hypocrisy exists but it is still, as La Rouchefoucault had it, the compliment that vice pays to virtue.
This, in my opinion, precedes the ‘brutally authoritarian’ spirit of the police and legal institutions. Rather than a bridle on atomised licentiousness the authorities there are a simple expression of the widely shared and legitimate prevailing social ethic.
As the 1662 Prayer Book teaches us, the true meaning of prevention is the ‘going before’ of the Lord which causes us to want to do the right thing and be the good neighbour –
“Prevent us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favor, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ Our Lord.” 

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
9 months ago

Too many absent fathers. Single Mums cannot discipline boys. Fact.

John Solomon
John Solomon
9 months ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

Opinion!

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  John Solomon

In your opinion.

Chipoko
Chipoko
9 months ago

I live in a rural market town and worked in a medium-size, historic (beautiful) city, a major tourism destination. I cannot recall the last time I saw a uniformed police officer walking the streets of either centre, interacting with local citizens – certainly not in the last 30 years, and probably longer than that. We never see the police, except very occasionally flashing by in rainbow-adorned cars. I guess they are too preoccupied with seeking out and processing Non Hate Crime Incidents on their computers, or responding to complaints made by fellow Woking Class travellers who’ve been ‘offended’.
A lady (not at all woke) I know who is involved with the dog world told me a couple of days ago that it is no longer acceptable to use the word ‘b***h’ in the context of the canine community, and that this usage now constitutes a potential hate crime! That’s the world of the 2020s!

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Chipoko

And maybe you’ve been busy voting in governments defunding them?

Chipoko
Chipoko
8 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

What a pathetic reply. Contributes nothing to discussion, but reveals a great deal about you. Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you’re a fool, rather than opening it and proving it.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 months ago

Philosophical and political musings aside, what is the practical alternative to the police, when they simply refuse to do the jobs they are paid to do? One-time crimes such as burglary, drug dealing, shoplifting and all too often, rape and sexual assault have been decriminalised. How are we all to respond?

Paul Devlin
Paul Devlin
9 months ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Aside from forming a local version of the IRA and blowing criminals knees off like they used to do, there isn’t much really

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
9 months ago

This is another incidence of the British media assuming a politically campaigning role and declaring war on the police.
They did much the same against the Johnson government at the behest of their allies in Labour.
Let it not be forgotten that London’s Mayor Khan (Labour) requested the resignation of the Met Police’s Chief Commissioner, Cressida D-ck, after she refused to go further in pursuing criminal charges against Downing Street. Needless to say that the UK news media was fully behind him following the American model of the legacy media today.

Last edited 9 months ago by Tyler Durden
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
9 months ago

Mary fails to mention the elephant in the room. The CCP is using Tik Tok to destroy British society from within.

Shrunken Genepool
Shrunken Genepool
9 months ago

Great article…..very succinct. And Of course the kind of mutual-identification required for a ‘we’ to be operative is inversely proportional to geographical scale and ethnic/religious/linguistic diversity. Generous fiscal transfers for welfare are harder in Sweden post 2015 compared with Sweden in the 1970s and much harder in the US. Social democracy was always an exclusive solidarity that depended on strong borders, well defined citizenship and high levels of mutual identification…and the latter had to be generated through coercion and violence. Getting people inside France to identify primarily as ‘French’ (rather than Norman, Breton, Occitan, Bourgogne etc) took centuries and wasn’t fully complete even by the end of the 19th century (Eugene Weber wrote a great book on this). The British ‘tradition of liberalism’ became a national character and ‘part of our DNA’ only after a 1000 year project of state formation, starting with Alfred (and perhaps Offa), an incredibly authoritarian half millennia of Norman rule, a brutal civil war….and an unsubtle process of national rationalization after the Act of Union that involved the active suppression of minority languages in the interests of market and civic integration. But it did deliver the NHS. Onwards and upwards. The older Labour Party had people who read books and understood these historical trade offs. The cosmopolitan free for all celebrated by the left is an elite project worthy of an imperial project, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman…Constantinople, Rome, Vienna ….But they never had a welfare state. Just an incredibly rich and educated outward looking polyglot elite – and the occasional circus for the plebs, and a war when class resentments became hard to manage.

R S Foster
R S Foster
9 months ago

…the “Traditional British Bobby” was a man at least five feet ten inches tall, often with previous military service…who did tolerate a good deal of pluralism provided it didn’t frighten the children, old ladies of a traditional disposition and the horses… ie went no further than flamboyant clothing and theatrical conduct in public, and only became genuinely transgressive in private and behind closed doors.

He also knew that if the Accused appeared with two black eyes, several teeth missing and his arm in a sling…the Beak would do no more than raise an eyebrow…

…and that settlement managed the arrival of the Windrush Generation, the Criminal Law Reform Act, the Race Relations Act, the abolition of the death penalty, the pill and the Swinging Sixties…

…but then the progressives took charge, and just couldn’t stop “showing off” as my Grandmothers would have it…mostly to one another.

And here we are….

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  R S Foster

You mean Police Brutality is the Answer ?

Er, no. Obtaining confessions by torture undermines the rule of law.

R S Foster
R S Foster
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

…within limits, yes. And it was “within limits”…young men showing off are most readily dealt with by stronger, older men capable of “smartening-them-up” as we always had it in these parts. Should be their families, ideally their fathers…but in the absence of that, I’m not seeing social workers providing much of a coherent or effective alternative. And the young men we are talking of accept no limits to their conduct…what is your alternative? One that will actually prevent their conduct, or stop it in it’s tracks…as opposed to hand-wringing, explaining or “understanding”…
…and, finally, what “rule of law”? I’ll admit I’m seeing something akin to it in respect of on-line thought-crime…or such wickedness as “public misgendering”…but nothing at all in respect of robbing, mugging, beating and sometimes maiming and killing the genuinely peaceful, law-abiding and well-intentioned…

Last edited 9 months ago by R S Foster
Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  R S Foster

Fathers don’t generally knock out their sons’ teeth or break their arms.

We don’t need criminal cops.

Between the current anarchy and police thuggery, there is a middle way.

Unobtainable, because those most eager to uphold Law and Order are the least willing to stump up the money required to uphold it.

Though more than money is required to obtain suitable additional police and prison officers.

We’re heading for vigilantism and shoot-outs: the Wild West.

michael harris
michael harris
9 months ago

Dubai may well be an ordered and safe city state. It surely is very diverse and it has, no doubt, very firm enforcement of laws based on old fashioned religious principles.
But what Mary does not mention is that Dubai is also well known as a safe refuge for gangsters and fraudsters from East and West, far outclassing the Costa del Sol. It has, for example, housed the chief of the Mumbai mafia, Ibrahim Dawoud, for decades.

James Kirk
James Kirk
9 months ago
Reply to  michael harris

I wouldn’t mess with a Dubai policeman. He wouldn’t be a Gulf Arab for a start.

neil sheppard
neil sheppard
9 months ago

A very accurate takedown of where the UK certainly is, and I would hazard much of the liberal west. Time for a reversal.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago

I was interested in your police officers per head stat since it is directly contradicted higher up. These are absolute police numbers – 172k 2010, 164k 2023 (155k 2003)

303963-blank-355.png
UK police officer figures 2022
statista.com

The other key number in officers per head of population is of course the size of the population, which has increased by a bit more than 4.3m.
gsa_ios_250dp.png
uk population increase since 2010 – Google Search
google.co.uk

Certainly the Tories have been in charge for that period so are “to blame.” Whether the population growth (almost all immigration), or the lower police numbers, is the more important element of our current malaise seems a more nuanced debate. I think that’s what Mary is trying to discuss. To start from anecdote and work out to more generic themes is a valid essay technique. It goes a lot further than just the importation of foreign value systems with immigrants. We have also imported US style hysteria to much of our own population, and a therapeutisation of bad behaviour, all of which is breaking down the social contract.

I think I’m right in saying the people who pulled down the Coulson statue were acquitted. Higher up in the thread the police response to Laurence Fox is contrasted with the response to crime generally and an anecdote is given of their response to car crime vs a ‘race’ incident. Here in Essex (with a 4% burglary prosecution rate) 5 uniformed officers were sent to a pub displaying a woollen toy.

It’s a complex phenomenon requiring more than pure tribal thinking.

Tony Buck
Tony Buck
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Why allow a statue to a slave trader ?

What sort of people wanted it NOT to be pulled down ?

I worry about vandalised public amenities like loos, not the statues of bad people.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

I don’t want it pulled down because it is criminal damage by the definition of the law.

What part of ‘the law only applies if I agree with it’ doesn’t worry you? Ever thought how that might work if the legal system is stacked with people whose opinions you don’t like?

peter clark
peter clark
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

Kindly ask Rome to remove all images of their emperors, senate and generals then please. Also the pyramids, monuments to slave labour those. Also the colosseum was a slave entertainment venue – must go I guess. Or maybe, just maybe, they are all part of a shared history that is messy and complex and full of people who weren’t moral heroes and did both good and bad but none the less shaped the world in mighty ways and were recognised for this by their peers l and didn’t realise one day you might think badly of them on the internet

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
9 months ago
Reply to  Tony Buck

The culture decided to put it up and the culture can decide to take it down. A handful of zealots with ropes do not constitute the culture. We need to firmly veto the “hecklers’ veto” mentality.

jack sales
jack sales
9 months ago

On point article.

Daniel Lee
Daniel Lee
9 months ago

It is going to require an extremely uncomfortable amount of force to undo the social damage the progressive Left has loosed with its endless coddling of the more barbaric among us. My guess is that Britain and Europe will lack the will to do it and will cover their eyes as their world burns around them. There might still be some hope for the US, but even that is looking doubtful.

Colorado UnHerd
Colorado UnHerd
9 months ago

What a thoughtful, clear-sighted analysis. Thank you.
We have the same issue(s) in the United States, with the addition that cops here also are hamstrung by accusations of racism and the threat of accompanying lawsuits that seemingly accompany every use of force against even violent nonwhite perpetrators. Maybe that’s happening in the UK, too.
There’s an old saw that a liberal is a conservative who hasn’t been mugged. Simply observing these various “muggings” — petty crimes — seems to have a similar effect on many of us, inclining us to support “less cuddly” policing in defense of shared community values (which are, after all, the basis of law).

James Kirk
James Kirk
9 months ago

We abandoned the Squire, now an oligarch arms dealer, the Bank Manager, now a computer, the Vicar, now a gay progressive stretched between three or more churches, and others,. The village bobby traded in his bicycle clips for a rainbow logo’d car and a pension. Now a burglar gets caught by an irate householder and given a sound thrashing. Who goes to court? The worm will turn, the dogs will have their day. Citizen’s patrols in USA are increasingly violent. It won’t be long.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
9 months ago

If an authoritarian state with expansionist imperial ambitions wanted to neutralise those states likely to oppose them, it could do worse than use whatever measures it could get away with to break down the social order and structures of them. ‘TikTok is full of video content from across the Anglosphere, in which people — usually young women — boast about their “borrowing haul”,’ TikTok is owned and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party.

Studio Largo
Studio Largo
9 months ago
Reply to  Gordon Arta

Yeah, Tik Tok is insidious and clearly a tool of the CCP but their influence runs much deeper than that. Witness their growing censoriousness over Hollywood, the NBA and other multinational corporations, the Confucius Institutes on US campuses, the Belt and Road Initiative, the building of a Chinese military base in the Horn of Africa amidst increasing infiltration of the continent through a series of usurious infrastructure and financial aid projects, the BRICS alliance, their numerous property and financial holdings in the Western world, the business deals with the Biden family, etc, etc, etc with governments and the mass media carrying their water.

Y Way
Y Way
9 months ago

Brutal policing will not work. Civilization, and civil society, is based on shared rules and norms. Not having shared rules and values means the destruction of civilized societies.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago
Reply to  Y Way

Who is asking for “brutal policing”? Competent, interested, non-woke policing would do.

Christine Novak
Christine Novak
9 months ago

I fear that “soft-touching” policing will and is giving rise to vigilantism. But isn’t it interesting that we had such draconian police measures during COVID? Or in response to “domestic terrorism” like praying at abortion clinics? It’s selective policing. I suspect the conscious or unconscious motive is the end of the nation state all together.

Martin Butler
Martin Butler
9 months ago

I like Mary Harrington, and there is much in what she says. But there is a simple question for her. Was the pluralism she describes any less 13 years ago? I really don’t think it was. Was crime on the increase then? No it was falling. Was there a sense of decay as there is now. No. People have been talking about moral vacuums, an overly individualistic society, lack of a moral compass in society since the 60s when I was growing up. In fact I was an advocate at one time. But from the 90s crime started to fall consistently. So that explanation no longer seemed plausible. That’s one reason why Osborne thought it ok to drastically cut police numbers in the way he did. (Only for a desperate U turn recently to try and undo the damage). The reason we now have the decline into chaos is I’m afraid more prosaic. Just look.

peter clark
peter clark
9 months ago

Maybe we are just expecting the police to do the job that your dad would’ve done in the past – had he not divorced mum and racked off down the betting shop to spend the dole check

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
9 months ago

My comment’s been cancelled presumably because I referenced a rival platform in it.

Pretty desperate I must say.

Matt Sylvestre
Matt Sylvestre
9 months ago

Generally Ms. Harrington is right because, well, she is Marry Harrington… Still, I don’t see why individualism has to preclude respecting basic social norms… So what if I ware a crazy hat or read odd poetry or eat unusual food; does not mean I am compelled by contract to take someone else’s stuff…

Tony Price
Tony Price
9 months ago

All part of the bonfire of public services we have seen over the past 13 years. Decimate police numbers (almost literally for once!) and what do you expect? Once crime soars it’s difficult to get back to previous levels. Increase in poverty rates and homelessness, slashing of prison education etc etc.

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
9 months ago

Although morals are values, values are not necessarily morals.

For example, I value strawberry ice cream and you value vanilla. Mine is a legitimate value that ought to be respected because proving one is objectively better than the other is a non-sequitur. And hence, so is your valuing vanilla ice cream.

In other words, claiming that your preference for vanilla ice cream to be immoral is silly.

Now, let’s say you also value strawberry ice cream and then steal mine. To claim that stealing my ice cream is immoral makes sense in a well functioning social unit. Why? Because we can objectively show a social unit functions better when there is no theft.

A plurality of values is not a problem as long as there is shared morality to undergird it.

Connecticut Yankee
Connecticut Yankee
9 months ago

Traditional british policing is fairly heavy handed, it’s the light touch policing that is new. Consider the hanging judge or the bloody code, that existed for the vast majority of British history

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
9 months ago

Well, that’s because the British are a race of convicts, justly exiled by wise Australian policy-makers.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
9 months ago

Yup.

“We come from a land Up Over”

…as the song goes.

Prashant Kotak
Prashant Kotak
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Where women hoe and men blunder?

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
9 months ago
Reply to  Prashant Kotak

Better take cover ….

D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago

How old are the history books in Connecticut public schools? British policing is way softer than yours and has been for a long time.

William Amos
William Amos
9 months ago

I often think this. We flatter ourselves that we our civic liberalism is an indelible expression of national character rather than a hard won and breifly held cultural achievement.
Any and all felonies were capital offences for almost a thousand years in England. The came birching, flogging, cropping and branding and the Black Acts, the Six Acts, the Riot Act and our bloody laws regarding treason. We pioneered transportation, mass incarceration and effectivley invented modern policing.
The ‘Low Touch’ policiing of the last 40 years comes on the back of thirty generations of what would now be considered extreme brutality. Even that only ever really applied to the middle classes and up. As anyone who has compared the policing of football matches with climate change protest has surely noticed by now.

Katalin Kish
Katalin Kish
9 months ago

Widely available, easy-to-use, free/cheap tech resources to commit crimes remotely (see e.g. Kali Linux), and watch victims squirm in response take this to a whole new level.
Committing crimes against us in our own homes via remote means has been a risk-free option for bored criminals in Melbourne, Australia for 14+ years. I had to find this out when a stalker ex-coworker whom I never even dated added me to his already extensive list of concurrent targets in 2009. The stalker is Australian born Caucasian. His crimes are ongoing.

nigel taylor
nigel taylor
9 months ago

A mass sterilisation programme would be helpful in eliminating the non contributing underclass of criminals within two generations at most.

Nathan Ngumi
Nathan Ngumi
9 months ago

Indeed.

Keith Merrick
Keith Merrick
9 months ago

What a brilliant article.

Carmel Shortall
Carmel Shortall
9 months ago

“It is received opinion now that the right to be individualistic and even contrarian improves both individual happiness and also the overall social fabric”

It is certainly NOT received opinion that there is a ‘right’ to be contrarian. Not any more. And there visibly hasn’t been for some years – hence the attacks on free speech (or wrongthink) now culminating in the online safety bill and its equivalents in so many other countries in the anglosphere and the west right now.

This is a coordinated and orchestrated attack by those Non Governmental Organisations and other alphabet soups who very much DO seem to have their paws in ‘our’ governments. None of these ‘governments’ work for the ordinary, non-elite ‘us’ anymore.

Klaus Schwab has boasted that the WEF have “penetrated ze cabinets…” They (sorry – zey) are running us now and one of the obvious (to me anyway) ways they are doing this is in the encouragement of the breakdown of the minimum application of basic law and order by importing illegals as potential criminals by the thousands, while zealously over-policing hurty words and wongthink. Hence, “the suspicion arises that some at least are breaking the law simply because … no one is stopping them.” Same as UK in US and in much of Europe…

This is real and happening now and it is not intended to end well for ordinary folk. Words like “pluralism” mean absolutely nothing in this context: a mere archaism.

Waffles
Waffles
9 months ago

Multiculturalism, low crime, light touch police.

Pick 2.

Kerry Davie
Kerry Davie
9 months ago

Orwell’s famous (or should that be infamous?) trifecta of “War is Peace”, “Freedom is Slavery”, “Ignorance is Strength” should be joined by a fourth equally false slogan: “Diversity is Unity”.
Individualism is not the problem; multicultural excess is.

Last edited 9 months ago by Kerry Davie
Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
9 months ago

Crime and anti social behaviour is committed by a small minority. There is no need to abandon pluralism or indeed individualism , that is a specious argument and a strategy to exploit crime as a political opportunity to manipulate people. All that is needed is enforcement cameras, ID cards, much heavier policing, 3 strikes and you are out laws and probably 200,000 more prison places in which to permanently incarcerate the feral undesirables who cause the problems. This could co exist with trans rights, cannabis legalisation and drug treatment rooms which might enhance the likelihood of positive outcomes. This was applied in the US in the 1990s with positive results.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
9 months ago

This presupposes that our judges and lawyers academics and Home Office are all committed to the rule of law. And that would be wrong. They serve now the Higher Laws of Diversity and Wokery. How many times to we hear those involved in criminal justice reject notions of evil, guilt and personal responsibility? Its no yoof clubs! Its the cost of living crisis! Of course the snti oil brat protests are legit, they are saving Earth!! They are all fleeing war and persecution! Scoundrels all. Our legal system – like our media – have been captured in the progressive cultural revolution. And our police/militia are just plain dumb.

Jonathan Nash
Jonathan Nash
9 months ago

Last edited 9 months ago by Jonathan Nash
Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
8 months ago

I would prefer Singaporean levels of law enforcement and a US sized prison population to permanently warehouse the undesirable minority. There is no reason though why this should be incompatible with pluralism unless your view is that laws should be broken if you dont agree with them.

Sarah Burgin
Sarah Burgin
8 months ago

Article completely misses the point, the elite (our government) have shown themselves to be absolute liars breaking the rules they made. Such a moral and ethical breakdown displayed by those in power is surely a breakdown of the social contract.

Rachel Taylor
Rachel Taylor
8 months ago

Its the chewing gum syndrome.

Nanda Kishor das
Nanda Kishor das
8 months ago

Most insightful article I’ve read for a while.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago

Mary Harrington you disappoint me (and perhaps yourself too) for endlesslessly suggesting blunt, Tory-friendly solutions to problems of social disintegration. Yes, greater immigration and weaker policing may be behind rising crime here, but have you nothing to say (you never mention it) on the raging wealth inequality in this country or the profit-price spiral that is also driving desperate people living pay cheque to pay cheque to commit these acts? Have you forgotten your younger commitments to movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the importance of siding with the 99%, or is your despair at the failure of these campaigns so much that you’ve abandoned making any analyses of our current problems that might upset your paymasters or largely right-wing following?
You came within a breath of commenting on the economic dimension to these issues, but, as with your book Feminism Against Progress (in which we’re supposed to believe that trans ideology poses more of a threat to the family than the fact that working families increasingly can’t even make enough money to support themselves), you stayed well away.

nigel roberts
nigel roberts
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Those “desperate people living paycheck to paycheck” seem usually to be driving high performance Audis BMWs and Mercs.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  nigel roberts

Evidence?

Clare Sibson
Clare Sibson
9 months ago

This is the article which has finally pushed me over the edge of cancelling my subscription to Unherd. It smacks of the very polarisation, or artificial obliteration of sensible moderate ground, that I read Unherd to get away from. There is no probable causal link between multi-culturalism (which is not new) and petty-crime. There is no religious or ethnic minority group in the UK that promotes shoplifting as a core value! There is, currently, a serious breakdown in social cohesion, and in communal identity. There are no doubt many interrelated causes for this. A decade-and-a-half of austerity, and of incremental erosion of base-level funding for police, criminal justice, education and other front line services is a huge part of the problem. The way that children and emerging adults’ interests were squandered on the altar of covid policies is probably another. But to grab the desolate moral wasteland that the last 15 years of disastrous National Government have left behind as a platform from which to tear down pluralism is obscene opportunism all of its own. I’m not buying this publication any more.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Sibson
Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

“It smacks of the very polarisation, or artificial obliteration of sensible moderate ground, that I read Unherd to get away from. There is no probable causal link between multi-culturalism (which is not new) and petty-crime. There is no religious or ethnic minority group in the UK that promotes shoplifting as a core value!”.

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

Point out where Mary Harrington said any of that, she didn’t. You’re projecting.

Clare Sibson
Clare Sibson
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

It’s hard to point out where Mary Harrington says anything much, in this article, as she defines none of her terms – not even “pluralism” itself. But since I understand modern “pluralism” to be toleration (within the limits of the law) of different expressions of cultural value, I’m not out of order to ask, which ethnic/cultural group in our society promotes petty crime as a value? The advocates of shoplifting Harrington names are Teenage TikTock-ers? Seriously? We are supposed to row back on toleration,
multi-culturalism and plurality as an antidote to that “group” and its message? Surely we could just implement the existing measures contained in the Theft Act instead.

Harrington has no experience of law enforcement, or of developing or implementing penal policy. None of what she says is backed by evidence – nor even first hand knowledge. She mentions, casually, regimes which use the death penalty to punish drug dealers as if that’s a QED that harsher penalties reduce crime. And she is just plain wrong. If Harrington had ever been tasked with the job of visiting in prison a teenage girl from Jamaica, whose desperate social circumstances have motivated her to enter the UK with a few pounds of raw cocaine tied up in swallowed condoms in her body (any one of which would kill her if it burst) and informed that young person that after her plea of guilty is entered she will likely receive a prison sentence of more than 15 years for her crime, she would have a different view of draconian penal policy and its likely efficacy on the fight against crime in the UK.

What reduces crime is the deterrence of an effective police force (which creates the risk of being “caught”) and a general population who believe they have something real and valuable to lose in the event that they are caught and prosecuted for breaking the law. There is plenty of data to establish that even affluent people will help themselves to property they know they have no right to, if the risk of detection is removed. And desperate people will do desperate things, even in the face of the threat of death. These are facts of human life shared across the plurality of different social groups.

Overall, Harrington takes a really important issue, and reduces it to the level of university debate club argument. It’s appalling. And that’s no projection of mine.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Sibson
Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

It appears to me you’re making the point that Mary Harrington is refering to in this article of having some kind of halfway house when it comes to dealing with crime. We’re way past that now thanks to over population and a financial crash that has laid waste to public services that were already under strain.

Giving succor to criminal gangs and the people who avail themselves of them is no solution, it makes matters worse.

Clare Sibson
Clare Sibson
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

I am not making a point about what Mary Harrington is referring to. I’m making the point that it is totally unclear what on earth she is referring to throughout the article. What does she mean by pluralism? At one point she implies it means “having significant immigration”. Elsewhere she implies it means having diversity of “values” (like, embracing theft, or what?) She needs to get specific, since she is including Dubai – where homosexuality carries the death penalty – as pluralistic. (Dubai has some religious and ethnic diversity but is in many cultural and social ways extremely homogeneous.)

And how, does she suppose, pluralism causes shop lifting? I’m pretty sure degrees of pluralism and incidence of small scale theft will not correlate in a statistically significant way. Examining the incidents of pickpocketing on the streets of London now and in the early Victorian era might be a good place to start an actual analysis of that hypothesis.

And what does the article mean by “light policing”? Has the author ever read the College of Policing’s guidance on the use of lethal force? Has she ever been involved in – or even studied – a single decided court case where the limits of lawful force under English law was adjudicated? By “light policing” does she refer to one of the (I think, truly wonderful) hallmarks of British civic society: that, almost uniquely, our regular police force is unarmed. Or is she referring to the fact that (unlike “pluralistic” Dubai) we don’t have capitol punishment?

The problem with this type of journalism – which is intellectual and wordy, but very light on definition and on verifiable facts – is that it contributes to the very herding of people into polarised groups of thought that UnHerd is supposedly seeking to avoid. Your reference to “giving succour to criminal gangs” is a great example of this. Who is advocating that? Not me, that’s for sure. I have been part of several teams of criminal prosecutors responsible for bringing successful cases against the organisers and funders of large scale heroin importations that ran from Northern Kurdistan to Scotland in the 1990s. By the age of 25, I had developed an immense respect for the patient diligence of police officers who worked for years at a time – putting in long, dull hours on observation, surveillance and cross-border evidence collection – to crack open and prove cases against the heads of these criminal gangs. I’m a big fan of that kind of policing.

But I’m also a big fan of the wonderfully creative rehabilitation programmes that were once run in small pockets of this country, for much less serious forms of offending. In the 1990s, the probation service at Camberwell Youth Court ran a community service programme for young kids caught “TWOCing” that is, joy-riding cars. This crime was a real blight on the local area – a nuisance and expense for victims whose cars were taken and damaged; a life-threatening menace for pedestrians and road users. Nothing worked, in terms of deterrence. Prison sentences, were not only expensive but completely ineffective. The “recidivism rate” (that is, how often and how quickly convicted persons reoffended in the same way) for the offence was extremely high regardless of the severity of the response. Until some clever spark came up with the idea of founding a probation centre around a newly commissioned drag car track. Kids convicted of “twoking”, for a first offence, were sentenced to a period of compulsory, regular and punctual attendance at this track, where they were taught to fix, maintain and drive cars. If I remember rightly, they could even work towards formal qualifications while there. The recidivism rate after completion of the course, was so low, that it became the sentence of choice for the very-far-from-bleeding-heart magistrates who sat in Camberwell back in those days.

And what I’m really not a fan of, is bandying about the death penalty, or any other increase in penal powers, on the unexamined assumption that increasing sentence severity reduces the incidence of all (or any one particular) crime. To go back to my example of the teenage importer of swallowed condoms of cocaine, she will not be deterred from her journey to the UK by foreknowledge (which I doubt she could even reliably get hold of) of tariff sentences for drug importation in England and Wales. Her circumstances were such as to drive her to accept the threat of the death inherent in the act of swallowing tens of condoms of pure cocaine. She was by definition selected as a mule because she could be coerced and/or was otherwise beyond the influence of deterrent sentences.

Mary Harrington assumes, but does not credibly establish, a link between “pluralism” and crime. She also assumes, and grossly over simplifies, the relationship between severity of penal policy and effective deterrence. (The death penalty for double parking would probably eradicate that social problem. The death penalty for murder would certainly not eradicate, and almost certainly would not reduce rates of, homicide.)

Much more likely factors to explain any recent rise in the incidence of shoplifting are: the cost of living crisis; the absolute under-capacity of the police and criminal courts to process criminal cases large and small – such that many cases of petty crime simply have to be overlooked by a system on its knees. (The number of sitting criminal judges and functioning criminal courts were steadily reduced year-on-year from almost the day Cameron and Osborne took over and the physical decay of court buildings is now increasing incapacity further. Last week, the ceiling of a courtroom in Southwark Crown Court actually collapsed onto the bench where the court clerk sat.)

These are not topics the author of this article is well qualified to publish about.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Sibson
Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

Sophistry

Ralph Hanke
Ralph Hanke
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

Clare, your passion for your point is wonderful to experience.

And, you are packing a lot of ideas in a small space. Which, I think, makes it difficult for your nuances to shine through.

IMHO, I think you should approach Freddie and ask about submitting an article or two or three. I think we would all benefit from reading your perspective in a more fleshed out form.

P.S. Please do not leave UnHerd.

Last edited 9 months ago by Ralph Hanke
Clare Sibson
Clare Sibson
9 months ago
Reply to  Ralph Hanke

Thank you.

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

You’ve read the article and self selected lines from it and ignored its context (deliberately I suggest).
It’s not something you’ll like to hear but three generations of “progressive” ideology has failed, Life is inherently unfair, placing the individual over the community and rights over responsibility will lead to disorder. You keep on adding complexity to the system thinking this will change it, yet it only makes it worse that’s because of the paradoxical nature of human behaviour. People will for the most part seek an advantage, a fair or an unfair one.
Progressives believe you can mould society and create “Utopia”, yet it fails every time. You go looking for answers and come up with something as absurd as Postmodernism and “Theory”. You can’t see the wood for the trees.

Last edited 9 months ago by Andrew R
Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

Thank you for this and for sharing your experience in the justice system. From all I’ve read on the subject, rehabilitative programs do indeed work far better than punitive imprisonments/death sentences (not only in rates of recidivism but also of course the money saved by not repeatedly locking people up, as well as by the productive uses that those on rehabilitative programs are put to). I read of a prison management team in North Dakota who went to see a Norwegian prison and after the first day the chief prison officer was in tears, wondering how they had ever justified locking people up like animals. Of course it might not work for everyone. A psychopath like Anders Brevik might be beyond redemption, but so often it seems – judging by the evidence – that if you treat someone like a person they will start to behave as such. In the US that isn’t what they’re doing and their prison population is a quarter of the world’s, as you probably know.
On MH’s point that pluralism causes crime, I admit she’s being vague here, but I think – because this is a regular theme in her articles – she’s referring to societies of strangers where trust is naturally lower as a result of lower contact between neighbours.By that definition it is easy to see how inundations of individualistic strangers could lead to a breakdown in trust and accountability that would facilitate more crime (though by which groups is unclear since there’s no data on who’s behind the crime wave and why). Strangers here could be anything from foreign immigrants to Britsih people who have moved from once city to another and so feel no especial obligation to their new environment. It does seem to be the case from what I’ve just researched that crime has – across the 20th century – been growing in Britain, suggesting – maybe – that broad 20th century trends (e.g. geographical mobility, immigration and secularisation may have been behind this, though going on my knowledge of commonwealth immigrants who came to this country full of hope and respect for the land they’d heard so many good things about I doubt immigration has much to do with it.)
As to this current spike however the fact it’s come directly after this cost of living crisis following a fall in petty crime the last 10 or so years makes it screamingly obvious to me that it’s the high prices and the profit-price spiral fuelling them that’s driving this. I mean £7 for fruit and fibre cereal? Really?

Last edited 9 months ago by Desmond Wolf
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

Maybe you are oversimplifying MH. I think she uses ‘severity of penal policy’ as a rough stand-in for the seriousness with which a society takes the enforcement of its laws. You acknowledge how much less serious the UK has gotten in this regard as you allude to underfunding law enforcement and court systems.
And you complain that she does not ‘credibly establish’ a link between pluralism and crime; instead you blame the ‘cost of living crisis,’ but haven’t there been many periods of British history with much worse economics but much better respect for the law?
Isn’t it clear that the more heterogeneous the society, the less mutual trust exists among the citizenry? People are simply more willing to commit crime against people less like them. You’ll always have a higher baseline crime rate in a diverse, transient society than a culturally-unified, stable one.

Last edited 9 months ago by Kirk Susong
Clare Sibson
Clare Sibson
9 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Hi there. I can see why you think I’m acknowledging that we have reduced severity of penal policy. But in truth I am not. There is a distinction between, on the one hand, severity of penal policy, and on the other hand, rates of enforcement. Sentencting policy is: what punishment does the law impose if a person’s crime is detected and proved in court? Enforcement rate is: how well do we actually detect crimes and bring offenders to court? In theory, these combine (along with other factors) to produce whatever deterrent effect our criminal laws might have. We could have the most severe penal policy in the world (say, amputation of one hand for a first offence of shoplifting, or mandatory life imprisonment for a single offence of burglary) but that would have zero deterrent effect if we had (and everyone understood we had) a zero rate of enforcement. Forgive me, I take this knowledge for granted because I work in the field. And obviously that’s unhelpful, as this is not common knowledge!

What we have done in recent years in this country is not to decrease severity of penal policy. I cannot remember the last time any government legislated to bring down the maximum penalty for any offence (and to be clear, I’m not saying they should). What we have done (by more than decimating the resources of the police and the criminal court systems) is to erode rates of enforcement to very low levels. And the system is now absolutely on its knees. Meanwhile, as another commentator said on this thread, breakfast cereal costs more than £7 and significant numbers of families are malnourished. Go figure.

I am afraid I very strongly disagree with your assertion that strangers commit crimes on each other more frequently (or with more ease) than people who know each other. Most victims of violent and sexual crimes are well known to each other, often because they live together in the same house. I sincerely hope that neither you or I is ever murdered, but if we were, it would very likely be by someone well known to us. And, personally, though I practice criminal law myself, the most frequent complaints of petty acts of theft (or, to be fair, unauthorised borrowing) I hear, are made between siblings in the same family. Obviously, some crimes by definition victimise strangers – like cold calling fraud. (Although ironically I once acted in a court case about just such a racket, in which one of the defendants had defrauded his own mother in one of the schemes.) I concede that crimes between strangers are probably more frequently reported than crimes between people who know each other. But you would need to prove your assertion that, like for like, they more frequently occur, for me to take it seriously. As with almost everything in this field, it’s not helpful to make theoretic claims without a very firm grip on actual, real world data.

Last edited 9 months ago by Clare Sibson
Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

I think you misread my comment…. MH used “severity of penal policy” (in your words) as a rough stand-in for how seriously a country takes criminal justice. You acknowledge and reiterate here that the UK does not seem to be taking criminal justice very seriously, because funding is so poor. In my opinion you are cherry-picking MH’s rhetorical devices without addressing the underlying point… countries that take criminal justice more seriously tend to have lower rates of crime. There are lots of factors but quite simply a country has to care about enforcing its laws for them to be obeyed. I’m sure MH would be happy to debate the interplay between severity of punishment and likelihood of punishment, but that’s not to her point in this article.
As to your point that most crimes are committed by people well-known to the victims… I consider this to be an important rhetorical sleight of hand of your own. MH’s article is addressing the general sense of rising public disorder in the UK. This sense of public disorder makes people scared to leave their houses, fearful of strangers on the street, nervous about commercial activity, etc. This is the problem she is addressing – and I posit that it is obvious that “crime committed by someone you know” is not the cause of the public’s perception of “rising public disorder.” What makes people scared of being out and about in their communities? I stand by my claim that “strangers unlike you” are more likely to commit crimes against you than “strangers like you” – and that either is more worrisome for most of the electorate than the likelihood of being the victim of an acquaintance.
You’re engaging here in good faith, so perhaps these sleights of hand are not intended to mislead. Nevertheless, they remind me how when there’s a school shooting in the US, gun control activists deploy statistics that conflate murder by gun and suicide by gun, using the latter to exaggerate the incidence of the former. There are surely ways in which the problems are related, but the latter are much less the cause of public concern than the former.
PS. I’m a former criminal defense lawyer.

Last edited 9 months ago by Kirk Susong
Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Clare Sibson

You’ve read the article, self selected lines from it and ignored any context (deliberately I suggest).

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Um maybe the title? It literally poses the question of whether pluralism (i.e. multi-culturalism) can be low-crime and then argues this is only possible with tough policing e.g. in Singapore (although omitting whether the very effective Dutch and Norwegian rehabilitative approaches have ever been tried there)..The article is also – as with so many of hers – utterly blind to the economic dimension (let’s remember that petty theft had actually been long on the way down before this cost of living crisis)
Check out figure 1 from this ONS page:
https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingseptember2022
My aunt who’s been in the police 10 years has also told me all forms of crime apart from cyber crime have until recently been falling

Last edited 9 months ago by Desmond Wolf
Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Some fair points there.

j watson
j watson
9 months ago

Usual muddle.
Starts off with referencing garage burglary, shoplifting and drug taking and then into the death penalty and the El Salvadorian quasi-military crack downs on civil disorder! And the garage burglary and shoplifting all the blame of modern Pluralism. It is a bit of twaddle.
She says it herself, the Police don’t respond. It’s not because the Law preventing burglary and shoplifting has been removed by some woke-ist legislator (of course she totally ignores fact the Party of Law & Order been in power for 13yrs), no it’s because the Police are too stretched and we haven’t invested sufficiently in them. Our per-capita number of Police is less than in 2010. Not a sausage of course in Author’s Article about this because she wants to angle onto woke-ist pluralism. Deflection, deflection.
Vast majority in this country want strengthened Policing and more Policing. They don’t want abusive Policing, just effective and responsive will do.

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re getting even more desperate in your responses and with plenty of deflection yourself (no change there). You have given up on the faux reasonableness that you like to project. This is 30 years of failure we’re looking at, honestly did you think that importing so many people in such a short space of time was actually going to improve social cohesion, only to be followed by the biggest financial crash in 80 years. You’re happy to ignore all these legacy issues that happened under New Labour’s three terms of government.
Deflect away again and call me a Tory apologist. Mary Harrington is right in what she’s written (as often as not), this is what’s upsetting you.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

The crime and anti social behaviour is being committed by the indigenous feral underclass and not immigrants. The Tories have done nothing to stop their breeding and gave even sought to restrict abortion in some cases which would increase their numbers. My policy would be to give welfare and a council flat only to those who agreed to sign a good behaviour covenant and agreed to irreversible sterilisation. This would reduce numbers and future crime. The Tories will never do this but Labour have authoritarian instincts that could mutate in this direction after all, early fabians supported “ social hygiene “

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago

I didn’t say that “all” crime was committed by immigrants, only that increasing the immigration rate by six times was going to have a severe impact on the allocation of services and improvements in infrastructure. Immigrants are also victims themselves of such short sighted policies.
Regarding “the indigenous feral underclass”, they too are affected by these policies along with 50 years of a “progressive” mindset that places rights over responsibility and the individual over the community.

j watson
j watson
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Oh jeez, the nonsense believed by likes of AR and DR why we got into such a mess last decade. Complete inability to comprehend or develop proper Policy whilst being befuddled by sloganeering.

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

You (and the Left) in general have no arguments, only fallacies. Explain my lack of comprehension over delivering an idiotic policy such as increasing the population by such an amount that the country couldn’t accommodate it. Blair only decided to introduce identity cards after admitting over a million or so people in. He couldn’t go out to the electorate and say “Oh look, we’ve rapidly increased the population and we didn’t tell you because we knew you wouldn’t like it, so we’re now in a pickle and ID cards will help solve it, we think”. Genius.
Oh Jeez.

D Glover
D Glover
9 months ago

 My policy would be to give welfare and a council flat only to those who agreed to sign a good behaviour covenant and agreed to irreversible sterilisation.

You’re not serious, are you?
What would you do with the millions who wouldn’t sign, or wouldn’t behave having signed, or wouldn’t submit to the procedure?
Where would you find surgeons willing to geld the undeserving poor?

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

He’s a libertarian and quite serious. If the Right has an equivalent to Marxists, it’s the lolbertarians.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
9 months ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

I am not a libertarian. A libertarian would advocate no council flats and no benefits. I support redistribution and publically funded healthcare but only in return for recipients guarantee of good behaviour and controls on the fertility of the poorest who may otherwise be incentivised to reproduce excessively

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
9 months ago

Margaret Sanger approves.

Douglas Redmayne
Douglas Redmayne
9 months ago
Reply to  D Glover

Those who refused would have no access to state resources and would have to find a private income. Those who misbehaved would be evicted and have their benefits stopped. I am sure surgeons could be found, although they might need to be imported from abroad on temporary work visas

j watson
j watson
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Oh dear back onto the one trick pony-ism of it’s the fault of the immigrants AR whilst also pulling contortions to absolve the Right who’ve been in power last 13yrs.
Remember which Home Sec sanctioned 600k net migration legal visa last year – yep Braverman.
And both you and Author no mention of Policing levels. V interesting.

Last edited 9 months ago by j watson
Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

“one trick pony-ism of it’s the fault of the immigrants”. Where?
In my previous comment “Immigrants are also victims themselves of such short sighted policies” Who own most of those corner shops that are experiencing this crime wave, immigrants, first and second wave generation.
Where have I defended the current government’s policy (I haven’t).
Stop embarrassing yourself.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

They’ve blamed benefits ‘scroungers’, they’ve blamed the EU, they’ve blamed immigrants, they’ve blamed the trans community and now the ‘woke blob’ – is there ever a point at which these people consider that the people actually running the country might have something to do with the state the country is in?

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Yes, for the last thirty years!

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Fair – and Blair’s drastic cutting of NHS waiting times, creation of Sure Start and the minimum wage etc vs Thatcher’s spaffing of North Sea oil on expensive tax cuts doesn’t complicate that picture of a 30 years’ decline?

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Probably, I’m not going to defend the Thatcher government’s record. Globalisation and technocratic government started under Major and accelerated under Blair with the idiotic decision of mass immigration. At least Blair was competently incompetent, the last 13 years have been a disaster.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

That’s honest of you, and I assume you’re referring to the Maastricht Treaty (also probably regrettable in my eyes) as the starting point of globalisation here? (Though let’s not forget it was Churchill who said that we need a ‘United States of Europe’ to remain relevant in the world).
The mass immigration under Blair was too high and the Iraq War unpardonable (not that the Tories said anything much against it at the time). BUT – and it’s amazing how virtually no one on here will admit it – Blair did positive things for this country which helped ordinary people. Halving NHS waiting times and lifting almost a million children out of relative poverty were transformative changes that compare with nothing this government has done in the last 13 years. Whenever I ask people on here what their favourite Tory policy of this century has been I can usually defend their record better than they can (Cameron made some positive gestures with his Big Society plan, like the glacial increase in co-operative housing that ensued, and Gove’s Free Schools did give some schools a new freedom and rigour which I’ve witnessed first hand). Though that’s because I (like you) give credit where it’s due and try and see the good in perceived opponents, an attiude so ironically lacking amongst commentators on here forever banging on about the loss of British and Christian values in this country.

Last edited 9 months ago by Desmond Wolf
Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Thank you, compromise is a messy business and difficult given the paradoxical nature of governing within the political systems we have.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  Desmond Wolf

Writing about the minimum wage as an achievement demonstrates how little you know about this country. The Labour party reintroduced slavery into this country via immigration. God alone knows how many EU immigrants were being paid a £1 an hour long after the minimum wage was introduced.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
9 months ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Mr Watson is a living fossil of pre-millenium New Labour. His contributions are always predictable but a necessary reminder of what his class and age-group have rattling around their noggins. As a young man he no doubt mocked his elders when they expressed exasperation at what was done to this country, but I have no desire to mock him. He will find the future confusing and distressing enough.

Caradog Wiliams
Caradog Wiliams
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Yes, people want more police but they also don’t want quotas. If we have more police there will be more training about which pronouns to use, about all woke things. The shear amount of woke training will mean that graduates have to be employed. The bosses will continue to be graduates, not proper police officers. There will be more paperwork and no time for policing.
Just like the NHS, you throw money at it and you get more cr*p.

j watson
j watson
9 months ago

Got a son in training, after leaving the Military CW. I can tell you his training has v little of what you suggest. Nothing on pronouns for sure, but it is a great bit of mythology for the mouth-foaming crowd.

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

Oh Jeez, “Mouth foaming crowd”. You left out “dog whistle”.

Andrew R
Andrew R
9 months ago
Reply to  j watson

The only foaming at the mouth is coming from you.

Desmond Wolf
Desmond Wolf
9 months ago

And the fact that other Eu