Thursday, August 27, 2009
Grayling's Broken Britain -Wire Comparison Way Off Target
Misha Glenny makes the simplest of all points in this quotation:
Inner-city Baltimore has a population of roughly 630,000. In 2008, police recorded 234 murders in the city, the great bulk of them in The Wire's location, West Baltimore, and the other predominantly black areas of the city. England and Wales by contrast boasts a population of over 52 million. In the year ending March 2009, there were 624 violent deaths here. So Baltimore has just over 1% of our population but over a third of the whole country's murder rate.
Grayling, however, is onto a good topic to which voters are receptive-most people perceive a national decline in behaviour and values- but he's overdone things absurdly. The Wire, of which I am just one of millions of fans, shows us the downward spiral that is possible once work and aspiration are replaced by poverty and the Pandora's Box of destructive addictions; near alcoholic cop, Jimmy McNulty, is one of the healthier characters in the drama. It's a dystopic vision of the future which chills us all and as so much of American culture migrates across the Atlantic, it was clearly seductively easy for the Tories' Shadow Home Secretary to indulge the comparison.
Given the Tories' propensity for urging tougher sentences with more jail, Glenny offers another dose of reality, quoting the series' creator David Simon:
"It is possible,that a few thinking viewers, after experiencing a season or two of The Wire, might be inclined, the next time they hear some politician declaring that with more prison cells, more cops, more lawyers, and more mandatory sentences that the war on drugs is winnable, to say, aloud: 'You are hopelessly full of shit'."
Well, it was stupid enough to be but Grayling has still boobed as the bulk of the media plus the author of The Wire, the mayor of Baltimore and the Chief Constable of Gtr Manchester did not seem to think so.
We do have lots of unemployment it drags you down to the gutter, I sat back last month and said to my wife boy I'll be glad when life ends because I' struggling to see a way out of my life at the moment.
I get up in the morning and think god not another day, it getting worse each week that passes I think why what for.
It must be hell to be young on the dole living on money you know is not enough, what would I have done as a kid, I've no idea
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