The latest crime statistics are confirmation in reverse of arguments put forward by the “rogue economist” Steven Levitt in Freakanomic. In Freakanomics Levitt researched the statistics on crime in the 1990’s. He realised that the legalisation of abortion in the United States in the 1970’s was the reason crime came down in the 1990’s. Put simply, the unwanted children of the 1970’s were not born. Twenty years later, these children were not there to be the criminals of the 1990’s. The Tories can only see the world from their point of view, from their position of privilege. They are wilfully blind to the pressures on the most vulnerable because they have never been that weak. Austerity removed social services. Services that helped the most in need. No services to help, vulnerable individuals become involved in crime. The Tories presume crime is a choice. As if the most vulnerable have chosen to hide huge sums of money in off-shore accounts to avoid paying tax. Crime for the vulnerable is not a choice, it is a consequence. No money, poor housing, disrupted education, lack of choices, this list could go on. You give me a circumstance and I’ll give you a reason why someone might end up getting involved in crime. It is not as simple as the Tory narrative would have us believe. What they a doing is blaming the victim for the crime. But there is no easy fix for the problems caused by austerity. It has taken ten years for austerity to get us where we are now. It may take ten years after it has ended to see crime figures decline. What if austerity continues? What will Britain look like with ten more years of rising crime figures? If it’s a “war zone” now, what will ten more years of austerity bring, an apocalypse?
She had her phone pressed tight to her ear as I followed her into the station. The sole of her Nike Roshe trainers squeaked on the hard tile floor as she hurried towards the barrier. The casual comfort of the shoe clashed with the sobriety of her outfit. I had no doubt that in the black leather rucksack, she had slung on her back, were a pair of formal shoes. Nothing too high. A pair of Mary Janes with a small detail that made them interesting; an accent of colour, or a patterned lining; something that matched the navy dress she had carefully chosen to start the week? It was a plain dress that stopped an inch south of short. She had chosen it because it relied on tailoring not gimmicks to make its point. The modesty of her choice was reinforced by heavy black tights that clung to legs that had little, if any, variation from ankle to thigh. Her jacket, styled on a tweed classic by Chanel, hinted at tradition. It had no doubt been reproduced by a high street retailer, stitched together in China, so she could get the look, without the price tag, of the original. The grey pashmina she had slung over her neck hung long in front of her. It had a delicate herringbone pattern I only noticed as I followed her though the gates. It seemed superfluous on this warm autumn morning, leaving the impression that it was worn more as a comforter than a scarf. It hid a neck exposed by hair she had clipped casually to the back of her head. Strands of hair spiked from the clip like the fronds of a palm, exposing a small gold earring sitting tidily in the lobe of her ear. It offered a small hint of interest in an otherwise conservative impression. You could tell the pair were worn for sentiment rather than style. A gift given to her by her significant other. Something to bring good luck in the week ahead. The last thing I heard as I showed her my back, singing over the sounds of the morning commute like Keira Knightley in Pride & Prejudice, was an excited exclamation, “Oh dream!” The “dream” sat uncomfortably in my ear. She had used it not as a noun to mean a series of thoughts, but as an adjective. I had never heard dream used that way before, I’d never heard it used to mean great.
There’s an interesting idea for a film in this article. I can see the obvious parallel to Schindler’s List. Although Chiune Sugihara’s story doesn’t have a list to focus the narrative. Sugihara doesn’t change in the way Schindler does. Sugihara remains steadfast despite the pressure to conform. The question to be answered is what are the stakes, what does Sugihara want? Something to think about.