7 Responses to The Internet, crime and political disengagement

  1. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,

    There well may be a link to the internet but it may also be that internet theft and fraud are less reported and less observed and together make up a huge industry. In addition people who live relatively isolated lives online and are fairly tough and dangerous are less likely to come to the aid of those victims of crime near them with whom they no longer interact closely and the more vulnerable are less likely to report crime without close personal connections to potential protectors. There is an old saw or chestnut in American local law enforcement that when you have a working class/lower middle class neighborhood with no crime at all except a rare spectacular killing spree you know where the Mafia (or other highly developed criminal enterprise) soldiers live.

    Many times in the past true and false accusations of minor crime functioned to separate races, classes and other groups instead of resorting to open segregation. That has largely declined.
    I wonder how much real incidences of violating the law have diminished. I am sure the statisticians can defend there data, any takers?

  2. Lord Norton says:

    franksummers3ba: I should explain that I wasn’t referring to reported crime. The official crime statistics under-report crime. The crime survey is more reliable in indicating volume and trend in crime in the UK.

  3. franksummers3ba says:

    Lord Norton,
    “That, though, appears specific to the UK, whereas the decrease in violent crime is not specific to the UK. ” It appeared to be at least a comparative and perhaps a supranational survey. But I suppose it is possible that crime is going down in the total area under study. I do not doubt those creating the data have — Their– reasons for finding that trend. Perhaps laws have changed or perhaps it is really the case that fewer offenses are committed against the same statute book. I remain respectfully skeptical. The internet has certainly shaped much of life.

    Perhaps people gaming online used to be at events where they fought, drank and committed sexual offenses. I wonder if you meant in the EU as the other standard. Perhaps governance and conformity good and bad do get real benefits from the same technology that has helped revolutions as well. I think it is very interesting to ponder. I will try to look into it for myself a bit more. .

    About this I entirely agree with you: ” In short, the growth of the Internet has had major consequences, some for the better and some arguably not. The challenge for politicians is to be aware of exactly what is happening and adapt to it.”

    It seems that the internet has come about at a time when isolating and individualizing forces were already on the rise.
    I am entirely interested in what you are discussing here. I went to a park planning meeting today and it seems I recall that overall the reported participation of those in the process was five online to one in attendance. I also feel certain that online participation was vastly less meaningful than personal attendance at a planning event.

    This is my longest post in a while and it seems pertinent to remark I would not have had very much interaction with you without the internet. So it is in this case a matter of wondering what each of us has given up to interact with each other that has offset this engagement. I find that the thousand of very limited relationship I have had online do make me less likely to seek out some kinds of interaction in person. But unlike you and I it is not always so simplistic just as you seem to know many other commenters in a way you do not know me.

    I may seem to be taking a long time to say nothing. However, I simply find this area of study more complex and fascinating than many others. I for example am not sure what my relations with people I have known in China, the Philippines of Mexico would be without the internet. What is true is that with the internet we are devoid of the excuses for very limited communication we would otherwise have — so less convincingly attached to each other. But we may have more volume of information exchanged. I wonder if parties and such are so very different. The access is limitless and so participation may always be attributed to the degree of interest one has.

    There is also the fact that one can be in all kinds of trouble one would not so easily get into before. I may chose to consult a solicitor before going to the UK as there is no First Amendment and I was booted from a classroom in the commonwealth for some speech the instructor seemed to think bordered on some statute violation — although it was not made clear to me which in those days. Prior to the internet free-wheeling political discussions in public seldom occurred across international boundaries.

    I find many politicians in my country want to avoid very much public engagement and still be able to claim they met with the public. Other have a more deft and honorable goal short of maximizing engagement. I still do not see the Lords of the Blog as having many comparable members of a class. I know over the years you have mentioned a couple. The White House has a petition site which has called on the DOD to build a Death Star like the one in Star Wars and has called for the exile of Piers Morgan. I have been involved in many groups and outlets online and off but I do not think it easy to quantify what accounts for political engagement here.

    Well I will stop rather than come to an end. I hope this question will come up again whether I comment or not. Wherever it is studied it is relevant to everyone what the effect of this medium is.

  4. tizres says:

    Election litter: “Under the Tories, youth employment in the North East has reached a record high.”

    Thing is, this was in the Labour communication.

    • tizres says:

      I should have added that this was clearly a typo, especially when read with the rest of the paragraph.

  5. Ros Jackson says:

    I agree that citizenship education will help. Political participation amongst the younger generation is at a crisis point. Turnout at hyperlocal elections can be in the teens, and I think at the last Lincolnshire county council elections it was around 38% at most in my area. That’s not representation, it’s lip service.

    I’d like to see certain things taught in school: who Emmeline Pankhurst was, how politics works, the structure of government. And I’d like to see more young people joining youth councils, or observing council meetings to get a feel for how it all works. But education is an uphill battle when you’re competing with lolcats and the latest memes. If it doesn’t work, we need to consider compulsory voting,

  6. maude elwes says:

    I do believe this is another political fallacy. It’s massaged statistics. And we are told by the media, directed by those in power who want to put a good slant on their time in control of our destiny. Stabbing of a school teacher is not something my elderly relatives can remember in their lifetime, and when I was a child, you couldn’t say boo to a goose, let alone have to pass through a gun and knife detector to enter your school corridor.


    Crime, especially violent crime, is encouraged through the onslaught of the gameboy or the fanciful idea that girls have the same desire and skill to maim and slaughter as the male of the species. It’s fashionable to be a terrorist.

    Read the article.


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