Lies, damned lies, and motoring statistics in The Sun
There are lies, damned lies, and articles about motoring and crime statistics, and The Sun had an absolute classic yesterday in that genre. Topically titled 'Grand Theft Auto', the paper ran a two-page spread about the way that the motorist had become 'public enemy number one' in the last ten years, being treated as a criminal and taxed to the hilt.
At the foot of the article in print was a great little box-out 'explainer':
The Real Dangers
IF drivers are targeted as public enemy No1, where does that leave this lot?
BENEFIT CHEATS: They cost us £800m last year, according to official estimates
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS: No one - even the Government - know how many have slipped through the net
KNIFE CRIME: Stabbing deaths rose from 201 a year when Labour took power 11 years ago to 258 last year
GUN CRIME: Shooting deaths rose from 46 a year when Labour took power to 59 last year
HOODIES: There were 140 cases last year of people being kicked or battered to death compared with 89 in Labour's first year
PAEDOPHILES: Some have been let off with non-custodial sentences because of prison overcrowding
It seemed to me that there was one significant statistic omitted from that list of deaths.
Adding together victims of fatal stabbings, shootings and beatings, you reach a figure of 457 people who died unnecessarily in the UK last year because of a crime.
So maybe they are public enemy number 1 after all? I mean, you can't imagine being allowed to introduce a new product onto the market now that was guaranteed to kill over 3,000 people, and seriously injure another 28,000, every year, can you?