Broken Britain and Easter

1 Apr 2010 by Karl Hallam

Is Brtiain broken? It's the sort of question that tends to get asked in newspapers over a holiday weekend like Easter. Something to ponder over a chocolate egg perhaps. The Communities department of government thinks not and in a pre-purdah press release say that:

'New quality of life scorecards for every local authority that offer a unique insight into the state of the nation and challenge the notion that Britain is broken'.

Secretary of State, John Denham adds:

"For the vast majority of people, if they think about their street and the community they live in they won't recognise the picture of a broken Britain.  Whilst there are some real problems, some broken families and some limited pockets of problem behaviour, using these problems to generalise that the whole of society is broken does Britain a huge disservice and feeds a mood of pessimism. More worryingly it will lead to the wrong problems being identified and the wrong solutions being offered.

Our Nation's Civic Health gives people in every area of the country the information they need to talk up the strengths of their communities and challenge those that would seek to talk it down.

Where tough challenges really do exist around jobs, antisocial behaviour, problem families and cohesion specific action is needed to turn things around. These reports help to identify where social problems are the greatest and prompt targeted action to address them."

BBC home editor, Mark Easton has done some interesintg work on this topic, but his recent blog post on crime statistics suggest that it is hard working getting objective information. He writes:

'It's election time. Two unsolicited matey e-mails have dropped into my inbox from opposing political advisers, both wanting to draw my attention to Home Office statistics.

A Labour insider helpfully sends this graph showing how crime is down and fear of crime is rising'.

This is followed with data from the Conservatives showing how broken the country is ... this all suggests it is time to break into a chocolate egg and relax for a few days.

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