Saturday, 26 January 2013

Not the whole picture

I'm always suspicious of articles like the following, especially in the Guardian:
'Stealing to eat' cases increase as austerity bites
The data may still be sketchy and the evidence largely anecdotal, but there are signs that shoplifting food is becoming an austerity-era shoplifting phenomenon: more people stealing to eat because they cannot afford basic groceries.
Which renders this article next to useless if it's based on hearsay. Being the Guardian, it's an attempt to extrapolate a few anecdotes into a bigger story with which to bash the coalition government, one of which being a grand total of four people, dealt with by one police force in a year for shoplifting. It's hardly conclusive proof of George Osbourne starving the poor into a life of crime to feed themselves.

Of course if you were caught red-handed, saying that you were stealing to feed your children is likely to garner more sympathy than saying you were stealing to feed a smack habit...

The problem I have is that we know little of the circumstances that have led to someone going out and nicking stuff. Perhaps they've had some unexpected bills come in or they've gambled and lost it all on the horses. Maybe they have no idea about budgets and priorities like this couple. It's actually very unhelpful and also lazy to blame Tory Cuts™ when there may be an underlying reason that needs to be addressed that won't be solved, regardless of how much money you throw at it.

1 comment:

  1. And the poorest in society are still far more likely to be obese than the richest.