All the content here is a mirror of content hosted at erstwhile group blog The Sharpener, before evil domain name spammers nicked the domain name (this may also reflect a degree of ‘forgetting to renew’ on my part).

It’s based directly on a database backup from 2008, so assorted hacking (in the ‘good’ sense of the term) had to be done to retrieve it. Certain things are still missing, including categories, reflecting changes in how WordPress operates now compared to when the database was done.

The formatting is, as you can see, basic-bordering-on-rubbish. I’ll add a list of posts by author at some point, and may fix the categories thing. Otherwise, this is as it’ll stay – primarily so Sharpeners have an archive of their own pieces.

The latest crime figures are out [PDF]: they show a fall in recorded crime, and flat crime according to the British Crime Survey [*].

This isn’t surprising – it just highlights that the rest of the country is actually doing the same ‘crime probably down a bit and certainly not up‘ thing as London, and that crime is far lower than it was at the beginning of the decade (there’s a handy historical comparison on page 6 for the BCS figures).

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Did you know that crime in London fell by 6% last year? Weird, considering the hysterical paranoia in broadsheet papers and tabloid blogs alike.

Yes, I know that reported crime figures are seldom accurate, which is why people who claim things like “Rape offences have increased ELEVENFOLD” are being dishonest (this is because women now feel more able to report acquaintance rape to the police and know that they’ll at least be listened to, even if the rapist is still unlikely to be convicted). So let’s look at the murder rate – even the most jaded sceptics believe that murder figures are a fair reflection of the truth…

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To be on Incapacity Benefit you have to have been deemed unfit for work by your GP. Then, after several months on Income Support, you move on to Incapacity Benefit.

In case anyone needs reminding, your GP is a qualified doctor with your full medical history in front of them. Hard to think of anyone better placed to make that sort of decision. But there is one man who, without any medical training or performing any examinations, knows better than all the GPs combined.

Tory leader David Cameron said too many people were able to work, but did not.

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In the wake of the HMRC benefit disc loss furore, I repeatedly made an important point that most commentators overlooked: the information provided on those discs was completely useless to carry out any kind of serious fraud, theft or scam.

Jeremy Clarkson, to his credit, shared this view. Unlike me, he had the cojones to back this up by printing his bank account details and home address in a national newspaper. And indeed, his experiment proved that he and I were right, and that almost everyone else commenting on the affair is a hysterical paranoiac.

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It appears The People, or at least that subset of The People that post on acrimonious talk boards and read tabloid newspapers, are getting annoyed by immigration.

This comment from this Commentisfree thread is a typical summary, directed at the kind of woolly liberals who think that offering a home to the poor and the persecuted might actually be a good thing:

You and others like you always take the moral high ground when it comes to defending the rights of illegal economic migrants, irrespective of their impact on the lives of ordinary working people, whom you know next to nothing about and I suspect care even less.

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