Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nordic Worship

The thing about the Nordic states is that it is so widely assumed that they are well functioning exemplars of social democracy that no one sees the need to actually look up any figures when making comparisons. Which is why liberal commentators like John Kampfner see no problem with saying things like:
. I remember talking to Martin Narey during Blair's heyday about the government's approach to teenagers. Narey, head of the expanded prison service at the time, told me an intriguing statistic: Finland had at that point three children in prison. The UK had 2,900
If Narey had said "Portugal only locks up 3 children" it wouldn't automatically be assumed to be an argument for a more liberal sentencing policy but with Finland it is. Finland is the most violent country in Western* Europe, there is no reason to look at their crime policies and assume that we should be copying them. Finland is great at many things- it probably has the best education system in Europe- but their record on crime is not one to be emulated.

* I know it isn't actually very far west but I mean Europe that wasn't behind the Iron Curtain.


Yaffle said...

"Finland is the most violent country in Western Europe"

Really? Not saying you're wrong Ross, but I've been struck by what a calm, aggro-free place it is (despite/because of having the fourth highest rate of gun ownership in the world)

Ross said...

Yaffle- I'm looking at their homicide rate:

There's is 2.5 per 100000 people, the UK in comparison has 1.28

No other Western European nation is above 2.

Yaffle said...

Hmmm... I'm wondering if it's a bit like the States - high crime/murder rates in particular areas/demographics, but otherwise not that much.

Maybe the new neighbours are having an impact? Your link gives Estonia's murder rate as 6.3, Russia's, 13. I see the two country's mafias have "an effective monopoly in prostitution in Finland".

Also "27.0% of rapes have been committed by foreigners in Finland, who comprise 2.2% of population".

Not sure why I'm springing to Finland's defence - but "violent" isn't a word I'd have used to describe it.