Daily Archives: 29 May 2008

Henley and Paddy’s memoirs

The Tories seem to be having problems deciding on who should replace Boris Johnson as their candidate in Henley. Meanwhile I got an email this morning from Lord Rennard about why I should go and help the Lib Dem campaign there:

When Paddy publishes his memoirs, he will pay great tribute to a particular group of people. This group is the one that travelled across the country and worked so hard to bring about the famous by-election victories that established the Liberal Democrats.

A particular debt is owed to those who came to help in the early stages of the key campaigns. It took many hundreds of people throughout the campaigns to win successes for the party from Eastbourne (1990) to Winchester (1997).

I’m sure that is all true, but why is Paddy planning to publish his memoirs when he published his far more extensive diaries 7 years ago?

Boris Johnson’s crime maps, data protection and land values

Unaccustomed as I am to defending Boris Johnson, I’m not convinced that publishing crime maps would necessarily result in a breach of data protection. Didn’t we solve this problem with census data decades ago?

A more intriguing objection is the complaint by RICS that “publicising high crime areas in such detail could literally wipe thousands off house prices overnight, further disadvantaging those who are already struggling to make ends meet.” I think this is possibly true, although it is a particular problem for the UK where we don’t have proper land/property taxation. In countries which use property taxes more extensively and reassess them more regularly (or indeed, at all), such data is a double edged sword. Yes, it would lead to the value of their properties dropping but that in turn would lead to them paying less tax. If you don’t get the service, you get your money back: sounds like a fair deal to me. In the UK though it would be unambiguously bad news for many, whilst enriching those fortunate enough to live in safe areas still further.