‘Honoured that you are writing my father’s biography’ the late Tony Benn, ‘...wonderfully written’ Hilary Benn

‘Sparkles with fascinating detail…a remarkable story of Liberal and Labour politics in the first half of the twentieth century.’ Michael Crick, Political Correspondent, Channel 4 News

‘Casts much light both on the evolution of British radicalism, and on the legacy which he bequeathed to his son, Tony. Professor Vernon Bogdanor, King's College, London

‘Brilliant biography…wonderful reading about the father and...discovering more about the son.’ Steve Richards of The Independent

‘Well-written and carefully researched, this fascinating biography brings to life a major figure in British political history…an excellent job of weaving together the strands of a complex life…as well as filling in the background of the Benn family’ Richard Doherty, military historian

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Michael Howard works – but was it prison or poison?

George Monbiot in the Guardian has written about some very interesting research which appears conclusively to link levels of lead pollution (mainly from paint and vehicle exhausts) with levels of crime.
It could explain why crime levels internationally have generally been falling from their peak in the 1990s, after lead was removed from paint and petrol. The falls seem to have occurred around the world, irrespective of the crime-reduction policies being implemented by individual governments. 

Michael Howard, Home Secretary from 1993 to 1997, famously claimed that ‘prison works’ and that tough sentencing would reduce crime. However, it now looks as though it was not prison, but poison, that was at work. 

Ironically, Howard previously served as Environment Secretary and it may well have been the work of this department which led to the reduction in crime!

The key figure behind the fall in crime, however, may not be an elected politician or a police leader, but Des Wilson who led the successful campaign to remove lead from petrol.

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