The Sunday edition of the Sun is hidden away behind a paywall, but here on Zelo Street there is usually someone kind enough to scan some of the contents (see how that works, Rupe?). And today’s scan has shown that not only does one of the paper’s star pundits not have her columns fact checked, but that other contributors effectively, and inadvertently, do the checking for her.
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014
Yes, to no surprise at all, (thankfully) former Tory MP Louise Mensch has once again been caught in need of fire extinguisher attention, suffering an incendiary trouser situation as she pontificates on whether prison works, which those who share her current domicile of the USA increasingly think is true: the practice of warehousing the criminally inclined continues apace there.
So she pitches the idea that we are banging up more people for longer: “Chris Grayling can take pride in the new prisoner figures, showing more criminals are being jailed on his watch. Not only that, but they’re there for longer sentences, too. The fact that sentences are getting a little longer – and gangs of villains are being caught – is good for the Police and the judges”.
Fiction on Page 25 ...
Yes, she means it: “Let me put it plainly. If our prison population swells by 100,000, that’s six figures of criminals off our streets. And the cost of housing them is nothing compared to the savings in damage, theft, Police time and general human misery”. Really? The cost per prisoner worked out at around £35,000 in 2012-13, which for another 100,000 would mean finding an extra £3.5 billion a year.
And while Sun readers mull over that nugget of inconvenient information, they might wish to move on from Ms Mensch’s column on Page 25, and turn over to Page 26, where David Wooding tells “Criminals are getting even more time knocked off their sentences to get them out of crammed jails ... the extra days of freedom granted in the past year total 143,479 – equivalent to 393 years”.
... Fact on Page 26
On top of that, it is all too clear that there is little prospect of more prison capacity being opened in the near future, if the comments about some prisons being closed, and staff laid off, are at all accurate. But Ms Mensch is undeterred: “The Tories will see the benefits next May if we can all sleep safer in our beds”, she tells, after asserting that we will get the EU to give us back some money to help.
That’s just fantasy, and what is worse, her assertions that more are being locked up, and for longer, are shown not to be true IN HER OWN PAPER, and, worst of all, ON THE VERY NEXT PAGE. There is no point in David Wooding being blamed for this: all he is doing is use actual facts to illustrate his copy.
Louise Mensch, on the other hand, just invents whatever figures she needs to stand up her opinions, and stuff the consequences. So no change there, then.