Euan Blair's escapades, which were used to ridicule his father Tony Blair's call for a clampdown on drunken yobs, was an amusing diversion, but a diversion nonetheless. This was the prime minister, after all, who promised to be “tough on crime, and tough on the causes of crime”.
Where's the beef, Tony?
Crime is not just rising, it's going through the roof – according to the Tories, it has gone up by 4.4% in the past year. The government is said to be hoping to divert coverage of the latest figures by announcing a huge increase in public spending. And Tony has appointed his friend, ex-BBC director-general John Birt, as a crime adviser.
The police, who do not have enough bobbies on the beat, have come up with their own idea to reduce the problem. There should, according to Sir John Stevens, commissioner at the Met, be a commission, along the lines of the Health and Safety Commission, looking at anti-theft issues. It would be able to levy fines on companies making products that were easy to steal or against builders who developed homes that were easy to burgle.
In the motor market, the insurance industry has come up with its own scheme. The Motor Insurers' Information Centre will allow insurers and the police to know from a number plate if the driver is insured (and with which insurer).
But all these schemes come to nothing if the villains, when caught, get let off to re-offend. The uninsured driver is often the local burglar, involved in a bit of credit card and cheque fraud, with a couple of identities for signing on and getting benefits. Even those with a criminal record as long your arm have often only served a few months in prison. They are then free to offend again.
And the insurance industry bears the cost.