It would be churlish of me not to start this Wednesday by saying I’m mightily impressed with Mixmag’s latest scoop. It’s a good one, gathered using freedom of information requests – politicians and the public sector hate them, but judges keep coming down against them- and an old-fashioned pursuit of journalism. You can read it here.
It’s impressive. They’ve discovered that the Home Secretary Priti Patel used a dodgy methodology which essentially consisted of double counting, triple counting and the rest to justify increasing police powers against illegal raves in England and Wales last year. Scotland and Northern Ireland have different arrangements due to devolution.
On August 28th last year, Priti Patel wrote in the Daily Telegraph that the Metropolitan Police had stopped around 1000 illegal raves since June. If this covered a period of 90 days, this would mean around 11 per day. And sure enough, this figure was complete nonsense.
The Metropolitan Police refuse to release the actual number – which suggests to me this is a worse scandal than they’re currently owning up to. But what remains unanswered right now is where this all started.
Did Priti Patel misinterpret the number and it gained a life of its own after she published it? Was the one thousand figure supplied by the police and in what context? Or is this a deliberate attempt by the establishment to lie in order to get what they want?
Somehow, I don’t think this one is finished just yet…