The Wilted Rose

Charting Labour meltdown 2007-2010

Yes, fix the economy, but please fix society too

Last summer, moved by the murder of an innocent little kid, 11-year old Rhys Jones in Liverpool, I wrote that it was time for the Government to get a grip on teenage gun crime.  Matt Sinclair hits the nail on the head with his analysis of family breakdown and the rise of teenage pregnancy and illegitimacy.

You only have to read this post to see how completely out of touch with the lives of hard-working families some sections of the ‘third estate’ are (despite many of them working and presumably living in LONDON):

The second area of weakness I would highlight is the current Tory fondness for decrying Britain’s “broken society”.

I cannot bear this phrase – as I don’t believe the country as a whole is suffering from social breakdown, despite screaming headlines proclaiming the contrary – and I imagine many centre-ground voters share my displeasure.

It smacks of a carping Opposition-based approach, not of a party ready to govern what remains one of the greatest nations in the world. Please drop it, Dave.

How is society not broken when an 11-year-old can get shot on a nice middle-class estate in Liverpool, if a 16-year-old gets his throat slit by a thug wielding a glass tray from a bakery, and if an 18-year-old boy who was loved by all who knew him (and who had a bright acting career ahead of him) dies at the hands of a murderer outside a pub in a nice commuter suburb of London?  Yes, Sidcup.

Many centre ground voters are actually tearing their hair out in despair, because of what they see around them.  Try wandering round Lewisham or Lambeth at night, where even “good kids” have started carrying knifes to defend themselves against feral youths.  They are scared, so are their parents, so is most of society.

As always, there is a more credible viewpoint in Simon Heffer’s column, where he links youth crime to welfare dependency and the welfare state, and describes society as “destabilised”.  The lack of a father figure in the home in many cases does not help matters (and, after all, Labour MPs essentially abolished fatherhood last week in a notorious parliamentary vote).  Welfare is much adored by the left, as Heffer explains, because it, ‘gives them a clientele to control. All in all, it is a corrupt, corrupting, demoralising and poisonous concept.’  He goes further and says that:

Why is it that the criminal underclass can carry on as it does? It is because the state pays for it to do so. Why do children grow up feeling they have to kill each other at the slightest provocation? Because the state has removed the need for them to grow up in a coherent family unit, in which such feelings would seldom be fed. Why, when sociologists from Charles Murray onwards have linked single parenthood, social and economic failure and crime, does the state still sponsor so extensively single parenthood as a career option for young women? Because it assists the socialist state’s mission to control and expand a clientele.

A lack of responsibility, spending of £620 billion on welfare (in which Heffer admits even Labour MP Denis MacShane can see opportunities for reductions), youth crime spiralling out of control… 

John Redwood has, as always, brilliantly analysed the current state of taxation and spending and concluded that the Government is ‘dithering’ on the issue.  Where better to start than welfare?

Tax cuts would help enhance people’s quality of life and, yes, it is important (absolutely vital, in fact) to fix the economy.  But one of the ways that both the economy and society could be fixed together is by slashing the welfare bill, handing the savings back to tax-payers and encouraging the workshy recipients to go to work – not the folks who are unable to work due to disability or mental health problems.

it is time to sort out two of the greatest ills that afflict the UK today, social breakdown/teenage crime/welfare AND taxation, at the same time.  Not only can people keep more of the money they earn.  But also families can be supported to stay together.  And people can be encouraged to work, rather than be dependent upon welfare, making something positive of their lives.  And youth crime can be stamped out.


28 May, 2008 - Posted by | crime, Gordon Brown, guns, kids, knives, Labour Party, politics, shame, social breakdown, taxation


  1. I found your blog on MSN Search. Nice writing. I will check back to read more.

    Eric Hundin

    Comment by Eric Hundin | 28 May, 2008 | Reply

  2. Britain is facing a crisis of child-on-child violence and the prevailing attitude appears to be one of incoherent fire-fighting. Hard-hitting viral campaigns, metal detectors in schools, and tougher punishments for carrying weapons, are all good strategies which will hopefully have an immediate impact on violent youth behaviour, but they are simply prescriptive, stop-gap solutions.

    Whilst we welcome these new measures to protect young people, we are acutely aware that they do not address the root causes of conflict and violent behaviours. Young people are using violence, fear and exclusion to intimidate and threaten others. It is bullying in its most extreme form. When bullying goes unchecked in our schools and communities, the breeding ground for gang culture prospers.

    There have been 28 teenagers stabbed to death already this year. We also know that this year at least 20 young people will take their own lives because they are being bullied. Whether killed by another youth, or dying at their own hands, too many young people are being bullied to death.

    What we need is a comprehensive, joined up, coherent strategy to educate our young people in conflict resolution, anti-violence and anti-bullying behaviour. Intervene early against bullying and we can affect the growing culture of knife crime and gang related behaviour. We know that poor inter-faith and inter-community relations, truancy, and violent behaviour are all linked to bullying. As a result, fully-inclusive anti-conflict and bullying prevention work is essential if we are to significantly address this dystopia in which our sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, friends and neighbours, are being murdered and terrorised by someone else’s children.

    Beatbullying realises that this is not a problem that can be solved in months, so where is the comprehensive five-year strategy from any of our political parties? The problem bridges all areas of society, so we need a cross-departmental response from Government. At the moment, despite the promises and the prescriptive acts, the lack of a long-term, joined up response based on education and prevention, is beyond belief. We need leadership and a strong Government must stand up for our youth now.

    Education is the key, but the responsibility cannot lie solely at the feet of the teacher. Beatbullying and a coalition of expert organisations, can deliver proven conflict resolution, anti-violence and anti-bullying programmes into every school, intervening early to prevent the escalation into the youth crimes and murders we are witnessing on our streets every week. Beatbullying has calculated that it will cost £45million over five years, to deliver this work into schools and youth groups across the UK, reaching every child in this country.

    The viral campaign launched yesterday will cost £3million, in the hope that it will shock youngsters into stop carrying knives. Who knows how many it will reach, or how effective it will be. It’s time to look beyond trying to patch up a problem with disjointed, prescriptive acts, and deliver a preventative solution to benefit every young person, and society as a whole, over the next five years.

    Comment by Tony Holmes - Beatbullying | 30 May, 2008 | Reply

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