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.

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28 May, 2008 Posted by | crime, Gordon Brown, guns, kids, knives, Labour Party, politics, shame, social breakdown, taxation | 2 Comments

It is time for the Government to get a grip on teenage gun crime

Again there is the heartbreaking image of another child in a football shirt whose life has been ended violently (an image that has moved the nation, just like the earlier killing of 10-year-olds Holly and Jessica), another  family’s lives torn apart.  And yet we are no further on since last year’s murder of Kiyan Prince and that of many other teenagers across the UK.  A feature of the recent murders is that the perpetrators and the victims are both children (usually teenagers).  What is striking – and all the more tragic – about the murder of Rhys Jones is that he appears to have been caught in the crossfire.  And he was only 11.

What is even more alarming is that Croxteth Park, where the murder took place, is a middle-class area (bordering some tough estates, including Croxteth) and one of its councillors is a Liberal Democrat.  The truth is that under Labour the country has become more dangerous, especially if you are young and live in a city (particularly London); and the Government has simply not got a grip on teenage crime.

The Times recently published a factfile revealing that no fewer than 10 kids have been shot or stabbed to death this year already.  Their killers (or, in some cases, alleged killers) are frighteningly young and the young murderers (or alleged murderers) have bleak life stories often involving abusive parents, family breakdown, etc.

The Government needs to get a grip on this menace that is blighting the UK’s cities, which is not something that is likely given the failure of a succession of lacklustre Home Secretaries (John Reid actually looked like making some progress, but didn’t last very long in the job, and Jacqui Smith could still prove herself).  But we are not holding our breath for Labour to make any progress on this issue.  That in itself is a major tragedy.

15.23 Update: An excellent article by Jock Coats argues that Government policy is responsible, and he also points to some helpful insights from Kids’ Company’s Camila Batmanghelidjh in today’s Independent.

25 August, 2007 Posted by | crime, general election, Gordon Brown, guns, Jacqui Smith, kids, Labour Party, London, politics, social breakdown | 5 Comments