Friday, April 10, 2009

A good basis to start mending our "broken society"

I have always been a little cynical of the phrase "broken society"; because much of society isn't broken and there are a great number of people who care for their families, their neighbours and act in a decent way. However clearly there are great challenges which need to be addressed in this area. I have said for a long time that we as a party need to "seal the deal" with voters and we could do this with some flesh on the bones of our ideas. I am glad that in recent days we have started to see this. Even if the following isn't made into policy (yet) the speech by Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling about youth crime is a very good set of principles to start from. We should be shouting about these from the rooftops.

1 There have to be consequences for every act of antisocial behaviour;
2 Parents must not be allowed to abdicate responsibility for their children's behaviour;
3 A tougher approach to bad behaviour in schools must teach children the difference between right and wrong;
4 Adults encouraging children to be irresponsible - by selling them drugs or alcohol for example - must be dealt with effectively; and
5 Youth engagement in society must be ensured, not least through support for the voluntary sector groups delivering that process of engagement.

I am fairly sure that even our friends on the left couldn't disagree with most of those.

From a soundbite to principle and now onto policy...


Anonymous said...

I tend to agree in sentiment.

From observation , quite a lot of youth anti social or misbehaviour occurs when parents allow them to "play out" in public areas/streets, with their mates/associates, in a disorganise and unsupervised fashion. A respite for the parents one would have thought. Kids "playing out" can do what they like in there actions, to others, to public infrastructure without fear of consequence, in mate/gang like cells/groupings/associations, hanging outside off licences/kids playgrounds. Idle hands and temptations. They aren't going round to friends houses to be supervised by other parents, or clubs with adult organisation; but been consciently and irresponsibly let out on the streets like stray dogs, evenings/weekends. Two decades ago much was made about latchdoor kids, its almost universal today.

There are many responsible kids out there who can be largely trusted, mainly because they have come from responsible and functional parenting, know and stay within the boundaries of civil behaviour. Against this for a substantial minority of parents/kids the opposite is the reality. These are where consequences/extra monitoring should be doubled.

So Antony there are obvious unsupervised patterns, timings and periods of unsupervided boredom where your suggested and admirable principles should apply and target seven fold.

Gary said...

Antony - you are a very refreshing politican because you recognise that words don't always translate into action.

So far, 3/5 but if these principles do go into a workable Tory manifesto then you get 5/5 and my vote (I do live in Norwich South).

Anonymous said...

I largely resent the press label of "youth culture" partly because they dont seem to have an adult counterpart catchphrase. But I do agree with the above comment on how we're not all tarred with the same brush and yes - some of us have come from good families and are proud to call ourselves well adjusted members of society.

As helpful as it is to step up the consequences and engage us in society - would you honestly want some of these kids being able to involve themselves in our communities? I've seen enough of the stupidity of my peers to make the statement that I would rather they be as far removed from society as possible. I think stick to the crime and punishment. They break the law? Deal with them as you would an adult. There should be serious enquiries made into these kids' families if they think going out and wrecking public property and getting drunk is an acceptable pastime.

But what do I know eh? I'm a youth :)