Sunday, June 01, 2008

New Labour Has Created The Monster On Our Streets

Another week of mindless violence and killings on our streets. What is New Labour's response? New hard-hitting posters, another police crack-down on knife crime and police chief, Ian Blair's call for "tough love" from parents to combat knife crime. Blame it on the parents, blame it on anybody and everybody. What a cop out. 

Today's youth are dying on the streets. New Labour's response is just an endless round of crackdowns, initiatives, campaigns, reviews, consultations. No wonder people are fed up and scared.

There have always been teenagers and teenage gangs. Shakespeare brought us the Montagues and Capulets, Glasgow had the Gorbals gangs, there were Teddy Boys and Mods and Rockers. Given half a chance teenagers will be teenagers, looking for the easy life and hanging around in a peer group on street corners. The difference between then and now is before, society had produced a series of checks and balances which kept the problem under a degree of control and made sure it didn't get too out of hand. 

Not too long ago a youngster would leave school at 16 and get a job. Those suited to the rigours of academic study would stay on in the sixth form. Once in a job, young people could advance themselves through vocational training and education through the workplace on day release from the job. Or study themselves at night class. The National Insurance scheme was just that, an insurance against a loss of job. There were few benefits. Being at home and doing nothing was considered a social stigma. 

Over the decade New Labour has created a youth culture where young people are encouraged to follow meaningless education and training courses for their own sake. The young people know it's all a sham, but play the game because it's the easy option. 

Benefits are paid out to all and sundry, so now teenagers see them as a right. There is no hope, no aspiration. So the answer is hang around in a gang with a group of similarly disillusioned people. And that breeds violence. They are dying because they're simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, or for no reason at all. 

The violence and killings are a product of a decade of political correctness gone mad, human rights making parents afraid of and for their children and young people afraid of nothing, a 'Respect Agenda', which produces just empty words and slogans. But most of all, the breeding of a youth culture that would have been unheard of and unthinkable just a decade ago. 

Now add alcohol to the mix. The ridiculous availability of cheap alcohol, strong alcohol, available 24 hours would have been unheard of a few years ago. Alcohol was bought and consumed in public houses or from purpose built premises. Now there are 24 hour bars, very cheap alcohol, very strong alcohol, available from a supermarket near you. So easy and so cheap, a teenager's dream. 

Today we have New Labour's solution. Another police crackdown and, er, blame it on the parents, again.

It is clear that New Labour will not and cannot tackle the root causes. It was the pseudo-liberal policies of the New Labour Political Elite that created the problems in the first place. They are hardly going to admit they got it wrong. 

New Labour just can't see it or wont admit it because it is of their doing. How can they get out of the hole they've dug for themselves. To do anything that would make a real difference would mean they have to admit they got it all wrong and fat chance of that. 

So what should be done? All that's needed is to wind back the clock. A few years that's all. The Conservatives are reaching similar conclusions. 

That's why Boris Johnson made youth crime on London's streets a main priority of his election campaign, coupled with a ban on alcohol on the Tube. And why Cameron's Conservatives plan to shake-up benefits for young people, making "doing nothing not an option" and "breaking the cycle of worklessness". 

Even on jobs for young people, New Labour has boxed itself in a corner. Why on earth are we paying out vast amounts of money to keep people out of work, when jobs are there and being filled by exploited and under-paid migrant workers? 

It doesn't make sense but it does to New Labour. Brown has taken the easy option. He needs the easy availability of migrant workers to prop up the ailing economy, avoid the need for reform of the welfare system and to keep the young people in worthless education and training courses. Otherwise the statistics will start to look really bad.

If you create a youth culture where it is possible to spend long periods of your life on benefits doing nothing or attending silly courses at the local FE college, what do you expect them to do? They'll be out on the streets with their mates. And like all the teenagers on all the streets, in all the cities around the world, these disillusioned and increasing frightened young people will protect themselves. And violence breeds violence.

New Labour hasn't stood idly by for the last ten years while such an absurd situation developed. It created the situation. Now it is paying the price. New Labour has created this monster on our streets. This is the New Labour legacy.

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