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London Tory

# Jacqui Smith is about to starve the Police Force of yet more funds #

mmm...not really. No doubt the army of worthless Glorified Lollipop Ladies..sorry Police Community Support Officers...will be added to. We already have an incredible 25,000 of Blunkett's Bobbies added to, and now beholden to, Brown's Client State since 2001. This is the real disgrace in terms of what has happened to our Police Force under New Labour. A Cameron Govt must pledge to replace them with real officers, with real powers, during its first term. Official figures show that for the cost of employing 10 PCSO's in Corby (with no powers), the Chief Constable could employ 8 police officers (with real powers)- for exactly the same money.

Bit of a no brainer, isn't it ?

Paul Oakley

Agree with London Tory. An interim solution might be to have PCSOs as station-based operatives primarily undertaking paperwork and release proper coppers to pound the beat.

Tony Makara

We have to recognise that PCSO's are decent people who want to serve our community. So perhaps it is their role rather than their raison d'etre that is the problem. I'm sure there must be different levels of PCSO too, some would do well on the front line, others would be suited to a supportive role. Their desire to serve the community should be channeled into the correct role for each PCSO.

Labour's failure in education should be brought home to every parent in the land. Labour is failing their children. This from a Labour government that has always claimed education as its priority. I believe we have to return to educational methods that worked in the past. Education has become too casual, too unstructured. A more disciplined school environment with troublesome children removed immediately with more parent accountability. A child who disrupts a class is the parents problem not the schools. I also feel that people overlook the educational value and knock-on effect of a mother being at home with her child in the pre-school years rather than working. Many children are now shunted of too a creche at a very early age and miss out on the one-to-one interaction that comes from having a mother at home. I started school being able to read and do basic maths because my mother taught me at home. If I had been left in a creche I would not have started school with those basic skills.

As Michael Gove says, the basic skills must come first as a base to facilitate further learning. Children have started to struggle since mothers of young children have taken to working. Cause and effect. The state should encourage mothers to be at home with the child in the formative years, but sadly Alan B'stard ideology in some sections of the Conservative party still has the vindictive attitude that all mothers 'must work' particularly single mothers. This attitude is so wrong and is, in my opinion, a contributory factor in retarded child development in the early years.

London Tory

Tony- under Labour's current policy the problem of children getting a proper upbringing will only get worse. Single mothers- often struggling (dare I say manfully) to bring up children on their own, are now called in by the DWP for increasingly frequent "back to work interviews" to see if they can be pushed into a heavily subsidised job. The outcome of this will inevitably be even more 'latchkey kids' , and poor Mum coming home too knackered from having earned £50 for stacking shelves in Asda to be able to spend quality time with her kids.
Meanwhile, the real miscreants on welfare- the feckless and idle 18-24 year olds, are laughing all the way to their playstations thanks to the obsenity that is New Deal.
Any able bodied 18-24 person should be told at the outset- you get a maximum of 6 months on JSA (with Housing Benefit and Council Tax benefit too don't forget), after that you stand on your own two feet or sweep the streets in return for your benefits.

Tony Makara

London Tory, very good points. Labour's egalitarian drive to shoehorn every single mother and genuinely disabled person into part-time work topped up by tax credits is madness. The focus should be set on finding work for those on JSA, particularly the young. Under Labour youth unemployment is up 20% and their only solution is to raise the school leaving age. In effect sweeping the problem under the carpet.

While I am not in favour of workfare I would like to see a public works programme to tackle unemployment. As you say the state already pays full rent, housing benefit and JSA, so in my opinion it might as well pay a little extra to make the unemployed 'waged' and use that manpower on social projects.

I really fail to understand why more people can't see that the working-mum scenario is damaging for children. Particularly in the early years of development. I wish the Conservative party would think again about its plans to continue Labour's policy in this area.

Returning to the subject of JSA. I believe the future Conservative government should break up jobcentreplus and give the jobseeking section over to agencies who seem to be a lot faster on their feet at finding work for people. We have to be realistic though and understand that with 1.6 million on JSA and only 600,000 vacancies it will not be possible to find work for everyone, but where possible, geography permitting, the vacancies that do exist should be filled.

Letters From A Tory

Louise is right to highlight the multiple failures that have been hidden away by the obsession with the donation scandal. Obviously the government should be held to account, but the Conservatives cannot afford to miss stories that demonstrate the breath of the government's incompetence.

One donation scandal will not bring down a government - it is only by taking away the public's perception of competence that will make them fall apart.

Tony Makara

London Tory, I also forgot to mention that in cases where there are large families existing on benefit I would like to see a good portion of the payment going out in the shape of food/clothes/energy vouchers rather than cash. In that way the benefit could be targeted towards ensuring that the children get a good diet, are well clothed and kept warm. Unfortunately some large families allow the parents to rake in a lot of money on benefits and sadly the children don't see that money.

Gloy Plopwell

Louise is so right that the government is falling apart. It reminds me of the pop song about once upon a time I was falling in love, now Im only falling apart.

I genuinly agree with the comments about children needing a stricter upbringing, but I'm worried about allowing too much smacking. There was a horrible case where a teacher smacked a child for ages and when she stopped her hands were all black.

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