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We will just have to get used to high and increasing levels of crime, no political party is capable of solving the problem. Their proposals are crafted by Creative Directors in Ad Agencies and no member of the public now believes The British State can fullfil its minimalist obligations of Internal and External Security...............in short we live in what is becoming a "failed state"

According to the IPPR, reported on in yesterday's DT, research has shown that delinquency in part results from the breakdown of family life, parents too busy to be with their teenagers, absent fathers etc.

Firstly, lots of us have been saying that for years; secondly, Cameron is absolutely right, not weak, to say that a 'thump and bash' approach to all criminality is not the answer. Such an approach simply masks, increasingly badly, the symptoms but allows the underlying disease to proliferate.

I am delighted by the thought going into the problems of crime demonstrated by the new Leader - and that our Party is demonstrating an ability to dig below the 'easy headline grabbing' approach.

"There is no contradiction between trying to stop young people ending up on the conveyor belt to crime - notably by addressing father absence, poor schooling and drug abuse - and then dealing toughly with any people who do end up committing crimes."

I think if Cameron actually said that, he would have our support and be much less vulnerable to Labour attacks from the 'right'. If you want to reduce the crime rate you need to deter crime through tough punishment, but you also need to encourage formation of stable two-parent families and an ethos where children are brought up feeling secure and knowing right from wrong, which requires setting boundaries.
If we look at the US experience, through tough sentencing they have succeeded in returning murder rates to 1950s levels and greatly reducing crime overall, but at a price of high incarceration rates - roughly speaking, it looks like their experience is that trebling the number of prisoners halves the crime rate.
What they have not succeeded in doing though is 'remoralising' the sink ghettos where most potential criminals are born. If we can do **both together** - tough on crime, tough on the causes - there is a real chance that ultimately we can have low crime rates without high incarceration rates. But we do have to be prepared to send people to jail, the worst possible thing to do is to send the message that crime pays.

As has been said before on CH, everything this government does, every soundbite, every supposed policy and policy CHANGE, AND turnabout!, is solely geared to winning the next election and the one after ad infinitum - until they have so unravelled this country that it exists no longer!

The winning obssession was, in fact acknowledged by Denis MacShane yesterday in an article entitled 'The only contest is for deputy PM...but will Brown want one?' - an interesting article.

So referring back to my first paragraph, the significance of this new approach to David Cameron - that some spinner has been working at - is solely how it will come across to the floating voters or the 'don't knows. The soundbite that might just impinge through a TV interview or headline enough to influence the unaware!

So correspondingly, MR. Reid's tough on crime gimmick is similarly no more than a soundbite, hence all the prisoner escapes, non-returned illegals etc: etc:. You could say it is a load of hot air!

The 'softie Cameron' soundbite is a typical schoolyard bully tactic to elicit an unguarded response.

Simon, I don't believe Cameron's views can be interpreted as resulting in 'crime pays'. Of course serious and serial offenders should be imprisoned, but what of the prisons they are sent to? Many inmates should not be there, they have mental problems. As David Davis has pointed out, prisoners are shifted so often they have no chance of settling into an education or reform programme, and a very significant proportion are illiterate. These are massive, interlocking problems, which have not been properly addressed by them because the subject isn't 'sexy' to the media and the floating voter.

A truly responsible Government, with the massive majority Labour has had, could have taken serious steps to rectify these wrongs. The fact that they have in fact regressed on this issue is as shaming to them as taking the country to war with Iraq on a lie.

Cameron will now, again, be perceived as being soft on crime. The majority of the public are sick and tired of the PC silly liberal approach to crime. They have had enough of that failed philosophy of the LEFT
and that beloved of the "experts" at the BBC.

If Cameron is so worried about fatherless children he should be far stronger on his support for marriage and sack that pathetic clown who left his wife and children for a man. And whilst he is about it, sack Johnson, so aptly named by Dr Richard North as the village idiot. In the Westminster Village there seem to be quite a lot of village idiots (but they seem to be able to work out their expenses).

If the Tories want to get serious about crime they must first reintroduce captital punishmentm for certain categories of crime and get real. It wont happen and as Tom Tom comments above you will just have to get used to higher crime for violence and drug figures and a failed State. Cameron's philosophy will not change a thing - it has been tried to destruction.

Simon the trouble with very worthy ideas such as 'encouraging the formation of stable two-parent families and an ethos where children are brought up feeling secure and knowing right from wrong', is that they take something like a generation to establish, and the problems with dysfunctional families and children etc: etc: are happening NOW and each child that grows up NOW with no knowledge of right or wrong OR more importantly - parenting of any sort, is going to be passing this on to any progeny he/she may have right now, since so many are having babies as very young teenagers!!

I have posted before about this. WE made the mistake of shutting the "big bins" instead of reforming them. "Care in the Community " is a bad joke.
We need to build a "mental illhealth prison" I cannot think of a PC way of describing one, but they would be therapeutic centres, where people would be obliged to remain. They would be treated. If cure was not possible, they would remain in that therapeutic environment, where they could not mug, steal, rape, murder, all the crimes for which they currently plead a mental disturbance for their crime.
The very essence of an intractable case of paranoid schitzophrenia, is that it is a pyschosis. A delusion. The victim belives that they do not need their medication, and so relapses very quickly, to commit another crime. They are also masters of deception, and will readily hoodwink an unexperienced psychiatrist, psychiatric nurse, "parole board" who meets to discuss the safety or otherwise of letting a patient go free.
Dont kid yourselves that they are being "supervised". There are too many of them, and not enough staff to do the job properly. Care in the Community is NOT a cheap option, and we shut the big units because we thought it was. A recipe for disaster, which we are suffering the concequences of, as the general public, and which the mentally unwell are suffering from as well, due to lack of appropriate care.

All Cameron has to do is bring out David Davis! Basher is definitely no softie!

"They would like similar toughness from David Cameron and worry about the 'hug-a-hoddie' headlines."

What's wrong with offering sympathy and understanding to hod carriers?

Sorry, couldn't resist...


The text of DCs speech is available. Your posting is a quite good precis. Apologies for long post but key bits that stood out for me.

He said
"In my last speech on this subject I said that justice means setting boundaries. If you step over those boundaries you should suffer painful consequences. That's the primary job of the youth justice system, to police the territory beyond the pale. This needs to be done with consistency, speed and rigour."
That doesn't sound soft.
He then said
"Now I'm not one of those who think custody can never do any good. It can - not least in keeping offenders off the streets for a while. But custody has another function. Rehabilitation. And if it's not doing that, it isn't working......Clearly there is a need for more capacity. That's partly because there are some people who need to be in secure accommodation, and I want us to catch and convict more of them. But the need for more capacity is for another reason too. So that we can ease overcrowding and get on with education, training, counselling. The fact is, custody should represent an opportunity for changing lives for the better. But at the moment, too often, it's just a social dustbin."

" this government has thrown every sort of criminal justice measure it can at the problem of youth crime. Asbos. Home detention curfews.Fixed penalty notices.They've created a new criminal offence for every day they've been in office. 29 criminal justice acts of parliament.....
But the result of all this effort and energy? An epidemic of low-level disorder and disrespect.....sheer incompetence. They're so busy talking tough, passing new laws, they don't have time to consider the question of implementation. The Criminal Justice Act of 2000 ....Six years later, 110 of its provisions are not in force. 39 have been, or are being, repealed altogether. 17 were repealed before they ever came into force...... the majority of Asbos are handed out without any involvement from the relevant Youth Offending Team.

We need to try another approach....Not abandoning the principle of justice....longer sentences for prolific offenders and more beds in YOIs...tougher, more challenging community sentences.
What we really need is.... not a more powerful state - but a more powerful society. If justice is the responsibility of the system, care, help, love - they are the responsibility of society.....I support the work that councils are doing to prevent crime, working in partnership with the police, Drug Action Teams, and of course Youth Offending Teams.....That's why I want us, as a society, to take more responsibility for our young people. Families need to be stronger... more support, especially with childcare...encouragement for parents to stay together - that means support for marriage.

....look beyond the family.....to the associations and institutions which transmit cultural expectations......and which could do the job of government so much better if we only let them."

"Many inmates should not be there, they have mental problems"

Well, I think that's a non sequitur. 'Mental problems' covers a huge range, especially now that so much of human behaviour is pathologised. I don't believe that the main problem with our criminal justice system is that too many people go to jail, and nor do the public. The public, unlike the cultural Marxist media & judiciary, want much more use of jail and longer sentences for serious offences, including violence but also the property offences that are currently far too leniently punished. It's not just about what's best for the individual offender (who would prefer to be left in peace to continue offending), it's also about what's best for society. Which means punishment needs to be tough enough to have a deterrent effect. And the more ingrained a criminal culture is, the tougher punishment needs to be to work.

"Simon the trouble with very worthy ideas such as 'encouraging the formation of stable two-parent families and an ethos where children are brought up feeling secure and knowing right from wrong', is that they take something like a generation to establish"

I agree to some extent, but the government could make a start tomorrow simply by removing the financial incentives to becoming a teenage single mother. Outside the Anglosphere, welfare systems don't penalise two-parent families the way we do. Of course the cultural Marxists characterise incentivising marriage and encouraging two-parent families as "punishing single parents". Well, if one option becomes more attractive, the alternative becomes relatively less attractive. That's the way it works.

"The text of DCs speech is available. Your posting is a quite good precis."

I did look at DC's speech, but I didn't get that impression.

"But custody has another function. Rehabilitation. And if it's not doing that, it isn't working"

This simply isn't true. Jail has never, anywhere in the world, been an effective rehabiltater. That is not its function. Attempts to make rehabilitation the purpose of imprisonment are doomed to failure. The public know this, and instinctively recoil from politicians who spout these cultural-Marxist untruths, because the public, especially those with direct experience of criminals, know that such statements are based on a false view of jail and a false view of human nature. Jailing criminals does two things effectively:

1. It acts as a general deterrent to other potential criminals.

2. It incapacitates the jailed criminals for the duration of their incarceration.

But it rarely if ever deters or rehabilitates those who have been jailed. At best, by the time they are set free they are too old for criminality, and that is the only real way jail significantly affects recidivism rates. Harsh sentences for property crime can occasionally deter reoffending in marginal cases, but this is pretty rare.

What can work is efforts to prevent children in the critical 4-12 year age group from embarking on a criminal career. The thing that creates the most criminals seems to be taking children into local authority 'care'. The next worst option is single parenting, or parent plus succession of transitory step parents. The next worst is two unmarried biological parents, and the best is two married biological parents.

This is the next issue for us to tackle now that the NHS is being seen as a positive. This far out from an election it is essential that we work to change the public's perception on how to tackle crime.

Cameron and Davis need to repeat again and again that labour have failed regarding their promise to attack 'crime and the causes of crime'. It also needs to be shown that labour's idea of throwing money at the 'causes of crime' has failed and that there is a need to empower people and not mollycoddle them.

Labour can be beaten on this and all their posturing needs to be shown to have been an absolute failure. If some in the press keep imagining that labour talking tough means that they get results it is up to us to point out that labour announce something to impress the press and then fail to back up their words with any effective action whatsoever.

I guess you can reasonably argue that what I'm saying isn't that far from what Cameron is saying. The problem is Cameron's presentation. If Cameron said:

"We need to get crime down. Here's how we can do it..."

I think he'd get a better reception, and be less vulnerable to attacks from the right. Instead though by phrasing it primarily as concern for the potential criminal - "hug a hoodie" - rather than as concern for the potential victims, he protects himself from attack by the C-M Left media (BBC, Guardian et al) but he opens himself up to attack from the Right, *and*, more importantly, alienates much of the public, including his potential voters.

"...by phrasing it primarily as concern for the potential criminal - "hug a hoodie" - rather than as concern for the potential victims..."

The reason being that even in the worst sink estate, the number of potential victims is much much higher than the number of potential criminals. During the Katrina disaster in the USA I saw a number of unpleasant comments basically wanting to write off the black population of New Orleans because around 25% of the men had felony convictions, the highest proportion in the USA. In the USA as a whole it's around 12%, a historical record and much much higher than the norm in other countries. But what that means is that even in a pretty much absolute worst case for a developed country, around 75% of the men, and a much higher proportion of women, are basically law abiding. And the situation in the UK is much better. The criminals who terrorise the sink estates are a tiny number of people. And the best way to help the rest, the non-serious-criminal 'hoodies' who Cameron wants to hug, is to jail the people who prey upon them.


DC's audience was two fold - the professionals in the hall and the wider public. Agree he should be making more speeches direct to the voters where his language should be clearer but as Blair's speech to the WI years ago showed you need to talk to the people in front of you.

Also disagree on prison & education/rehabilitation. DC was talking in main about youth offenders - those where there is a chance to turn them round. We can either accept that there will be a revolving door for most from the time they are first imprisoned or can try to reform some. Even if it only works 1 in 10 times at east there are fewer repeat offenders.

I believe prison has two primary purposes - to deter and to punish. Deterence requires increased policing and detection so the normality becomes commit crime, get punished. Getting away with crime drives crime growth - so prison or other punishments work if they deters others. Obviously they also remove serial criminals from the streets so help there as well.

"Also disagree on prison & education/rehabilitation. DC was talking in main about youth offenders - those where there is a chance to turn them round. We can either accept that there will be a revolving door for most from the time they are first imprisoned or can try to reform some. Even if it only works 1 in 10 times at east there are fewer repeat offenders."

Well, currently only repeat offenders, and a few convicted of violent affray who aren't actual career-criminal types, generally go to jail. For the former, the only effective way to prevent revolving door syndrome is not to keep letting them out to commit more crimes. A very small number may stop offending, more will grow out of it as they grow older, but most will reoffend when let out. If you want to significantly reduce the reoffending rate without much longer sentences, you would need something more like Japanese prisons, with iron discipline and no contact between prisoners. The weaker, vulnerable prisoners would benefit from this - they wouldn't get raped or assaulted by the stronger prisoners. The stronger, 'alpha' prisoners would hate it as it would make prison a genuinely unpleasant experience for them, unlike now.

"DC's audience was two fold - the professionals in the hall and the wider public. Agree he should be making more speeches direct to the voters where his language should be clearer but as Blair's speech to the WI years ago showed you need to talk to the people in front of you."

Well, I think sometimes getting heckled by the 'bad guys' can be beneficial. I think the public certainly sees the criminal justice professionals as at least partly responsible for the mess we're in. If Cameron were an "And Theory" politician he might be ready to take that risk. That isn't the Cameron or Blair style though.

I've no doubt that "prison" could work, in the sense that the convicts are deprived not only of their freedom of movement, but also more generally their freedom of action, and so ultimately they can be compelled to do things that they would not otherwise do. Only in "prison" can somebody be compelled to live without drugs, to refrain from criminal activity and instead attend classes. Of course they cannot be compelled to learn how to read and write, but they can be compelled to be in the classroom when reading and writing is being taught. But this requires a wider definition of what is meant by "prison", the political will to build large numbers of small units so that many different categories of prisoners can be segregated and each individual given a regime close to that which would be optimum for his case, and above all the determination to make the best use of the time during which the prisoner is under the control of the authorities. If "prison" is just somewhere to put criminals to keep them off the streets, and if the criminals are allowed to control each other and even the staff, rather than being controlled by the authorities, then it won't work well unless every prisoner is kept in for the rest of his life.

Just enjoyed reading this excellent thread, a lot of insightful posts.

Labour are using the law and order card down here in preparation for the local elections in May with my opposite numbers coming out with a questionnaire about crime and anti-social behaviour.

if this is the line of attack then great. I give my sample answers below:-

questioning of extradition laws;

Why have we got a one sided extradition law where Americans can grab whoever they like and yet we can't extradite anyone without much stonger evidence. Another example of Tony's special relationship/poodle status.

opposition to identity cards;

Identity cards are pretty much useless for everything, they won't reduce crime, they won't defeat terrorism and they won't even help with illegal immigration. Plus they cost a fortune, Gordon plans to sell your details to private companies no doubt so you can get more junk mail, finally only a labour government would want to implement ID cards as it gives them the ability to control people like never before.

refusing to support 90-day detention and control orders;

Nobody wants 90 day detention except this government as there is no need for it, as always the only reason to want it is to look tough on terror rather than actually being effective. Control orders instead of keeping people under house arrest like some third-world junta let's actually try and go through due process and convict people. Not only will justice then be done it will be seen to be done.

Tory suspicion of ASBOs

They fail 50% of the time and they have become a badge of honour. Oh yes and the small matter of they circumvent the criminal justice system.

And to sum up:-
Labour has a poor record on law and order because as always it's policies are based on headline grabbing initiatives that are poorly thought through, expensive, and unecessarily impinge on freedoms previous generations died for.

Law and order is a Tory key card. Its something the Tories have always been known to be tough on. The problem is that with the softening law and order policy by Cameron and Co, Labour have an opportunity to home in on one of the core Tory areas. Cameron now needs to balance the softer parts with harder parts. The world isnt a nice place and we shouldnt try to make out that it is.

It is a well known fact that it easier to get into Eaton than it is to get into Wormwood Scrubs. All you need to get into Eaton is money, where as to get into prison you must have first served (in most cases unless you are lucky) a long and arduous apprenticeship with many wearying and boring court appearances infront of some well meaning old fart. It is enough to get you down and make you return to the being legit out of sheer bloody boredom. What a relief it is when you finally achieve your aim and you are finally sent to prison. But was it worth the effort: the place is full up with other succesful applicants and you are soon sent out to the cold hostility of civvie street. They talk about rehabilitation, but when you look around at society today has it ever done for those incarcerated in Eaton away from reality and denied access to real people. The conclusion to be reached is that rehabilitation at Eaton has failed.
Did n't Dave, Boris and co do porridge there?
They have now become a law unto themselves (or hope to be). A least to get into prison you do not have to have your name down before you are born - prison is far more democratic, which is more than you can say for for the escapees in Westminister.


Don't get taken in by the spin - fight it.

Policy is to enforce law, more police, more prison places, tougher community sentences - there's more than a whiff of the zero tolerance.

But also to go into the sink estates and address family breakdowns, support marriage, support community & charities acting to get kids off the streets, off drugs back into education. Reward the well behaved, don't just punish the wicked - Labour approach is to assume that families are all feckless and experts know best; that new laws make people behave.

It's not been governments that resolved past social breakdowns - in the 19th Century methodists & Salvation Army drove out drunkeness and re-established values, in the US the lawlessness of much of the West was driven out by women acting through Temperance movements. Communities can be re-built but not by statute.

If this is Labour's strategy it won't work so let them bring it on,


The other day I made a joke about the pins that you give with poppys for the appeal, joking that I couldnt give a pin to someone under the age of 16 as it could be used as an offensive weapon. I was trying to be ironic about it and wasnt being serious.

The next day I read an article in the press about advice given to those handing out pins that said that the volunteers and those handling the pins should be careful in how they hand them over and who they give them too. The worry is that someone might hurt themselves on a pin and promptly sue the pants off that person.

Its insane...

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