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"But I would contest that Sam Coates' analysis is entirely wrong: "hug-a-hoodie" was never about letting youth crime go unchecked, but rather seeking to address the social problems such as family breakdown, illiteracy and unemployment which are the context for such crime taking place."

Agree totally, Jonathan! I'd actually like to see a moratorium on the phrase "Hug a Hoodie" which was never uttered by David Cameron.

There is nothing wrong with being compassionate and yet tough at the same time. I think Christians refer to the saying of Jesus "Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner" and that probably just about sums it up.

I hate the New Labour phrase, "anti-social" behaviour- can we stop using it please? Not repairing your divots on the golf course is anti-social, chatting in a cinema is anti-social.

What we are talking about here is criminality, which must be dealth with as Grayling suggests.

I think Same Coates has completely missed the point here. Either that, or he is wilfully mis-representing the proposals in order to try and create the illusion of a flip-flop.

Jonathan. Can we have some more detailes subbing? spelling errors/typos are creeping into the editorials and op.eds.
"Parents must not be allowed to abdicate responsibility for their children's behaviour."

Agreed. So lets row back from prosecuting parents who physically chastise (not beat) or restrain their child's bad behaviour in public.

I used the hug a hoodie saying, not so long back, to knock down an argument which someone was trying to say that the Tories were still nasty, I also said that if Cameron was up for hugging a hoodie I’d say the Tories might be going a bit too soft, which he replied “things are far too soft nowadays & ranted on in the usual way, totally defeated on the nasty bit & not realizing he was the one now sounding nasty, he was a bit of a numb nut :o)

"some more detailes subbing?"

Woops, Grumps!

I take your point though.... ;-)



Absolutely Jonathan. Indeed, as you illustrate what Grayling said actually expands on Cameron's point rather than contradicting it.

The circumstances that lead to the nihilistic behaviour we're witnessing in Britain's youth can be directly traced to the abdication of responsibility/care for children by adults to the State.

If we're going to kill the serpent we need to cut off the head. Labour talk the talk but their ideological alliance to big government means they cannot walk the walk. The Left's commitment to bureaucratic interference at every level of society has left many people thinking that the State should take care of everything, including their own children.

Grayling's speech reemphasised that in the responsible society we're seeking to create accountability (and by extension authority) will not be concentrated in Westminister but devolved upon us all. Putting the responsibility for forming the young back in the hands of their parents/teachers and demanding they do the job instead of peppering them with quango produced leaflets is a big part of fixing Broken Britain.

Since 'hug a hoodie' was a catchphrase created by Labour to attack and undermine the Conservatives, I would sincerely hope that it IS dead and buried!!!

People who go around telling us that 'hug a hoodie' is still the direction in which the party is moving is doing no help whatsoever to our chances at the election. Mabye thats why in by-election after by-election after by-election we are now being beaten in many wards by the BNP!

I agree with Cleethorpes Rock, anti-social behaviour should be referred to by its real name, criminal behaviour.

The circumstances that lead to the nihilistic behaviour we're witnessing in Britain's youth can be directly traced to the abdication of responsibility/care for children by adults to the State.

It has something to do with that, but it also has a great deal to do with the contraception/abortion culture which divorced sex from procreation, sex from marriage, and destroyed the bonds of care and responsibility between the sexes and between adults and children, objectified the human person, subjectified human relations and degraded all of us.

It would be interesting to fast forward a few decades to calculate the time it takes between a society embracing contraception and abortion and finally ceasing to exist. I reckon three, maybe four generations.

I have said it before on here and I will do so again.

It was this party that introduced the laws that banned physical chastisement from state schools, created the culture of “children’s rights” through (among other things) the Children Act 1989, and hamstrung the police through red tape. I could go on but I think the point is made. Labour has finished off what this party started in a big way.

We hear these grand statements of intent from the conservative front bench, but as usual no firm details of how they are going to undo the damage. Personally I don’t think that they can. We are beginning to see the effects of parents who were themselves raised in a culture where children’s rights reigned supreme. Brought up in an environment where a teacher and others in authority tried to be your mate, because they could not exercise control over you in any other way without fear of either prosecution, professional ruination, or both, perpetuates through their children and so on.

This mindset is reinforced by the rules made by the previous conservative government and this one. For example, well-to-do chummy-mummy and chummy-daddy bring in cherub A and cherub B with the usual childhood ailments. While examining cherub A, cherub B proceeds to pick up my stethoscope off the desk and starts whirling it around his head while simultaneously kicking the weighing scales with alternate feet. Quite cleaver really.

Mum starts trying to negotiate with cherub B to put down his slingshot while dad sits their smiling benevolently. “Oh, I think he has one of those hyperactive things wrong with him” says mum. (He didn’t he was suffering from an acute episode of naughtiness). Is there anything you can suggest?

Yes, I thought, a firm smack across the arse, or send him off to the circus. But of course had mum smacked him across the backside I would be duty bound to report her to social services for an investigation into possible “child abuse”. Although this is (just about) still lawful it still has to be reported if seen, and in any event imposing any form of firm discipline would probably be anathema to many modern chummy- parents. Those that do are vilified and regarded as “authoritarian”.

Whether you agree with physical chastisement or not, just to restore the culture of absolute adult authority means having to change a generational mindset, while facing down and taking on the children’s rights industry, academia, NHS etc, because you would have to change a professional mindset as well. You cannot progress in any of these organisations unless you subscribe to the modern way of doing things and the children’s rights mantra.

Are there such people on the conservative front bench to take on this task? Not that I have seen.

"HANG a Hoodie" now that might clear up the problems caused by gangs of feral teenagers in some of our towns.

Seriously though, bring back the idea of PUNISHMENT for transgressions. There should be clearly defined boundaries as regards behaviour which are crossed that the offender's peril. For a start not only would I bring back Corporal Punishment in schools but reintroduce the Approved School and the Borstal. Abolish these Children's Panels and special Courts. If they commit a crime they should appear in a real Court with all the other Criminals. That might impress upon them that what they have done is Wrong, Serious and will be Punished.

I'd like to second Hardcore Conservative's post at 11:58 - Spot on!!

""HANG a Hoodie" now that might clear up the problems caused by gangs of feral teenagers in some of our towns."LOL.

Far better perhaps would be a return of a "clip around the ear" or a swift smack of the bottom. Of course nobody is suggesting that children be beaten up on a regular basis. However, a smack is an effective way of putting a child firmly back on the right track. A great deal of damage has been inflicted on our young people by well meaning liberals. Spare the rod and spoil the child, is exactly right. We have had the social experiment now it is time to admit our mistake, and reestablish order in our young people for the sake of our society. Parents should be encouraged to discipline their children, and for the most part trusted to do it wisely.

Its definitely a tonal shift from the warmer words of Camerons past comments. Despite the final quote given in the above article from what I can see here this is about punishment rather than dealing with the underlying causes of such behaviour. Its about talking tough rather than giving a little more consideration of the issues. The infamous speech by Cameron had some good to it but the label attached to it meant that no one actually considered what was being proposed and discussed. Bunging someone in prison and ignoring them for a while does nothing.

"Family breakdown, addiction, benefit dependency, educational failure all play a part. Changing what we have called the broken society will be a long and difficult process."

Jonathan: Cameron may not have used the phrase hug-a-hoodie, but the invitation was in the speech.

I would suggest that the Conservative Party has been and is equally implicated in the paragraph above, the failures that Grayling now deplores.

Conservatives weakened the benefit of traditional marriage when they stated that all partnerships, single mums and civil marriages (I heard the word marriage being used when a Conservative MP recently part-taking in a civil partnerships celebrated it in an interview on the BBC radio) were of equal value.

The Conservatives have supported homosexual adoption when we know that a mother and father is the desired and best relationship.
The Tories said nothing when a child was removed from its grandparents and against their wishes adopted by gays.

The Tories have blessed PC legislation brought in by Labour and have had nothing to say about recent PC madness.

The Conservatives contribute to addiction by failing to hang certain categories of drug-runners and suppliers.

I know of no plans by the Tories to effectively deal with dependency - indeed, over the years they have increased the amount of benefit.

The Tories will be contributing to education failure by continuing to abolish and rubbish grammar schools, despite the fact that Comprehensives have not been a comprehensive success.

I do not know of any Conservative policy designed to further discipline in schools (only vague words) such as the return of corporal punishment (adminstered if needs be by someone specially employed to do so).

I know of no policy to remove the fear of parents chastising their children whereby a red mark maybe visible and proof for a prosecution against parents.

"There have to be consequences for every act of antisocial behaviour"
I am unaware of any Conservative policy to remove the anonymity of juveniles found guilty in juvenile courts (a policy implemented by the Conservatives).

And that is just for starters; I haven't even mentioned our real governors.

Conservatives? What Conservatives? What about them?

A couple of important points:

I understand that DC never said "hug a hoodie"; it was a phrase attributed to him because he wasn't saying "hang a hoodie".

Nevertheless, the "hug a hoodie" speech was never meant to suggest that young criminals shouldn't be punished; instead it was meant to imply that there are a number of societal issues that need to be addressed, including the roots of so-called "hoodies".

One thing I do disagree with is the criticism of the phrase "anti-social behaviour" (ASB). I know that NuLab have created an entire language, much of which is claptrap, however we shouldn't damn it all where it is useful.

ASB often refers to just that: anti-social behaviour. Behaviour that is not yet criminal, but is heading down that pathway. Its failure is that it implies that ASB is an issue for the police; something for them to manage through the use of levers and tools such as ABCs and ASBOs, rather than a failure of parenting/schooling etc. But the fact remains that ASB is not necessarily criminal behaviour.

What I do object to is the use of the phrase to describe behaviour that really is criminal, to try and mitigate the workload of the police by demeaning the impact that local "hoodies" may be having on their local communities.

SteveAdams, I appreciate your point and agree that by tackling seemingly low-level offences we can stop more serious crimes developing (broken windows policy, ConHome threads passim), but my objection to the New Labour "Anti-social behaviour" language is that it is being used as a way of not subjecting criminals to the criminal justice system. It is New Labour's way of playing down a lot of the crime that is the most serious in terms of creating a climate of fear and disorder.

When the Conservative Party supports the Government's efforts to allow the police and intelligence services sufficient time to question suspected terrorists, I'll believe they're more serious about tackling the potential mass murder of our citizens than supporting human rights.

The police and the intelligence services should have less time not more.

"administered if needs be by someone specially employed to do so" beauracratic fetish? The birch..a slippy slope institutional abuse, denial of human rights.
Scapegoat groups, it will not fly very far.
We need old fashioned well meaning judgement
and clear cut punishments. Paying all school children a salary would allow for fines and settlements. Were would the money come from?
A loan based on their headcount? Children would be paying tax's like the rest of us.

One of the most idiotic measures that Nu-Labour have brought in is so-called "Restorative Justice", the irony of this expression is bitter indeed! As I understand things, rather than being punished by a fine or a spell in a Young Offenders Institution the scrote who committed the offence is allowed to simply say that they are sorry to the victim. Now contrition if genuine is a good thing but of course in most cases they will have been coached by their Solicitor or some Social Worker or other to act this out, maybe even shed a few little tears. That does not untrash someone's house, bring back a cat kicked to death, restore a car stolen and then burned out nor ease the pain both physical and psychological of the OAP knocked over in the street to steal their bag or wallet.

For the last 40 years we have tried the so-called progressive approach and look at the mess we are in. Let us return to tried and tested methods pre October 1964.

To solve a problem you have to understand it.

I am shocked by the way in which the traditional family structure has disappeared.

My mother didn't work after she married, so when I got home from school my tea was waiting and any problems that I had were sorted out.

My problem, way back in the 1950s, was that there was too much parental supervision. What with school on Saturday mornings, and school sports in the afternoon, I had little time left to get up to any mischief.

Now, both parents are likely to work, and the mother may well work at night - so there is little time to keep an eye on what junior is up to. Of course one of the parents is likely to be divorced or seperated. One of the parents may well not be married to the other. This set up creates problems - so we have got to understand that fact. All that may be required to set junior on the right road is some love and understanding.

Of course, there will always be those youngsters, just as there were in my time, who require tough discipline.

It doesn't help to support the family when a child is taken into care in South Somerset by a typically arrogant Social Services becuase the mother chastised the boy with a hair bursh.

This is typical beheavour of Social Workers. Theirs is a socialist philosophy and recognises that the family is the strongest support of the system that they, social workers despise. Therefore they take every opportunity to attack the family.

Comprehensive education was a mistake. Getting rid of corporal punishment in our schools was a mistake, the Children's Act was a mistake.

@Sandy Jamieson

Quite agree with you about comprehensive education, but I see no way of reversing it!

Even in my day selection within the school ie:- setting was common in subjects like mathematics. Perhaps this is the way forward?

Quite agree with you about corporal punishment, especially when the delinquent was caned in front of the school at morning assembly! But reintroducing it would stir up lots of opposition. I think that the way forward is to exclude trouble makers - the inconvenience this causes to the parents would have an effect!

What's wrong with 'hugging a goodie'. It's only an article of clothing. I have on occasions worn a hooded top. It hasn't instantly turned me into a vicious lout. I agree the poster who said we should stop referring to 'ant-social' behaviour. One of the more dismaying aspects of Labour rule has been the steady criminalisation of behaviour that is not criminal. By all means punish behaviour that is actively criminal but do it through the courts, not through adminstrative punishments handed out by lazy unaccountable jobsworths. And failing to cut your hedge every month is not a criminal act even if it does annoy your neighbours. But thanks to Labour's crazy ASBO laws you can get five years in prison for not doing it.

but my objection to the New Labour "Anti-social behaviour" language is that it is being used as a way of not subjecting criminals to the criminal justice system

But it is also being used to criminalise people who are not in the remotest sense criminal. When you can get as ASBO for being 'sarcastic' or failing to tend your garden, you know that the criminal justice system is abused in a way that would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

Hhhm, nothing quite like watching a Conservative try to come to terms with compassion, face all scrunched up, like a bulldog chewing a wasp, as '..flog them " tries to force its way out.

Or.... compassion as a set of 5 bullet points.

The truth with you guys is.... that you've had 12 years to develop good policies to put into action when the existing government, whoever it might be, gets tired. Instead you've squabbled amongst yourselves for most of that , and finally chose a PR man as your leader.

That is what is wrong with this country, it needs something that sweeps away you guys and your corrupt party system. You're a rather nasty lot really; cheap and nasty.


Compassion the only real compassion is that which serves the true will. There can be a very harsh side to nature Andrew. There is an outside and an inside to any party, which in itself is the entire reason for the existence of the party. If we are to move forward together then we really do need to know who is moving where and why.
The hug a hoody mentality of some of Dave’s more compassionate moments are certainly contrived but the willingness to do what is best for the sighted is clearly visible to all. Those who deserve our help are those who are willing to seek out the help. We certainly don’t have to make the system simple or transparent. Politics is only a great artistic venture when many artists co-operate to raise as many Individuals as possible. The whole thrust of the next few years will be balancing the books and it is likely we are going to get somewhat poorer as a nation. The gas crunch is not going to go away. Better then that we are prepared and working together to sort Britain out.
Those who really rock the boat have questionable motives. It would be better for you personally to be inside the party working to a common goal. Of course there is going to be some considerable disruption and it may well be that our problems are truly insurmountable. How are we going to both grow our economy and shrink our carbon production. Do we need to return some place in parliament to the hereditary money magnets or do we go for an elected house? The facts seem to add up to rough water ahead.

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