conceptualizer

September 28, 2007

Social Engineering by Jacqui Smith

Ms Smith espoused “zero tolerance of antisocial behaviour” at the Labour Party conference. I love the rhetoric and wish it were translated into real action, but I have heard this many times before and not much happened then either. A showpiece pronunciamento to improve her image no doubt. Wouldn’t it be great though if she turned out to be a Mrs Thatcher of the Home Office and tackled our thugs, we can only dream.
Antisocial behaviour ruins living in this country. We have created a class of untouchable antisocial children that evolve into criminals and both blight our lives. Children test their boundaries, and it is for the adults to say no quickly and decisively when they go too far. They are given so many hollow warnings they keep pushing and pushing until they do something outrageous and finally the law takes action. It is too late by then, that behaviour is well embedded. The action should be swift and early. If we must afford them the rights of adults when they are still children (and I think we are too ready to do so) those rights need to be snatched back quickly when they do something wrong. We have created a culture where children’s rights matter more than adults. This inverted logic is backfiring. They are not sweet innocents learning their way. Anyone with sense knows they need moral instruction and social attitudes today prevent anyone form providing it. So yes we need some social engineering here, but the whole attitude to the treatment of children needs changing. We must tackle the root causes early, not belated apply a feeble ASBO and expect the child to fix itself.

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