Abysmal youth measures symptomatic of New Labour's desperation

Despite abysmal election results New Labour still clings to its policies of tackling problems in this country - ones which are largely of its own making - at surface level. The latest shocking proposals come from home secretary Jacqui Smith in dealing wit

Despite abysmal election results New Labour still clings to its policies of tackling problems in this country - ones which are largely of its own making - at surface level. The latest shocking proposals come from home secretary Jacqui Smith in dealing with antisocial behaviour among young people.

Speaking in Westminster on 8th May, she said that there will be "no let-up in tackling antisocial behaviour" and that she wants "police and local agencies to focus on [troublemakers] by giving them a taste of their own medicine: daily visits, repeated warnings and relentless filming of offenders to create an environment where there is nowhere to hide."

Instead of changing course and responding to the needs and concerns of its traditional voters, New Labour ramps up policies that simply aren't working. The vast majority have expressed anger with the abolition of the 10p rate of tax, the privatisation of public services including the closure of post offices, and Gordon Brown's public sector pay freeze.

Tackling problems among young people by criminalising them is the result of the same rotten policies. Rather, the focus should be on investing in publicly-funded local youth centres, schools with funds for extra-curricular activities, and more widely, the gap between rich and poor in Britain.


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Criminalization with such heavy-handedness will only encourage further disillusionment among young people. Even the Home Office's own figures suggest that two-thirds of those involved in anti-social behaviour abandon it after a first warning.

I believe "Using such a misled approach to tackle the problem of crime among young people will exacerbate their problems. Did the Labour government ever think that if people are engaging in benefit fraud, that they are actually in need? And most parents are extremely concerned about their children, but in many cases because they work long hours they cannot pay them the attention they deserve. They should not have to endure parenting orders on top of an already difficult situation."

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Jacqui Smith's response suggests that New Labour is learning nothing from its election meltdown three weeks a go. New Labour should take much of the responsibility in allowing not only a Tory mayor to run London but allowing the BNP to feed off the Tories' electoral gains.

These proposals are a symptom of a government in desperation. Following the elections, the left must step up its efforts to challenge such proposals and push back the gains of the Tories, which do not represent the sentiment of the majority.

Mukul Hira

Chalton Street, NW1

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