Cameron is right to want to fix Britain's broken society


Just as Margaret Thatcher was right to tackle our country's economic problems, David Cameron is absolutely right to prioritise fixing today's broken society (as Iain Duncan-Smith calls it). And, no, this does not mean old-fashioned moralising.

Whilst canvassing on a local estate this week, Hunter came across lots of problems associated with a broken society: a lack of respect for people and property, low academic expectations, a 'what can you offer me?' attitude and a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Many adults are trapped in the dependency culture. Generations of people have grown up in places like Tottenham where they have seen their parents out of work and where their teachers have never held high expectations for them. If you talk about going back to college, most people will laugh at you. It is difficult to stay motivated when everyone around you feels useless and that there's no point in trying to change things.

Oliver Letwin, when Shadow Home Secretary, talked about the "conveyor belt to crime". Thus usually starts off by in living, often in, a depressed area, skipping lessons and indulging in small criminal acts which grow into bigger acts leading to imprisonment.

It crossed my mind that the only kind of moral guidance they receive comes not from the classroom or family dinner table, but from faith groups, especially Christians, based on the Ten Commandments. Liberals and secularists may scoff, but it's true. Religious people do not have a monopoly on morality, but in the values-vacuum that exists in many of our estates it is only faith groups who offer any moral compass at all.

4 comments:

Neil said...

"Whilst canvassing on a local estate this week, Hunter came across lots of problems associated with a broken society: a lack of respect for people and property, low academic expectations, a 'what can you offer me?' attitude and a feeling of hopelessness and despair. Many adults are trapped in the dependency culture."

Wasn't it Thachter who created this society...?

Justin Hinchcliffe said...

No, Neil. Shirley Williams is partly responsible by abolishing grammar schools, which gave bright children on low-income families the opportunity to better themselves. I should also add that social mobility has gone down under this Labour government. And don't forget how Thatcher introduced shares and RtB for thousands - enabling them to claim a real stake in society.

Newmania said...

I agree with you , Conservatives have to be able to include fairness and compassion in their prescription

Otherwise we won`t get elected and get to keep all our money.

David Allen said...

If Thatcher is to blame at all it is in that she never did anything really effective to tackle the terrible problems that our socialist welfare state was storing up for the future: the emerging underclass, (which was apparent even in the 1980s) with its poverty of aspiration (beyond bling and celebrity), scorn for education, rootlessness, family meltdown, aggravated sense of entitlement at someone else's expense. It was never a field that Conservatives felt very at home with, compared with economics and defence, for instance. It is good to see IDS and Cameron appreciate that this is the central challenge for Conservatives today.