This is a sometimes 'cheesey' blog about British and American politics and anything else which tickles my fancy!
Wednesday, 26 August 2009
Is 'Broken Britain' like The Wire or a bit more like Shameless?
Yesterday Chris Grayling, the shadow Home Secretary, warned that Britain was falling apart so quickly we were in danger of turning into an episode of 'The Wire'.
What a load of rubbish.
Instead of glib references to TV shows, why can't any senior Tory make a single thoughtful speech about what we can do to tackle crime and social deprivation?
It is true that there are people in the UK trapped on sink estates, without a job, dependent on benefits, living in poverty. I admit to knowing one or two families exactly like the Gallaghers in the C4 drama 'Shameless'.
But it is not the case that places like Manchester or Liverpool are even remotely comparable to Baltimore, where The Wire is filmed, and where there are hundreds of violent gun deaths each year.
The Tories are trying to paint a picture of a nation crumbling apart which is inaccurate, scare-mongering and panders to the poisonous Daily Mail agenda. This is not the sensible politics of a party which wants to form the next government.
Labour could do more though. We used to talk a lot about welfare reform. We used to talk about the 'Respect' agenda which I thought was very important and a good response to issues of social deprivation and community crime. But this seems to have all fallen by the wayside now.
I think Labour would improve its chances amongst voters if it recovered some of that early Blair radicalism on welfare reform and started to talk about these issues again. If we don't we allow the Tories to paint a picture of our society which is terribly misleading and terribly destructive.