Labour teaches kids the new 3 Rs: Remand, Raw, and Recession

by Stephen Tall on August 27, 2009

Three stories today – see if you can spot the blatant connection.

First up, the first R: Remand. Lib Dem research today revealed that over a million kids have been convicted of a criminal offence over the last decade, with a further million cautioned since Labour came to power in 1997. Here’s the breakdown of figures as revealed in an answer to a Lib Dem parliamentary question:

* 1,033,454 children aged between 10 and 17 have been convicted of a criminal offence since 1997. This includes almost 30,000 10 to 12 year olds.
* The number of 10 to 12 year olds convicted rose by 87.2% between 1997 and 2007. Among 13 to 15 year olds, it rose by 54.6%.
* 1,172,599 children aged between 10 and 17 were cautioned for a criminal offence under Labour.
* In the same period, 2,251,798 young adults (aged 18 to 21) were convicted and 577,424 were cautioned.

Here’s what Nick Clegg had to say about all this:

These shocking figures show how Labour has criminalised a generation of our children. It is a disgrace the Government spends eleven times more locking up our young people than it does on backing projects to stop them getting involved in crime in the first place. Dragging young people through the criminal justice system for minor offences is the best way of helping them to graduate to a more serious life of crime.

“Labour talks tough on crime, and then creates more criminals. It’s time to talk sense and act smart to stop the young offenders of today becoming the hardened criminals of tomorrow. We need to see innovative approaches that ensure children make amends to their victims and put things right, rather than immediately criminalising them. The Liberal Democrats propose a new approach to youth justice that prevents young people from getting into crime in the first place.”

(You can, by the way, read all about the party’s approach to youth crime here).

Now for the second R: Raw. Here’s a snippet from today’s Guardian:

The Liberal Democrats today released data revealing that the number of 16-year-olds leaving school without five GCSEs graded A*-C since Labour came to power is expected to reach 3 million tomorrow. David Laws, the Lib Dem education spokesman, said: “These shocking figures reveal the true extent of Labour’s failure in education. After over 10 years in power, it is deeply concerning that around one third of pupils are leaving education without even achieving the basic standard of five good GCSEs.”

And now for the final R: Recession.
The Tories also released some figures today, these showing that 1.9 million children live in homes where their parent(s) don’t work – in total, 3.3m UK households have no-one in a job, with an astonishing 4.8m adults reliant on benefits to live. As Lib Dem shadow work and pesnions secretary Steve Webb noted, “”The alarming jump in numbers of households where no one is working is a sign that the recession will have a devastating impact on hundreds of thousands of families.”

It’s a toxic combination: increasing numbers of children failing to achieve even the minimal educational qualifiications at a time when employment is harder to find. And what’s worrying is that even during a period of strong economic growth, Labour still contrived to ensure more and more young people were criminalised. What will happen over the next five years during more impoverished times?

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The failed policies of this Government over 10 years, are being quantified, in terms of the startling increase, by the 86% rise in youth custody, that is equal to over 3000 young persons : that is tantamount to a lost generation.

Our Local Councils must look at how this ongoing process of `criminalisation’ can be stopped for more of our youngsters, as many of this generation, will only learn an apprenticeship to permanent criminality.

The way forward is clear that community `restorative justice’ programmes must be started and explored to include a more victim led approach.

There should be stronger civic planning on creating local youth programmes centred on learning skills, with help from projects with the Police, the Army and Local Businesses.

Youngsters can then also develop interests and positive role models where a `Youth Volunteer Force’ is recruited and dedicated PCSO from the local Safer Neighbourhood Team recognised ,who together,will devise and teach them how to enjoy car and bike mechanics or sport under conditions that help to inculcate team spirit .

It is time for the ASBO to be superseded by the Acceptable Behaviour Contracts that allow the young offender to negotiate and individually recognise the difference between right and wrong .

The ABC will enable a young offender to move in a line that nurtures and then records all acts with positive results and outcomes.

The ASBO is discredited as 61% of those on it since 1997 have now re-offended and thereby escalated supervision police time and resources and further criminal behaviour has ensued without a positive outcome for the majority.

The appalling record of this Government in selling off ,without public consultation,valuable playing fields at the rate of one each week over 10 years, has stunted the opportunity for thousands of children, to play outdoor games like football and cricket on genuine green playing fields.

As a result of this unnecessary sale of countless green playing fields, sport has declined in state schools, as more city schools do not have access to pitches for sport.

Whereas most schools deliver excellent indoor sports lessons, a greater number of children have been deprived of a life chance to play sport on green outdoor playing fields,throughout their whole secondary schooling.

by Cllr Patrick Smith on August 27, 2009 at 9:13 pm. Reply #

And of course, “Rent”.

Rapidly rising numbers young people have no prospect of ever owning their own home. They are condemned to pay what remains of their increasingly taxed income to rent-seeking monopolists who have secured housing wealth beyond their own personal needs, inflating property prices accordingly (which still have a long way to fall before becoming affordable).

Liberals, traditionally, would collect a proportion of the unearned income that flows to rent-seekers, lowering rents and making homes more affordable. Unfortunately some traditions have lost their way since the 1909…

by Andrew Duffield on August 28, 2009 at 9:43 am. Reply #

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