Following a troubled week of riots across London and other major cities in England the Prime Minister has announced that every government policy will be under review to make sure that they can fix a “broken society.” But how will these changes in Government policy actually be implemented? William Sharman investigates.
David Cameron has promised today that tackling the “broken society,” will be top of the agenda and that he will speed up plans to improve parenting and deal with anti-social behaviour. In his speech he also said that he aims to “turn around the lives of the 120,000 most troubled families” by 2015 as well as pledging to start an “all out” war on gang culture. The PM described the rioting last week as a “wake up call for the country,” and that the “worst of Britain,” had been seen during the trouble. This all led to him concluding his speech by saying that the Broken Society was now back at the top of his agenda. He also talked about improving education for parents and children in less well off areas around the country.
As obvious and good ideas as these seem, there are however massive problems with actually implementing them. Firstly and perhaps most obvious is the cost involved. In an age in which public sector spending is being cut left, right and centre there is no room left in the budget for added social costs. The current economic plan is not producing the growth that the Chancellor hoped to see and with the added trouble from America and the Euro zone it looks like a fair while until there is any money to spend on extra social measures. My question then is how can Cameron and his government start an all out war on gangs as an example. Wars are expensive even in the metaphorical sense I am sure the PM means. The US has had a massive gang problem for years and has been able to do very little to tackle it but I suppose that’s why we are trying to take some of their ideas and implement them into our policing. To bring in suitable changes that could help stop the gang problem would cost a fortune that this country cannot spare at the moment. So money is clearly an issue in the changes that the PM is proposing.
The second problem is that how do you actually go about improving the parenting and reducing anti-social behaviour in poorer areas of the country? In his speech Cameron included children without fathers, schools without discipline and communities without control as some of the main social problems that “have been festering for decades and have exploded in our face.” How does the PM propose to tackle these problems though? Firstly how can you reduce the amount of children without fathers? This is a deep-rooted problem with society and would be very hard to tackle. Maybe massive amounts of education could help to persuade fathers that staying with their families is better than leaving but I would imagine this advice would be ignored. Reducing the amount of teenage mothers would definitely help this problem but again this is a problem that the PM is going to find very hard to sort out. Education seems to be the only reasonable solution as well.
To increase discipline in schools would require extra funding but with the current economic climate, and with the academy plans for schools it seems it will be a long while before there is extra funding for poorer schools. One way to increase discipline though would be to try to reduce truancy rates but again this is a deep-seated problem with society that the PM has to tackle as well. Larger punishments for not being in school is one solution, but it is most likely down to how the parents react that will affect the children.
I would imagine education for parents is again the only solution. But as with all these problems, a massive amount of money and time will be needed and I am afraid that the bare minimum will be done to simply cover up the problems inherent to our society.
My greatest fear is that we will simply patch the broken society back together and let it slowly fall apart all over again.