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Iain Dale is Presenter of LBC Drive, Managing Director of Biteback Publishing, a columnist and broadcaster and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate.

As I write, there have been 51 murders in London so far this year. If the rate continues, it will have close on 200 murders in 2018 compared to 130 last year.

That’s quite an increase. Sadiq Khan is completely devoid of ideas as to what to do, and jerks his knee by blaming police cuts for the rise. The Right instinctively blames the fall in the number of stop and searches, while the Left – in the form of Diane Abbott – blames social deprivation. David Lammy says that a lot of it is down to drug gang turf wars. In truth, there is no single cause, and if we’re honest it’s probably in part down to all of these things. There is no short-term quick-fix solution.

I had a teenage caller on my programme on Tuesday, who said one of the long-term solutions is to get rid of ‘gang grooming’. He reckoned that it’s schools who hold the key to stopping 12 or 13 year-olds joining gangs. Gangs give some kids the feeling of belonging and family that they may have lacked in their home lives. The reality of gang life needs to be explained to young boys, especially young black boys, at a very early age. It’s a truth we all need to recognise.

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By last Thursday at midnight, every company in the country with more than 250 employees had to file gender pay gap information to the Government. I may not like this nanny state approach to the issue, but it’s thrown up some very interesting information. It may be a blunt instrument, but it does show how much work there is to do on the subject of equal work and opportunity.

For example, airlines complain that they have a big gap because most of their employees are cabin crew, of which 70 per cent are women, and much lower paid than pilots, only three per cent of whom are women. Perhaps they ought to ask themselves why only three per cent are female, and then do something about it. There’s no intrinsic reason for women to shun the opportunity to train as pilots.

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Someone asked me this week if I think it is now possible that Theresa May could fight the 2022 election as Conservative leader. Most people assume that she will step down after Brexit is complete at the beginning of 2021, thus giving her successor time to bed in before an election.

If her performance continues to improve, as it has done in recent weeks, then she may be able to demand the right to continue. I’d say there is only a ten to twenty per cent chance of her still being in Downing Street in 2022, but it may well grow over the coming months. Watch the betting markets.

As the local election campaign gets underway – and has anyone noticed? – it will be interesting to see if Labour’s anti-semitism woes have any effect on voting patterns. There has been a remarkable dearth of opinion polls during the last fortnight, so we have no evidence to go on, but it would be remarkable if Labour hadn’t lost a couple of per centage points. The last poll showed a three point Tory lead. If by the end of the year there is a six or seven point Tory lead, I suspect Theresa May will have every right to say she ain’t goin’ nowhere.

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I had a week off last week and started watching Game of Thrones. I must admit it took quite a few episodes to really get it into it. There are so many characters that it’s quite difficult to follow who’s who and how they relate to each other.

It all fell into place when I realised that the Queen was actually shagging her own brother. And the series isn’t even set on the Isle of Sheppey, a place where the family trees apparently don’t fork too often. Or so rumour has it.

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Isn’t Turkey a member of NATO? Why then is it buying defence systems from Russia? This week, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, its President, held a summit with Vladimir Putin and Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s President. I think of it as the Summit of the Three Monkeys: hear no evil, see no evil…and evil. I’ll leave you to guess which one is which.

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The Greatest Showman has possibly the best ever movie soundtrack. Discuss.

135 comments for: Iain Dale: London murders and gang grooming

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