There are bad news stories for the Government wherever you turn today…
The Independent chooses to headline the fact that private debt now exceeds national income.
Earlier today I noted the fact that Labour are engaging again with Muslim extremists – probably for electoral reasons.
The Telegraph revealed an alarming number of troops leaving the armed forces – a situation described as a "crisis" by Liam Fox.
Forty Labour MPs are set to rebel against Brown on the EU Treaty.
The Times notes how record numbers of vulnerable children are unjustly being taken away from their natural parents and rushed, irreversibly, into adopted families because of Labour targets.
And then, of course, there is the social breakdown highlighted by the recent crime wave. This is what this morning’s Mail thunders:
"What on earth is the point of ministers talking about tougher penalties, when their failure to build enough prisons has led to such gross overcrowding that courts are under pressure to impose non-custodial sentences? How can they promise a crackdown on drunken yobbery, when they themselves have encouraged binge-drinking with all-hours pub opening? And do they seriously believe their declassification of cannabis to a class C drug hasn’t made matters worse?"
Meanwhile in another speech today, David Cameron has identified Labour’s neglect of the family as the central cause of Britain’s broken society:
"All too often good behaviour is matched with punishment, poor behaviour with rewards. Institutions – like schools – whose independence should be championed and whose role in nurturing values of service and discipline is so essential – are too often undermined. A system of rights that seems to fly in the face of common sense is introduced and repeatedly sanctioned. Most important of all a tax and benefit system is built up over time that sends signals, and helps to create a culture, that undermines families, penalises commitment and reinforces family and social breakdown. It is time for us to recognise that we cannot go on as we are. Just as there was nothing inevitable about economic decline at the end of the 1970s, so there is nothing inevitable about social decline in our current decade."
I read that as a signal that married families will be priority number one when it comes to sharing those proceeds of growth.
Read the full text of the Conservative leader’s speech here. In it he called for a new social covenant: a "national recognition that it is not just up to the Government to take responsibility for the state of our nation, it is up to all of us."