Dylan Jones’ new book Cameron on Cameron is a series of interviews with the Conservative leader. Throughout this week, ToryDiaries have focused on highlights discussing the economy and taxation, other politicians, foreign policy and public services. The final post in this series has some highlights of Cameron’s responses relating to crime and social breakdown.

Camerononcameron_2 Society: “Britain’s broken society – that is what is wrong with the country. People can see that society is generally getting a lot poorer, there is family breakdown, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, persistent unemployment, sometimes three generations of families being unemployed… Labour don’t want to admit that there is anything broken about our society at all, even after twenty-seven children were killed in London last year, even after the appalling death of responsible citizens on their doorsteps and in their front gardens, people who have only been trying to protect themselves, their children or their property. Every day there is another murder, another assault, another rape, another front-page horror story.”

The causes of crime: “We’ve had all these criminal justice bills and thousands of new laws, and I think what we need to recognise is that fighting crime is actually about more than passing new laws. Of course you need to have the tough penalties on gun and knife crime and burglary and the rest of it, but unless you reform the police and get them out from behind their desks, unless you get rid of the culture of paperwork and political correctness, unless you deal with the issue of drugs on our streets, unless you have a broader response to crime, addressing the underlying causes, like family breakdown, unless you start saying no to things – to people falling down drunk in the streets, to shops selling booze to people underage, unless you change that then nothing will change.”

Capital punishment: “[I]f someone murdered one of my children then emotionally, obviously I would want to kill them. How could you not? But there have been too many cases of things going wrong, of the wrong people being executed, of evidence coming to light after the execution, and sometimes there is just too much of an element of doubt. And I just don’t honestly think that in a civilised society like ours that you can have the death penalty any more.”


Economic and social conservatism: “Obviously
circumstances have meant that I’ve had to spend more time addressing economic
issues and the credit crunch and the cost of living. But the Conservative Party’s
problem wasn’t that we were insufficiently pro-business or pro-markets, our
problem was people didn’t think we had a good vision of society, of what
constituted good public services, of how you actually improve the quality of
life and well-being. It’s quite clear that sorting out the economic mess we
inherit from Labour will be a major undertaking. But equally we have made clear
that social policy will be the focus of our reforms. The focus on those social
aspects of modern Conservatism was right and they’ll be a very big part of my
premiership if I get elected… I’m going to be as radical a social reformer as
Mrs Thatcher was an economic reformer, and radical social reform is what this
country needs right now.” 

Marriage: “It’s not the only way that
couples come together and stay together, but it helps people, the sense of
commitment, the fact that you’re standing there in front of friends and
relatives and saying it’s not just about me any more, it’s about us, it’s about
us together, we have commitments to each other, I think it’s a really important
thing. I am unashamedly pro-marriage… Some people will say, you’ll sound a bit
old-fashioned – I don’t care. I think it’s important.” 

The influence of government: “In the end
people are not going to get married for a tax break, and people are not going
to suddenly stop separating because we change the benefits system. I’m not naïve.
But it seems to me that if we need a change in culture that is more
pro-commitment, more pro-family, more pro-marriage, the very least the
government can do is make sure the benefits and tax systems are not going in
the opposite direction.”

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