…and so it should. The idea that crime has roots in broken families and malnourished lives is true.
In the most poignant words ever spoken by David Cameron, the Tory leader offered these thoughts to yesterday’s Conservative Party Conference:
"Come with me to Wandsworth prison and meet the inmates. Yes you meet the mugger, the robber and the burglar. But you also meet the boy who can’t read and never could. The teenager hooked on heroin.The young man who never knew the love of a father. The middle aged failure where no-one in the family has known what it’s like to go out and work for two generations or maybe more.Miss the context, miss the cause, miss the background and you’ll never get the true picture of why crime is so high in our country."
The words reminded me of those spoken by George W Bush, in 2000:
"A couple of years ago, I visited a juvenile jail in Marlin, Texas, and talked with a group of young inmates. They were angry, wary kids. All had committed grownup crimes. Yet when I looked in their eyes, I realized some of them were still little boys. Toward the end of conversation, one young man, about 15, raised his hand and asked a haunting question… "What do you think of me?" He seemed to be asking, like many Americans who struggle … "Is there hope for me? Do I have a chance?" And, frankly … "Do you, a white man in a suit, really care what happens to me?" A small voice, but it speaks for so many. Single moms struggling to feed the kids and pay the rent. Immigrants starting a hard life in a new world. Children without fathers in neighborhoods where gangs seem like friendship, where drugs promise peace, and where sex, sadly, seems like the closest thing to belonging. We are their country, too. And each of us must share in its promise, or that promise is diminished for all."
Britains Conservatives must stay more focused on our social justice agenda than George W Bush. We must build the nation of the second chance; a nation that rehabilitates prisoners, mends broken families, gives the long-term unemployed new training and skills.
> This is the second of Tim Montgomerie’s eight conclusions from this week’s Birmingham Party Conference. The first noted David Cameron’s rejection of an anti-government mentality.