GRAYLING CHRIS NW Shadow home secretary Chris Grayling gave this speech in Doncaster yesterday in which he called for a "war on antisocial behaviour", to be based on five central principles:

  1. There have to be consequences for every act of antisocial behaviour;
  2. Parents must not be allowed to abdicate responsibility for their children's behaviour;
  3. A tougher approach to bad behaviour in schools must teach children the difference between right
    and wrong;
  4. Adults encouraging children to be irresponsible – by selling them drugs or alcohol for example – must be dealt with effectively; and
  5. Youth engagement in society must be ensured, not least through support for the voluntary sector groups delivering that process of engagement.

Mr Grayling spoke about his desire to see "an effective punishment every time young people do step out of line" and he added that he wanted "instant community punishments for serious acts of antisocial behaviour".

The speech has been written up by the Times's Sam Coates as a repudiation of David Cameron's so-called "hug-a-hoodie" speech of three years ago:

"The speech marked a final break for the Conservatives from Mr Cameron's
initial youth crime strategy, which called for greater understanding of
hoodie-wearing teenagers. In July 2006, the Tory leader told the Centre for
Social Justice that young people needed 'a lot more love'. Mr
Cameron added: 'So, when you see a child walking down the road, hoodie
up, head down, moody, swaggering, dominating the pavement – think what has
brought that child to that moment'."

But I would contest that Sam Coates' analysis is entirely wrong: "hug-a-hoodie" was never about letting youth crime go unchecked, but rather seeking to address the social problems such as family breakdown, illiteracy and unemployment which are the context for such crime taking place.

Indeed, as Chris Grayling said himself in the same speech yesterday:

"Family breakdown, addiction, benefit dependency, educational failure all play a part. Changing what we have called the broken society will be a long and difficult process."

Jonathan Isaby

30 comments for: Chris Grayling has not sounded the death knell of “hug-a-hoodie”

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