By Tim Montgomerie
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Both Ed Miliband and The Spectator's Fraser Nelson have called for an inquiry into last week's riots. It's the sort of thing politicians always do after big events. And some narrow inquiries are certainly needed. One is already underway into the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan, in Tottenham. We also need an investigation into police tactics for the first three nights of disturbances. If Sir Hugh Orde is so keen to take credit for the Met getting it right on night four he should take responsibility for the bloody chaos of nights one, two and three and the huge damage those nights did to public confidence. A YouGov poll found that just 1% of people think the police were tough enough. 84% think the police weren't tough enough.
But as I write in my column for this morning's Sunday Telegraph, the Centre for Social Justice (and its predecessor organisation, Renewing One Nation) has been examining these issues over a long period:
"Over the past decade, Duncan Smith’s Centre for Social Justice has been immersed in these social issues and has produced many compelling recommendations for action. Only a fraction of the centre’s ideas have, so far, been embraced by the Coalition. As Welfare Secretary, Duncan Smith is pursuing benefits reform but the centre’s work on early intervention, parenting, gang warfare, indebtedness and voluntary sector funding has been left to gather dust on a shelf."
A quick look at the CSJ's publications page shows the range of topics they've covered. Debt. employment. education. Welfare reform. Early intervention. Family law reform. Homelessness… I could go on. Go to the other think tanks. Civitas or Reform on education. Policy Exchange on job creation. The IEA on urban enterprise zones. An inquiry would take months, at best, and probably years. We need to seize the moment. Cameron needs to seize the moment and get on with a task that cannot be delayed.