Two subjects dominate the newspaper columns today and they are inevitably, the escalation of violent crime and the departure of Theresa Maybe from office. Let’s deal with crime first.
It would seem that Britain is suffering an unprecedented surge in murder and knife crime in general. London alone has had more than sixty deaths on its streets in 2019. Most victims are young men and the police seem powerless to prevent this.
Yet the response of politicians to this carnage has been pathetic, most of it characterised by handwringing, buck-passing and excuse-making. None of them is more guilty of inaction than London Mayor, Sadiq Khan who has now been in office for more than three years. He pontificates a great deal but doesn’t seem to have the faintest clue as to how crime should be tackled.
This week he blamed the butchery on poverty and Tory cuts. Having moaned about ‘lack of employment’ and claimed that the worst crime rates occur in the most deprived areas, he argued that the wave of violence is ‘an appalling side-effect of increasing inequality and alienation caused by years of government austerity and neglect.’
As you might have gathered, I have no particular time for the current crop of politicians in power but Khan’s words were all too typical of the fashionable sociological claptrap which has badly undermined the fight against crime. Like so many others he seems to want to absolve offenders of responsibility for their actions by painting them as the helpless victims of economic circumstances. This is basically a form of political blackmail saying that London’s youth should be given more or they will go on killing.
But this is absurd I’m afraid. We are not living in a land of pitiless destitution where all the disadvantaged can do is stab or starve. In fact, Britain’s economy is booming at the moment. Wages are rising at their fastest rate for eleven years and for all Khan’s whingeing about joblessness, unemployment stands at 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since 1974.
It is particularly idiotic to bleat about London, one of the richest places on earth with a wealth of work and leisure opportunities. Few places in the world offer so many free and subsidised activities, buttressed by an unrivalled transport infrastructure.
And contrary to Khan’s complaints, the capital receives far more support from the Government than any other region in England. London state schools for example receive £5,872 per pupil, whereas those in the north-west get £4,912 per pupil.
By trying to link murder and Tory spending decisions, Khan might feel he is boxing clever, but in reality, he is proving what an out of touch pratwinkle he really is.
Britain has experienced real poverty and turmoil in its past without soaring violence. In 1941 for example, when the public had to cope with rationing and German bombing, George Orwell wrote ‘the gentleness of English civilisation is its most marked characteristic,’ words that sound all too poignant now we are governed by ineffectual, hand-wringing mediocrities like Sadiq Khan. Politicians need to stand up to thugs and criminals, not give them everything they want. No matter what the political elite so often say, violence is not a ‘public health’ issue. It is basic criminality and should be punished not rewarded.
Instead of indulging petty thugs the authorities should be putting more police on the streets, bringing back stop-and-search, enforcing the law, breaking up the gangs and, above all, imposing much tougher jail terms on dangerous offenders.
Only by regaining its authority can the state finally begin to wage a successful war against crime. I won’t be holding my breath I’m afraid. I don’t believe the current crop of politically correct and horribly ineffectual politicians have the gumption to act as they should.
This is Theresa Maybe’s last weekend in power so how will history view her I wonder. In my humble opinion – and a few others, not so humble – she was hopeless but she wasn’t useless. Her party needed her when Cameron fled the chicken coop.
When she was first elected leader, the Conservatives hoped that she might emulate her own heroine, Margaret Thatcher and secure a reasonable deal with the EU through steely resolve. When she called the snap election, they hailed her as a genius for having the gumption to exploit Labour’s weaknesses and expand her majority. Huh! I commented during the campaign that she was the one holding the Tories back and giving Labour the advantage. On her few television appearances, she looked as though she was there under protest rather than trying to win votes.
Yet although it is difficult to imagine now, support for her was smarmily effusive. She was regarded as a real asset to her party. ‘This former lukewarm remainer has truly been the servant of a newly sovereign people,’ wrote Dean Godson, director of the right wing think tank, Policy Exchange, ‘Her tone has captured the moment … Her own form of provincial respectability is now aligned to the needs of those ‘people from somewhere’ who voted leave.’
Claptrap Sir! I don’t think she was ever interested in leaving.
The media in general seemed convinced that Labour under Corbyn had no chance and saw attributes in Maybe that did not exist. The closer they were to power, it seems, the less they could actually see. At 9.53pm on election night Piers Morgan tweeted: ‘As exit poll looms, I repeat my prediction: Conservatives to win by 90-100 seat majority.’ At 9.57pm Steve Hawkes, deputy political editor of the Sun, tweeted: ‘Rumour Tories could be looking at 400 seats.’
How could these supposedly in-the-know journalists get it so wrong?
At 10pm we learned that she would likely lose her majority altogether. Even after that disastrous night though, she was useful to the Tories as a figurehead – keeping the seat warm for someone better while making sure that Corbyn did not occupy it. It is worth remembering that they did not get rid of her – nobody better did come along. She resigned as an abject failure.
Theresa Maybe was probably the best candidate for the job at the time. The alternative was Andrea Leadsom, but she had neither the know-how nor the personality to lead a government and there was nobody else, which is a sad reflection on modern politics.
Maybe probably did a better job than her predecessor, David Cameron, but that is not saying much. I don’t trust her likely successor, Boris Johnson and the other alternative is Jeremy Hunt, another plastic man, but surely neither of them can be as bad as Theresa May – can they?
Only time will tell I’m afraid. Come back Screaming Lord Such!