Tony Blair's new government announces a flurry of actionism sponsored by the Minister for Policing, Security and Community Safety, Hazel Blears.
The usual gestures rain down, such as making offenders in Salford put up hanging baskets, and more anti-smoking rules. It is all designed "to foster a culture of respect," the government bleats. Tony Blair, meanwhile, wring his hands and says there's nothing much politics can achieve in this area and that frankly, it is the parents who are to blame.
Political impotence is a pose that is catching. In Germany, the so-called Müntefering Terror was kicked off by the SPD's Chairman, the eponymous Franz, who blames all his country's economic troubles on capitalism, especially American, Jewish capitalists, and says that there is nothing his government can do about their evil plots. It is left to German citizens to draw their own conclusions, something Müntefering aids by publicising lists of "guilty" companies (which happen to be American and Jewish) and his government abets by suggesting that a boycott of such companies would be in order.
Now Tony blames Britain's social breakdown on the parents of criminals, rather than on the governments which have succeeded in destroying the institution of marriage, so that 42% of British kids, these days, are born out of wedlock. And yet simple changes to the tax regime would do far more to encourage a stable family life than any number of hanging baskets in Salford.
The link is to Fredinand Mount's article in today's Telegraph.Telegraph Opinion How can you blame the parents without encouraging marriage?