Once again Gordon Brown’s government is in disarray. Yesterday after days and weeks of dithering, Jacqui Smith unveiled new plans to tackle knife crime. We should have kept waiting. The government it appeared opted for the shock tactic of taking offenders to wards to see first hand the damage inflicted by knife crime. Personally I think these proposals were ridiculous. I don’t know who is advising the government on policy but who ever it is has clearly been watching too much Maury or Jeremy Kyle. I feel that parading knife victims is both unseemly and unneccessary. I feel if the government want shock tactics then the only shock tactic that can be employed in this situation is jail time.
However it seems I didn’t even have the chance to write a blog on these ridiculous before they were being widely discredited. The ‘experts’ stole my thunder, so I decided not to blog until the policy had fallen flat on its face as it now has. In an interview with Sky’s Adam Boulton on Sunday Live, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said youngsters caught with knives would be forced to confront the possible consequences by bringing them face-to-face with blade victims in hospitals. Now, the Home Office said they would instead only be expected to meet doctors to be educated about the injuries caused by knives “One of those proposals is that people caught carrying knives should be taken to see people in hospital who have been stabbed, or to meet the families of victims, is that correct?” Boulton asked. “It is,” replied Ms Smith. Gordon Brown himself dodged questioning on the proposals.
Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve has said that ‘ill-thought-through, piecemeal announcements and failed initiatives would not solve the problem’, while even the Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said Mrs Smith had been ‘panicked’ into bringing forward proposals which evidence in the United States had shown did not work. Jacqui Smith is coming up with half-baked ideas because the Government has been in denial, if not down right oblivious, about the scale of the knife crime problem. This episode proves to me what we already knew, this government is incapable, incompetent and increasingly irrelevant. They have absolutely no idea how to tackle the problems society faces and instead deploy ill thought out shock tactics in three days that fall flat on their face within three hours.
I have said a million times over: make offenders realise that carrying a knife is completely unacceptable and make it crystal clear that if you are caught carrying a knife you will go down. No legitimate excuse? No middle ground. This may seem draconian, this may seem fascist but I don’t care. Every day brings a new death, new trauma for countless families, new patients for the hospitals, new victims for the morgue and new paperwork for the police. This situation, like the government, has hit rock bottom and needs dealing with. I can understand people objecting to such methods if there was a genuine reason to carry a knife on the streets but there isn’t. If we go soft on knife crime next it will be gun crime. ‘I need a knife for protection’ will be replaced by ‘I need a gun’ and a big problem will be even bigger as will the number of casualties.
However if Gordon Brown is so desperate to employ shock tactics… I’ve got one that would work him… resign… and take that Home Secretary of yours with you.