Author`s name Pravda.Ru

UNITED KINGDOM: GOVERNMENT REACTS TO WAVE OF DELINQUENCY. CURFEW FOR UNDER-16s BETWEEN 21.00 AND 06.00

When elected in 1997, Tony Blair said of his New Labour government that they did not have the solutions to everything but that they would try to find them. Having given the United Kingdom’s economy an injection of confidence, many of the ills which affected the country under the 18 years of Conservative government have now been alleviated, if not solved. However, a great problem persists: that of delinquency. This article is written on the same day on which 10-year-old Damilola Taylor would have celebrated his eleventh birthday, if he had not been lynched and horrifically murdered on his way home from a computer class…without any reason. This is the same year in which an eight-year-old girl, Sarah Payne was sexually abused and killed. These are two cases which made the media headlines and like them, there are tens, if not hundreds, of others. The British government has introduced innovative and bold measures to try to combat this complicated issue: a curfew for everyone less than 16 years old between 21.00 and 06.00. Between these hours, they must not be on the streets. The measure was introduced in the Queen’s speech yesterday. In this speech, the Queen introduces the programme that her government will follow in the next year. Unfortunately, it was not only the cases mentioned above which provoked this sort of more drastic measure, but a general degradation of British society. This is a country in which gangs from the cities terrorise the nearby villages deprived of policemen following public spending cuts (started by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher). This is a country in which old age pensioners in certain areas do not dare to venture out of their homes after 16.00 for fear of being savagely beaten and robbed. This is a country in which an eighty-year-old woman last year was raped, beaten and robbed of her pension at Christmas time, as she was preparing a family party. The family values which held people together during years of hardship in critical times in the last century seem to have disappeared with the advent of the 24-hour working day and the delegation of powers to educational institutions which do not, and never have, substituted the family. Whatever authority these institutions had has now been taken away successively, leaving a void which has yet to be filled. Children left alone will naturally be influenced by the company they find – the best or the worst. If they are influenced by the worst elements, and are not accompanied by their families, the result is always the same: social disaster. A curfew may seem like a drastic measure to introduce, but at least it is courageous and finally, an idea is produced. The question is whether the media will give it a chance to work. John Ashtead, Pravda.Ru, London