This has been a tragic, humiliating week for Britain. The latest murder in South London coincided with a UNICEF report which suggested our children have the lowest quality of life in the developed world. This has caused many commentators to pause, briefly, and take stock. We have an opportunity, before the stale debates resume, to take a new and better path.
I doubt it will be taken. I could have choked that hypocrite Roy Hattersley for example, when on Question Time he blamed these problems on the "heartlessness," he claimed was "brought in by" the Thatcher Government. Just minutes before he had angrily accused David Dimbleby of making a "cheap political point" when he asked if Labour, after 10 years in power, was in any way to blame.
His point was as irrelevant as it was cheap. Pre-Thatcher Britain might or might not have been "heartless." The economic situation was such that the bailiffs of the International Monetary Fund were at the nation's door. Kindness without resources is as useless as a kettle without water.
Not only do you need resources to do good, you must use them wisely. New Labour has "kindly" doubled expenditure on the NHS, yet hospitals are closing and doctors and nurses being fired. NuLab promised "joined-up" government, but by closing local hospitals they are causing patients and their families to travel thousands of additional miles, with all that entails for carbon emissions. They are going to bus children between schools in prosperous and poor areas in the name of "social inclusion" - to similar effect.
But this is really not a time for party points. All of us, political activists and bystanders, are to blame for the situation our children now face. While I would strongly argue that the educational and social policies at fault originated on the Left, they were neither seriously opposed nor ratcheted back when the Conservatives were in government. Education and training has never been a priority for either of the big Parties, when they should always have been at the head of the list.