At the beginning of this week I was a guest on Vox Politix on 18 Doughty Street and one of topics up for discussion (in fact, the main topic) was the perceived rise in violent crime* in the UK, in the wake of a knife attack on the previous Friday, and ministers' and Tory plans to tackle it. I felt embarrassed at the time (and still do slightly now) that I couldn't come up with some catchy, simple reason for the rising crime and so put forward my own panacea**.
The great and the good, however, can't agree on what is the reason - they point to absent dads, or a lack of community responsibility and put forward solutions like a crackdown on the sale of alcohol to those under-aged coupled with acceptable behaviour contracts, when in truth, they don't know. They're grabbing around for some populist move in an effort to seem like they have this great catch-all solution which will turn Britain into a crime-free Utopia. This is why I was heartened by Menzies Campbell's reaction:
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell has warned that there will be "no simple solution" to deal with gang culture and knife and gun violence.
"No simple solution" - at last, an admission of fallibility amongst all the headline grabbing initiatives of this week.
* I've found out since that violent crime actually dropped in the past year - at least, if the Home Office are to be believed.
** The other guest put forward his own of a form of National Service which is community, rather than militarily, based and only applies to those who drop out of school at 16. An idea which has its attractions.