Standards – up or down?

Posted on: 25 February 2010 by Mark O'haire

Have you seen the new slogan for the Tory party in the roll up to the election – ‘Mending our broken society’. Not bad and we’re certainly in need of it but whether the likes of David Cameron can do it is another matter.

A recent radio programme discussed the gang culture that prevails particularly in inner cities in the UK. We were regaled with facts that are frankly , frightening. A 13-year-old girl talked about how she had become a drug user at the age of 11 and was dealing drugs at 13. Rape is now one of the chosen weapons of choice for intimidating rival gangs – ‘get in line or your sister/girlfriend gets raped!’.

Whose fault is this? Well sadly it's the older generation – you and me – we let it happen! This sort of behaviour never happened when we were children or teenagers. It started with our children and is now running rife through the grandchildren. What did we do and when did we do it!

I think the start was in the 60s with flower power, free love and ‘puff’. It then went on as we became a more liberal society and large groups of us enforced this new way of life by becoming ‘politically correct’ and assisting in getting laws in place to give us all more freedom and equality. This movement took on a life of its own and ran amok to such an extent that the  previously good structure of discipline and control became illegal.

Teachers or parents smacking or punishing children became illegal. Truant officers all but disappeared and the police became afraid to do anything in case they were sued or there was ‘public outcry’.

Then of course we have had 13 years of ‘New Labour’ (you can blame me – I was one who voted for Mr Blair and his gang) and with them came the battalions of psychologists and psychiatrists and social reformers. While all this was happening our generation was living the good life with little or no awareness of the consequences of this new ‘freedom’.

Well were in it now – we do have a broken society and one in an economic crisis like never before and this will foster civil unrest and crime. Unless we do something soon to change the status quo, our grandchildren will accept our society as the norm and perpetuate it with their children. If this happens it will take two more generations to reverse where we are.

Positive societal change is hard to make happen and this brings us back to having strong leadership and the willingness to make unpopular decisions. We will have to go back to where wrongdoing is severely punished and the punishment fits the crime. We may have to settle for ‘example setting’ as opposed to ‘rehabilitation’.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to support any government prepared to take a firm grip of the issues that face us. Let’s bring back some of those ‘good old ways from the good old days’ – they seemed to work for us. Our parents never had the problems with us that parents have today.

By Tony Page

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