Friday, August 12, 2011

Playing the blame game

As if the sight of looters and rioters wreaking havoc on the streets of cities across England isn’t enough, the situation is being made all the more sickening by the rush by politicians to alternatively wipe their hands of any blame / attribute blame to someone else.
This situation is not the result simply of anything that has happened over the past fifteen months of coalition Government.  Mistakes have been made by successive Governments and politicians for years.  They have failed to connect with a substantial number of people in this country.  Just look at the number of people who are completely disengaged with the democratic process, the process by which they should be able to bring about change.
No political party is managing to successfully engage with the poverty stricken and disadvantaged communities they all claim to care so much about.  And the worst offenders are the party who was supposed to be there for the working class, who were originally all about communities and socialist principles – the Labour party.  They don’t want to lift people out of poverty, they don’t want to get people off benefits, because then they will have nothing to blackmail them with.
And so what are they doing now? Are they making any serious effort to suggest solutions?  Of course not – they are far too busy trying to lay all the blame at the door of the coalition Government.
Peter Hain has a pop in the Western Mail today at the ‘savage cuts’ (what a ludicrous and overworked phrase) affecting the Police.  The Government must change its mind immediately or how will the Police cope with situations such as the current riots in the future?
As a Wales Office spokesman said:
 “Peter Hain appears to be conveniently unaware that his own shadow cabinet colleague Yvette Cooper has said the police would not be immune from cuts under Labour. He also seems to have forgotten that in Government the then Home Secretary Alan Johnson said he could not guarantee that police numbers would not fall, or that under Labour in January 2010 all police forces were expecting significant spending cuts in the 2011-2012 financial year.”
 “Despite Labour spending record sums on policing and record police numbers, only 11% of police officers are available on the streets at any one time.
“We must focus police resources onto the frontline. We have said we won’t do anything that will reduce the amount of visible policing on our streets.
“The effectiveness of a police force does not depend on the number of staff but on the way police officers are deployed. Police forces must focus on driving out wasteful spending and increasing efficiency in the back office so that they can save jobs.”

I have written previously about the new policing plans for South Wales Police and the assurances given by Superintendent O’Neill that this will be precisely the case in RCT – stations may close, methods may change, but there will be no loss of front line policing.
Peter Hain told the Western Mail that people in wales should not ‘crow’ over the fact that the riots have been confined to England, and that we are not immune to the ‘family breakdown which brought disruption to the lives of young people across Britain.’
He said: “We have a stronger family and community tradition to underpin our society but it’s being eroded year by year.”
Yes – that is maybe the case, but who then is to blame for that?  Devolution means Labour have been in power here over the last fifteen months of the coalition Westminster Government.  What have they done to help the situation?

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