Blair: shootings not a metaphor for British youth

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Artykuł pochodzi z pisma "Guardian"

Blair: shootings not a metaphor for British youth


Paul Owen and agencies
Friday February 16, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Tony Blair today described the shooting of three teenagers in south London as "horrific, shocking and tragic beyond belief".
But he insisted that the killings were not a metaphor for the state of British society.
Speaking at a youth conference in Glasgow, Mr Blair said that the shootings were part of a "specific problem... amongst specific groups of people", for which the government would introduce "specific solutions" in the next few days.
"This tragedy is not a metaphor for the state of British society, still less for the state of British youth today, the huge majority of whom, including in this part of London, are responsible, law-abiding people," Mr Blair said.
This stance distanced the prime minister from the views of David Cameron, who blamed the problem of gun crime on the breakdown of two-parent families.
"Surely no one imagines that we can stop crimes like this simply with better policing or better gun control," he said in Witney, Oxfordshire. "The problem lies within families and communities - and so does the solution."
He added: "Children learn their morals, no less than their manners, from their parents. And that means both parents - including fathers.
"We urgently need to reform the law, and the rules around child maintenance, to compel men to stand by their families."
His comments were echoed by the home secretary, John Reid.
"We have to use a whole array of methods to tackle it, from police and prisons right through to demanding family responsibility," Mr Reid said, before meeting south London MPs to discuss the killings.
Sir Menzies Campbell, the leader of the Liberal Democrats, said that there were "no quick fixes" to the problems of "relationship breakdown and a disenfranchised generation".
"Nurturing families and building communities takes years. We need a strong police response for now, but in the long term it is only by encouraging respect for others that we can end the cycle of violence."
The politicians' comments come in the wake of the murders of five people in two weeks in London, including the shootings of three teenagers, and a Unicef report that ranked the UK last of 21 industrialised countries in terms of children's quality of life.
Asked this morning on BBC Radio 4 what he meant by his pledge, if elected, to "compel men to stand by their families", Mr Cameron said: "It means finding the father, it means attaching an order to their benefits or to their earnings and taking the money out of their bank account and giving it to the mother.
"That's what compulsion means."
But the Tory leader added that laws to that effect would be worth "nothing unless you've got the culture to back it up".
Pressed about his views on the best way to support two-parent families, Mr Cameron said: "I mean a tax break for marriage."
He added: "I believe in marriage. I believe in people making a commitment to each other and trying to stay together and trying to bring up children properly.
"That is absolutely the core of what I think."
In another interview today, Mr Cameron said that the south London shootings indicated that society was "badly broken".
The death of Billy Cox, 15, who was killed on Wednesday, was "deeply depressing", the Tory leader told GMTV.
He said: "Like everyone else, I was just shocked and appalled and deeply saddened when I watched last night on the television the pictures of that 15-year-old boy's body being taken out of his house.
"That's what our society's now come to: teenagers shooting other teenagers in their homes at point-blank range. It is deeply depressing.
"This goes beyond any one policy or any one government. I think what we need is to recognise our society is badly broken and we need to make some big changes, starting now."
Again, he stressed the importance of family in tackling the problem: "When you look at the people caught up in these events, what you see is a complete absence in many cases of fathers, and a complete presence of family breakdown.
"That, I think, is what's at the heart of it."
In his speech today, Mr Cameron pledged that a Conservative government would put family life ahead of economic prosperity in Britain.
"If it comes to a collision between our wealth as a nation and the wellbeing of families, I choose families," he said.
He said that it was up to employers to ease the "natural conflict" between hours worked, money earned, and the time working parents were able to spend at home with their families.
"The foundation of society is - or should be - the care of children by the man and the woman who brought them into the world," he said.

appalled- przerażony, zatrwożony
array- szereg
at point-blank range- z bliska
attach- dołączać
back sth up- wspierać, popierać
benefit- zasiłek
breakdown- rozpad, załamanie
bring up- wychowywać
community- społeczność
compel- zmuszać, nakazywać
compulsion- przymus
core- sedno
disenfranchised- pozbawiony praw obywatelskich
distance (from)- dystansować się od
in the wake of- w ślad za
indicate- wskazywać
industrialised- uprzemysłowiony
insist- nalegać, domagać się, obstawać przy
law-abiding- praworządny, przestrzegający prawa
maintenance- utrzymywanie; alimenty
make a commitment- podejmować się zobowiązania; commitment- obowiązek, zobowiązanie
nurture- opiekować się, karmić, żywić
pledge- zobowiązanie
quick fix- szybkie i łatwe rozwiązanie
solution- rozwiązanie
stance- stanowisko
stand by- wspierać
tackle- rozwiązywać (problem), zmagać się
wellbeing- powodzenie, pomyślność


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