On choosing to talk about "broken society" yesterday, David Cameron echoed Tony Blair's landmark speech in 1993, a week after the abduction and murder of two-year-old James Bulger by two 10-year-olds in Bootle, Merseyside.
Mr Blair, who was shadow Home Secretary, touched the nation's mood and shot to prominence by warning that Britain was in a "moral vacuum", saying: "We hear of crimes so horrific they provoke anger and disbelief in equal proportions... These are the ugly manifestations of a society that is becoming unworthy of that name."
Yesterday, ministers immediately accused Mr Cameron of exploiting the shocking case of the two young brothers locked up for a horrific attack on two schoolboys, by timetabling his speech to coincide with their sentencing.
Anticipating the criticism he would face, the Tory leader said: "When we think about these terrible crimes... I don't think it's right every time... to say it is just some isolated incident of evil that we should look away from and forget about. Are we going to do that every time there is a Jamie Bulger or a Baby Peter or a Ben Kinsella or a Gary Newlove or what has happened in Doncaster today? We should ask what has gone wrong with our society and what we're going to do about it."
He said the case exposed a breakdown in morals that had left Britain in "social recession" and in danger of becoming an "irresponsible society".Reuse content