The Sketch: A new initiative? But surely all is rosy anyway?

So, the Daily Mail was right all along. Society is not to blame. The Sixties are. Tony Blair and his guitar debauched us nearly 40 years ago; now he has returned to put it right again. It's all part of the familiar - indeed eternal - pattern; 90 per cent of legislation is introduced to clear up the mayhem caused by 90 per cent of previous legislation, and taxpayers get the blame.

In support of the Prime Minister, David Blunkett launched his plan yesterday to increase sensible hair cuts, proper trousers and tops that actually cover the midriff by 25 per cent over the next five years. The plan is called Confident Communities in a Secure Britain. You may have reservations about this. It doesn't rhyme, for one thing. What about ... "A Confident Community Repudiates Impunity"? Wouldn't that give the kids something to tap their feet to?

Mr Blunkett's plan had some tantalising insights. We were told that gun crime too often leads to fear. That could very well be true, when you think about it. He told us that respect needed to be restored. He didn't say exactly how, but it's obviously a big job for someone. He said that "parenting must be seen as an essential contributor to changing behaviour". Many of us have reached towards these ideas, but very few of us have managed to put them into words.

He also told us that he was having terrible problems with organised crime and binge drinking. Binge drinking among organised criminals is very dangerous because it disorganises them.

Mr B was able to announce a "prolific offenders programme". That's BBC 5 for you. And we also discovered the existence of "police reassurance wards": these reassure policemen when they are feeling fragile (but, we also learnt that the wards closed at 10pm, just when self-esteem is lowest among the sober). A nationwide non-emergency call number is going to be introduced for those who can't ring up directory inquiries for their own police station. And a "policing improvement agency" is going to be making sure that "relevant bodies are rationalised". Irrelevant bodies will be irrationalised and the national intelligence model will contractually be prevented from doing nude work for men's magazines.

Finally, Mr Blunkett insisted that "comprehensive and active engagement with faith communities" is essential. Perhaps it will be made compulsory, and those who refuse to have their engagement logged on their biometric cards will have their assets recovered and distributed among strong communities to incentivise their secure sustainability.

One question: If crime is falling so dramatically, as the Home Secretary insists it is, why all these initiatives? Isn't it time for just a little complacency?

Simoncarr75@hotmail.com

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