The Sketch: Gordon proves he's tough with a macho karate chop

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The Independent Online

Tough! Tough! Tough! That's the message on knife crime. Gordon revealed his three-pronged strategy. I wrote down PEP to help me remember what each prong was.

First prong: Prevention! The hand chopped decisively to indicate toughness. In future, it is going to be "totally unacceptable" to carry a knife. And if prevention doesn't work, then there's E for – I'm jiggered if I can remember. Empowerment? Execution? He did say "our policy is the execution of the, the, of the" and we all wondered if he was trying not to say, "the guilty". But we would have remembered that, surely?

I'm not doing my full bit in the fight against knife crime. To recap: Prevention and then something beginning with E, and now I've forgotten what the other P stands for. It was tough, that I do remember because he kept on saying it. Prison? Not really. Polygamy? Unlikely. Prong III?

Maybe it was a silent P and was Ptough? He summed up with his first P (chop!), E (chop!), P (chop!) and then brought both hands together, smoothing them outwards in a unifying gesture. He's been working hard on presentation (maybe that's the third prong?).

But surely this is a subject that should be taken more seriously? You'd think so. But why in that case is he suggesting we do the thing that has not just failed overseas, but made things worse when it's been tried? Taking knife criminals into wards to show them stab victims seems to make the victims feel worse and the criminals better. ("Much pain? Good, that's great.") He said it was part of our responsibility in the media to "get the message out" that it was "totally unacceptable" to carry a knife. And in the way that bullying used to be tolerated and no longer is, so knife-carrying would become a thing of the past. Like bullying. That at least is clear.

He told us that 5 per cent of families cause 50 per cent of the problem. So, 110,000 families will be subject to an integrated parenting contract strategy. Clause 3a, s4-11 will be headed, I assume, "Knife-carrying, unacceptability thereof, undertakings in relation to, rewards for commitment in regards to not stabbing and/or cutting people."

It's quite ambitious to persuade the hardest of the hardcore that it's "unacceptable" to stab people. They haven't passed their Anti-Bullying module. They've got one NVQ in Enjoying the Day and their only exercise is running away from police dogs. Are they really, as suggested, less safe if they carry a knife than if they don't?

Still, Gordon's tough. That's the main point. It's tough at the top, so seven more years of Gordon!