Leading article: Mr Cameron looks beneath the hood

Share

Another Sunday and another eye-catching advance notice from Camp Cameron. Yesterday we were offered some thoughts from a speech the Conservative Party leader gives today on social justice. He will reportedly speak about hood-wearing, and say that this should be seen not as a problem in itself, but a response to a problem; that the hoodie is "more often defensive than offensive".

Mr Cameron is not the first public figure to argue against the popular animosity towards hoodies. The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamo, wore a hooded top earlier this year when he addressed a conference on youth work. His point was that people should be judged not by what they choose to wear, but by who they are underneath. And he was right, as is Mr Cameron. It is wrong to judge young people, or anyone, by their garb. Drainpipe trousers, reversed baseball caps and now hoodies have all been seen as threatening in their time.

If, as it seems, Mr Cameron intends to delve a little deeper into the social arguments to call for greater understanding of why some young people behave as they do, he is right to do this, too. Rather than condemning the hoodie, as a wealthy Conservative might be expected to do, Mr Cameron intends to take issue with "adult society's response" which, he says, shows "how far we are from finding the long-term answers to put things right".

There is more than an echo here of New Labour's election pledge to tackle "crime and the causes of crime". More than a hint, too, that when the time is right, Mr Cameron's New Conservatives intend to take on New Labour on its home turf of social issues. This is potentially fertile political terrain. The current panic about young offenders and antisocial behaviour, as evinced in the proliferation of Asbos, betrays the Government's sense of vulnerability on these issues. Mr Blair promised much when he came to office; the public perception is only of how far he has fallen short.

In Opposition, Mr Cameron has the luxury of time and space to probe cause and effect in a way that the Government of the day cannot. And it is to his credit that he is prepared to look beyond the obvious. The bigger question is how he will respond if the answers challenge what are regarded as conventional Conservative precepts - if, for instance, his researches find that much more public money needs to be spent on tackling youth issues, or that expensive alternative solutions are more effective than custody.

Until Mr Cameron has specific policies in place, it will be hard to discern whether he is a really new-thinking Tory, or just a rather traditional Tory donning a hood while he tweaks New Labour's beard.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The PM proposed 'commonsense restrictions' on migrant benefits  

So who, really, is David Cameron, our re-elected ‘one nation’ Prime Minister?

Andrew Grice
Time travel: Thomas Cook has been trading since 1841  

A horror show from Thomas Cook that tells you all you need to know about ethical consumerism

Janet Street-Porter
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?