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

SharePoint Engineer - Bishop's Stortford

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organ...

Planning Manager (Training, Learning and Development) - London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glob...

SEN Teaching Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a Teaching Assistant...

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Day In a Page

 

i Editor's Letter: Still all to play for at our live iDebate

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering