An so Archbishop Blair begins another sermon on the subject of ‘Respect’. This time he proposes that what is really needed are some more committees and some more ‘tough’ measures. Well, yay.
Unfortunately, what seems to be lacking at the very highest levels in our political system is very simple: any clue whatsoever. Instead of tub-thumping, populist gimmickry, perhaps Mr Blair should try to concentrate the collective mind of his government in wondering why much of this ‘respect’ has broken down. This is not likely to happen without people at the top levels of government having some understanding of the real social fabric of this country. But that’s never going to happen when so-called sink estates are prettified for Prime Ministerial visits, which are so tightly choreographed that he never sees what the place is really like. Without an appreciation of the real social problems we face, as opposed to the hermetic atmosphere that surrounds in Westminster, then all of these pronouncements and initiatives are doomed to failure.