excellent pieceThe Spectatorspeech
I believe that social breakdown is the greatest challenge we face as a nation. Broken families. Broken neighborhoods. Lives blighted by addiction, generational unemployment, crime and disorder. The cycle of fatherlessness and welfare dependency and educational failure. According to Unicef we're the worst place in the developed world to bring up a child. We have the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in Europe. We have one of the worst crime rates and the highest prison population. We have record levels of drug abuse, debt and depression. All the grim statistics which show how far Britain has to go before we can call ourselves a truly civilised country. Those of us who have strong families and live in safe neighborhoods have a moral obligation to help those who don't. Because social breakdown isn't just about the poor. As a country we may be getting richer, but we all know this: something is wrong with our society. Tackling social breakdown is the big challenge of our times. And I want it to be the modern mission of my party. I believe that the best way to help people in areas of social breakdown is to give them the tools to help themselves. The money. The power. The responsibility. Social responsibility, not state control.
Alex Massie