When it comes to young people and crime, the message delivered by Gordon Brown at Bournemouth this week was more of the same.
In over a decade in office New Labour has delivered an ever-increasing battery of laws and police powers to deal with the issue.
This week Brown continued in that vein by offering more intensive police patrolling, greater use of stop and search powers, further dispersal orders for young people, plus the use of handheld weapon detectors.
He claimed to want to “punish and prevent”, but the balance weighed heavily towards punishment.
Brown pledged to spend £670 million on youth services – but the department for children, schools and families then revealed this figure is based on existing funding for youth services.
The prime minister also stressed his commitment to ending child poverty. But he did not back that up with action, such as pledging to spend the £4 billion required to halve child poverty by the end of the decade.
New Labour offers no solutions to the lack of facilities for young people, school exclusions, child poverty, overcrowded housing and the destruction of communities that blight the lives of too many young people.
Returned to chaos
Britain has forced more Iraqi refugees to return to Iraq than any other European country, Amnesty International reported this week.
Gordon Brown says that we have “responsibilities” and “obligations” to the people of Iraq. But this only seems to apply when it suits him.
At least four million Iraqis have fled the country, with around two million living in Syria and Jordan. The situation for displaced Iraqis is deteriorating, as many are running out of savings and Syria and Jordan are moving to tighten their borders. Things are no better inside Iraq.
The fact that a further 2,000 people leave Iraq every day is testament to the failure of the war and occupation, and shows why we need to get the troops out.
An attempt to silence
Craig Murray, the former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, was sacked by the British government for his stand against the torture and rights abuses by the Uzbek regime.
Since then he has been a tireless campaigner against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, exposing the hypocrisy of Western governments that preach about human rights while running torture camps like Guantanamo Bay.
In the course of his campaigning, Craig has seen off several attempts to use lawyers to gag him. The latest attack has led to his website www.craigmurray.org.uk being taken down by the company that hosts it, Fasthosts Internet Ltd.
The move came after Craig made allegations about Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek businessman who has recently bought a part of Arsenal. Usmanov’s lawyers sent out letters to Fasthosts, forcing the company to take Craig’s site down.
Whatever the merits of Craig’s allegations against Usmanov, this move to crudely silence him represents nothing less than corporate censorship. Everyone in the anti-war movement should back Craig’s right to speak out.