Brixton Welcomes a Tory Who Understands the Importance of Neighbourliness
Howe, Darcus, New Statesman (1996)
Oliver Letwin, the shadow home secretary, visited Brixton last month. He was obviously making a break with his predecessors in the shadow cabinet, Ann Widdecombe and William Hague, who had stormed Brixton police station just before the last election, television crew in tow. Law and order was the name of the game then -- and black youth in Brixton had to be stamped upon.
The then local police commander was furious. He'd trained his men out of the culture of aggression into a strict application of stop-and-search: no more of the random "stop any black youth" policy, but an intelligence-led targeting of the recalcitrant.
But Letwin came in peace. Lambeth is not as Labour-bound as many might think; the party has been eclipsed from an absolute domination of the local council for years now. So there is political mileage to be gained by the opposition. We need a foil against David Blunkett's absolute disregard for immigrants past and present.
Letwin struck a chord when he said of commentators and Tory and Labour politicians that "they think that the problems of inner cities are so vast as to be insoluble", and added that "they see the establishment of a neighbourly society in our inner cities as desirable but naive". …