Home Secretary's Wrong Impression

Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England), March 26, 2004 | Go to article overview

Home Secretary's Wrong Impression


Mr Blunkett visited this region last week. His mission as part of the Government's `big conversation' was to tell society how ministers are serious in stemming the rising tide of yob culture and health timebomb caused by binge drinking.

Of course, you'd think that before Mr Blunkett launched an education campaign on the Government's new alcohol reduction strategy that he'd realise 30% of communities have poor reading and writing skills. And if Mr Blunkett was sincere in engaging in meaningful conversation with people, then why didn't he tell the region that alcohol misuse has already featured in substance misuse reduction strategies for around the last decade, not least because misusers rarely drink alcohol in isolation? Surely having a conversation with people should be about ensuring all sides of the debate are informed on the subject matter, as opposed to the Government being selective in what it tells society. Take any parent, family member or carer who has concerns about a young person becoming a substance misuser. If they aren't informed of the detail of these strategies which define misuse hot spots as parks, shopping centres and schools, then they are hardly in a position to help address the problem. And many would find it incredible to learn that, despite a decade of many tragic substance misuse deaths, professionals employed within support systems feel their training and knowledge is inadequate in offering an effective service to young people.

And before Mr Blunkett began entering into this big conversation, perhaps he should have told this region about health research undertaken with young people who expressed cynicism and fixers. Now I wonder what on earth could have given our future generations that impression!

ALAN SAVAGE, Cramlington.

Join up if you respect truth

IMMEDIATELY after the September 11 attacks, Tony Blair said the bombers had no respect for the sanctity of human life.

Since then he has taken the country into a war of debatable legality, leading to the deaths of over 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians and thousands of Iraqi soldiers. It is clear Blair himself has no respect for this sanctity of human life.

He also has no respect for truth, justice or democracy. …

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