James Forsyth

Repairing the broken society

Repairing the broken society
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One line from the Sunday papers is still haunting me today. In the Mail on Sunday, Phillip Blond wrote that, “one million children have alcohol-addicted parents”. Think about that for a minute. What hope can these children have growing up in these kind of households? How can we as a society ensure that these children have a decent chance in life despite such a challenging start?

There are no easy answers to these questions. Considering the state’s appalling record with children in care, taking these children away from their parents is not the answer. But then what is? It seems that the only answer is to deal with the problem at source, to ensure that there are fewer alcoholic adults and that people take the responsibility of being a parent more seriously. But that is only going to come from a bottom up, societal reformation rather than any quick-fix, top-down government solution.  

The damage done by the broken society, the break down of responsibility and the perverse incentives of the benefits system will take time to repair. We will have to be patient with policies that seek to deal with these issues from the bottom up. They might take time but they are the only way that offers a sustainable solution to these problems.