The European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drugs Addiction is telling us that Britain is the cocaine capital of Europe. Adults in England and Wales have tripled their use over the past decade. But more worryingly use among 15-24 year olds has quadrupled over the past four years!
Last week we were told that drinking amongst 11-15 year olds has doubled in a decade and that 1/3 of 15-18 year olds regularly set out to ‘get wasted’. The incidence of cirrhosis of the liver, something commonly seen in the older generation (usually men) is now being seen in youngsters and often it’s the females. Young girls are now regularly drinking amounts that would put their fathers under the table.
Is this our business? Hmmmmmm well we can say no it’s not. That you can only be expected to take care of your own children. Keep your own house in order. “What should we do – we can’t legislate for this sort of thing”. I am not a legal expert but I agree and would suspect that we can’t legislate our way into a better way. I would think that there are enough laws – which quite obviously aren’t worth the parchment they’re scrawled on – that aren’t working so maybe it’s time to change tactics.
Why are we using more cocaine than other countries? Why are our youth drinking more than others and more than before? We can no longer ignore these issues because as trite as it sounds – our youth are our future. And don’t be foolhardy enough to think “not our kids they know better/ have more self-control / are too smart to get caught up in any kind of downward spiral” tut-tut, read the discipline logs at some of the best schools in the country and you’ll see where the holes are in your theories.
So as a party what do we do? Luckily there are those who seem to understand the issues facing our youth and are trying to do something about it. If you haven’t yet done so then take a look at the work of Wilfred Emmanuel-Jones down in Devon. Or wade through the thoughts (and ignore the ones that are difficult to swallow) of Camila Batmanghelidjh of KidsCo, who rumour has it is now consulting with Tory Powers That Be on issues involving youth. Even Miss Mindbender herself is willing/planning to come out of the shadows to work on this cause.
Standing up in Parliament banging our collective breasts is all well and good but for the good of the party and the good of the country we also need to start addressing some of these issues in a more-than-cursory fashion. If we don’t we will end up a nation without the collective nous to run ourselves and trust me the addle-brained will want a nanny-state to take care of them. If you want a solid Conservative future we’ve got to start sorting out our young voters-to-be sooner or there will be no later.