Reviving Youth Work as Soft-Policing: Labour Party Policy?

Spare me the lecture on pragmatism, but my heart sinks. To resuscitate the youth service as primarily a ‘soft-policing’ agency with crime reduction ‘targets’ flies in the face of our history and philosophy, whatever its own contradictions.

The first of our Starting Points for REVIVING YOUTH WORK AND REIMAGINING A YOUTH SERVICE  published a few months ago declared:

Youth Work’s fundamental aspiration is profoundly educational, political and universal. It seeks to nurture the questioning, compassionate young citizen committed to the development of a socially just and democratic society. It is not a soft-policing instrument of social control.

Meanwhile,

Labour announces plans to make provision of youth services compulsory to tackle violent crime

Sadiq-Khan-black-suit-white-shirt-mens-street-style-1170x600
Ta to the idleman.co.uk

 

Announcing Labour’s plans for youth services, Mr Khan said: “As violent crime continues to rise across the country, it’s more vital than ever that we get tough on the causes of crime, as well as crime.

Of course, I protest too much the writing was on the wall at Prime Minister’s Questions back in early June.

Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton, Kemptown) (Lab/Co-op)

Q7. Last year, a quarter of young people thought about suicide, and one in nine attempted suicide. Young people are three times more likely to be lonely than older people. Knife crime is up, and gang crime is up. There are fewer opportunities for young people than ever before—68% of our youth services ​have been cut since 2010—with young people having nowhere to go, nothing to do and no one to speak to. Is it now time for a statutory youth service, and will the Prime Minister support my ten-minute rule Bill after Prime Minister’s questions? [905633]

At the time I commented:

I’m probably illustrating how out of touch I am, but I continue to disagree with the line taken by Lloyd in his question to Teresa May. Arguing for a Youth Service on the grounds that an alarming number of young people have felt suicidal or that knife and gang crime is rising does not offer, in my opinion, a convincing and sustainable basis for renewing universal, open access, informal education provision, which remains valuable in its own right, whilst being humble about its part in tackling social dilemmas rooted deeply in an alienating and exploitative society.

Out of touch indeed!

 

 

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