The sudden spate of gang murders in South London has brought the family back into focus and fathers in particular. I was planning a post on families for the future, but I'd like to make a quick point on absentee fathers.
First of all, there is no point in Cameron, Blair or anybody else currently in politics moaning about it. You and your like created this situation through your stupid, liberal policies. You were warned again and again of the consequences and you thought you knew better. Now you've been proved wrong - stop whining and accept the responsibility.
Now here's a suggestion about what to do. You can't suddenly start forcing fathers to be fathers to a 14 year old they've never known. And, to be honest, if they couldn't be bothered to take an interest in the first 14 years of their son's life they probably aren't a good role model. What you need is a father substitute - and the best father substitute is the Army.
Set up cadet schools across the country - boarding schools - which will instill army discipline into young, fatherless boys AND provide them with a decent education. Send young offenders under 17 to these cadet schools with the proviso that, after completing their education, they will serve a minimum of 1 years National Service.
Offenders over the age of 17 and under 25 will go straight into National Service. Anyone caught carrying a gun will be offered a choice - 10 years in prison or 5 years National Service. Anyone caught dealing drugs will be offered a choice of 5 years in prison or 2 years National Service. Anyone convicted of three crimes before the age of 25 will be offered a choice of 2 years in prison or 1 year National Service.
Each county would be required to set up the required National Service regiments, but they would remain a part of The Army.
What these young men need most is the role model, discipline and "tough love" that fathers used to offer as a matter of course. The Army is the only thing that can provide any sort of substitute for that. It's not perfect, but it does it pretty well.