Tomorrow's potential troublemakers can be identified even before they are born, Tony Blair has suggested.Word fail me. Who the bleedin' hell does this man think he is?
Mr Blair said it was possible to spot the families whose circumstances made it likely their children would grow up to be a 'menace to society'.
He said teenage mums and problem families could be forced to take help to head off difficulties.
He said the government had to intervene much earlier to prevent problems developing when children were older.
There could be sanctions for parents who refused to take advice, he said.
Granted, the last decade has seen an eyebrow raising lack of intellectual firepower from Anthony Blair, but I'm not entirely convinced that that is necessarily a failing in a primus inter pares premier.
It's true that Tony Blair - a proven lawyer - has demonstrated extraordinary contempt for, and ignorance of -the idea, principle and tradition of common law; perhaps these islands' greatest legacy to the world.
His key, defining flaw though is moral vanity. He seems to me genuinely to believe that things are true and right because he thinks that they are, and that he - and he alone - can put the world to rights.
Handily - haven written a blog for a while - I can quote myself with examples from history.
What a deadly danger eugenics was in the 1920s! H G Wells thought the weak should be killed by the strong, having 'no pity and less benevolence'. 'The diseased, deformed and insane, together with those swarms of blacks, and brown, and dirty-white, and yellow people will have to go'. He envisioned a time when all crime would be punished by death because 'People who cannot live happily and freely in the world without spoiling the lives of others are better out of it.'
Not a huge step from our present leader's musings that, but - let's be both honest and frank - Blair is simultaneously demonising and sneering at a caricature the type of difficult background that energised my orphaned father.
In so far as the labels mean anything any more, I am on the right rather than the left but I will oppose this sort of popularist authoritarianism to my last breath.
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