The Big Question

Karen Shook – Disability equality adviser
It would be helpful if the government led by example. Ministers can say what respect is all about but they can’t force people to show it. They need carrot and stick – we’ve got the stick in the form of Asbos but there’s little sign of the carrot, an incentive that makes young people feel they’ve got a stake in their communities.

Angie Lawrence – Single mother
I agree with Tony Blair. Bad parenting is a huge factor in antisocial behaviour.  Parents need help and guidance from an early stage – Sure Start goes some way to helping with this. Too much staff time is spent on controlling behaviour at school, which should be able to apply for measures to ensure parents take responsibility for their children’s behaviour.

Shaun Webster – Change self-advocacy group
There’s no respect from young people nowadays. Kids need to learn respect and I think the government has got the right answer. Kids who have got nothing to do get bored, and boredom turns to anger. There should be courses on respect at school and more police officers on the beat in our communities.

Len Smith – Gypsy activist
I suppose it is possible to lay out the basics of what respect entails, but I don’t think it can ever be taught by passing laws. It needs to come first via parents and evolve over time into the complex structure that covers all the nuances of respect in our lives.  Currently, there seems to be also a lack of its “handmaiden” – that of discipline, both self and imposed.

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