Helen Clark – Me Too!



Last year, National Leader John Key was accused of being a “me too” man, and National accused of being ‘Labour-lite’ in terms of policy comparison with the Labour Party.

There seems to have been a turn-around on this though with Helen’s speech this morning basically mirroring Key’s speech yesterday in regards to youth and education.

Both leaders appear to be targeting troubled youth, specifically the age groups between 14 and 16.

As regards youth violence, I don’t think we can be too surprised: I really think it’s only going to get worse; the reason? The anti-smacking law.

Sweden banned smacking in the 1980s and their rates of youth violence have shot up dramatically.

At least two studies in Sweden were initiated in the 1990s because of societal concerns about increasing youth violence. One rationale for one study was that “There is also much evidence that our [Swedish] society has a growing propensity for violence” (Statistics Sweden, 1996, p. 5). Another study’s rationale began, “Since the mid-1980s, the
Swedish public has been increasingly concerned about juvenile violence” including “football hooliganism, excessive celebrations on Midsummer eve, acts of violence with racist and xenophobic motives, squatters’ actions, street fights between politically opposed groups, violence at school, and recurrent juvenile tumults at the end of summer vacations, between gangs
of Swedish or immigrant background, and skinheads and groups of young female ‘kickers’ . . . In light of this, it seems difficult to deny that the Swedish society in recent years has been hit by a wave of juvenile violence” (von Hofer, 1995, p. 1). Juvenile violence clearly appeared to be increasing during the 1990s according to Swedish social scientists, warranting studies to understand it.

Hopefully we will have a referendum will bring this subject to the fore again.

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