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'Chuka’s good idea panned'

STREET SMART: MP Chuka Umunna

STREATHAM MP Chuka Umunna, Labour’s rather cute shadow business secretary, hit the headlines when he argued in Parliament that young gang members show a degree of entrepreneurial zeal, and as such should be helped to start their own companies. 

He reasoned that if the level of planning, strategy and pure entrepreneurship that the street smart criminal employs in his life of crime were deployed in legitimate business, then it would stop the young and foolish from engaging in criminal activity.   

Sounds like a no-brainer to me and indeed it is even an idea I’ve mooted in this column for some time. 

Unfortunately, it seems as though there were no takers as Mr. Umunna’s idea was much derided in the right wing press and by those who make it their business to scoff, mock and dismiss anything that seems at first read to be soft on crime. 

Or any out of the box thinking that does not include spending money on a youth recording studio, snooker table or sports programme.

How can an idea of finding ways to create a mind shift in the young, and mainly, let’s be honest, black youths be a bad thing?

As Chuka put it “Many of these young people are using skills that if channelled in the right way, would provide them with an alternative route to success.”

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