Broken Britain is a term which has been used in The Sun newspaper, and by the Conservative Party to describe a perceived widespread state of social decay in the United Kingdom. The Sun has run frequent stories under the "Broken Britain" theme since 2007. As the phrase is essentially a political one, the frequency of these stories has decreased since the Conservatives came to power in 2010.
The term has included coverage of several supposedly interlinked issues:
- Child neglect, particularly in the wake of the Baby P case and the kidnapping of Shannon Matthews
- Binge and underage drinking
- Violent, gang, knife and gun crime
- Teenage pregnancy
- The growth of Youth Unemployment in the UK.
David Cameron has referred to "Broken Britain" during his time as leader of the Conservative Party, and pledged to "fix" Broken Britain during the campaign for the 2010 general election. In September 2009, The Sun announced that it would back the Conservatives in the 2010 election, having supported the Labour Party in 1997, 2001 and 2005, stating that Labour had "failed on law and order". Iain Duncan Smith published two reports, "Breakdown Britain" and "Breakthrough Britain", dealing with similar themes, through the Centre for Social Justice.
By contrast, The Guardian ran a series of articles in 2010 questioning this theme, under the title "Is Britain Broken?". The Conservatives also came under criticism after publishing an inaccurate figure in a report on teenage pregnancy and crime rates.
After the 2011 England riots, David Cameron alluded to many of these themes while speaking on the UK's "moral collapse". Under the banner of "Broken Society", he listed: "irresponsibility, selfishness, behaving as if your choices have no consequences, children without fathers, schools without discipline, reward without effort, crime without punishment, rights without responsibilities".
In popular culture
A number of films released from 2006 onwards have been identified as dealing with the fears stirred up by the idea of Broken Britain. They include Ill Manors, Harry Brown, Eden Lake, The Disappeared, Summer Scars, Outlaw, The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael and Heartless. The 2000 AD story Cradlegrave also played with similar "hoodie horror" themes.
- Pascoe-Watson, George. "David Cameron – Tory leader – Plans to mend broken Britain – The Sun –News–Sun Justice". The Sun (London).
- Gentleman, Amelia (March 31, 2010). "Is Britain broken?". The Guardian (London).
- . London http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/columnists/john_gaunt/2053173/Jon-Gaunt-Why-neglected-kids-are-future-Mercers.html. Missing or empty
- Ashford, Ben. "Broken Britain – Binge drinking – Helen Newlove demands harsher booze laws – The Sun –News". The Sun (London).
- "YouGov poll on Broken Britain reveals 71 per cent of Sun readers fear their children could be victims of violence – The Sun –News". The Sun (London).
- Hagan, Lucy. "Playtime for baby-faced 13-year-old dad Alfie Patten – The Sun –News". The Sun (London).
- "The Sun Says: Labour’s lost it – The Sun –News". The Sun (London).
- "Tory error over teen pregnancies". BBC News. February 15, 2010.
- "England riots: Broken society is top priority - Cameron". BBC News. August 15, 2011.
- Graham, Jane (November 5, 2009). "Hoodies strike fear in British cinema". The Guardian (London). Retrieved August 21, 2011. "They show all the hallmarks of the stereotypical youth of "Broken Britain" – the tracksuits, guns and dead eyes"
- Molcher, Michael (September 30, 2011). "The ultimate hoodie horror - welcome to Cradlegrave". 2000ADonline. Retrieved October 2, 2011. "The Ravenglade Estate is ‘broken Britain’ as its worse."
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