"Tough on crime - tough on the causes of crime."
One of the most successful soundbites of Labour's reign. Fair enough, Labour may not have been any good at 'getting tough', but the idea, the principle, the sense of what the British people wanted, was there to see.
Every now and again, a poll will come out listing what the people's main concerns in society are. If you take away the seasonal swingers such as immigration and environment, which disappeared from sight in these polls as quickly as they appeared, you are always left with the core three topics that are the mainstay of society that the public will always care about. If you abandon any of these, or take a very wrong approach on any, then as a political party, you are toast.
The three that you can't screw around with are Health, Education and Crime.
The Lib Dems do not get it when it comes to crime. Do we want a softly, softly approach to criminals? Nope.
The Lib Dems want minor offences punished with non-custodial sentences. That would be fine, but when the stats say that most minor crime is committed by repeat offenders - often on their fifth and sixth warning, or one case where the kid had over 20 ASBOs - the ones who DO make a difference to everyone's everyday life, then these criminals aren't learning.
ASBOs are not the solution to these offenders. Community service isn't the answer to these offenders. Fines are certainly not the answer, because when you tell a thief he's got to pay you money, chances are he's going to go out and steal, rob, burgle, mug to make up for the money he's just paid out in Liberal Justice.
Chris Huhne, laying out his proposals today, will also say we should not be building more prisons.
Prisons aren't full purely because of Government targets or beauracracy. They are full because people keep committing CRIME. And as these prisons are full, people who should be locked up are being set free.
But that's the Lib Dem dream, we can let them loose, they'll see the error of their ways. No, Chris, they are repeatedly bad people doing bad things and will continue to do bad things until the good guys have somewhere to put them...p r i s o n.
The Lib Dems are like the girl we all know who meets a guy who everyone knows is no good, she knows he's no good. He's got a track record of cheating, even did it to her best mate, doesn't treat any of his girlfriends well, probably known to have smacked a few of them about, but the girl still goes ahead with it, thinking "It'll be different with me, I can change him". "Well, toots, everyone warned you, so don't come greetin' to me when he's banging your wee sister!"
No, you cannot eradicate crime and criminals with the love of society. Some people just need locking up and if that involves more prisons, I'll happily pay more taxes to do it.