Jowell: Gangs are top entrepreneurs

Tessa Jowell, the Olympics minister and former Culture Secretary, has spoken out about entrepreneurs, winning her headlines in the media – but seemingly for the wrong reasons.

Speaking to meeting organised by Progress, the left of centre think-tank, Ms Jowell reportedly praised street gangs for their “formidable entrepreneurial and leadership skills.”

Although Progress has not published her speech, it linked to a report by The Daily Telegraph which claims Ms Jowell said the state must take “some risks” by engaging young criminals.

When youngsters join gangs, many do so because they want to feel safe in their neighbourhood, and it was time the government utilised their abilities, the minister said.

She added :“These people have very formidable entrepreneurial and leadership skills which they have put to bad use.”

Her comments were seized upon as evidence the government has lost its compassion and understanding for the victims of street gangs.

David Davis, shadow home secretary, reportedly said: “The victims of some of these evil villains will recoil with horror at these comments.

“It’s one thing to want to tackle the causes of crime, but it’s another thing entirely to praise some non-existent virtues of people who cause such grief and suffering to the communities they wreck.”

More guarded criticism came for the newspaper which reported the speech. Writing on the Telegraph Blog, Richard Tyler, the paper’s enterprise editor, said the comments were designed to challenge the growing fear of groups of young people.

He added; “But they are more an insight into what Labour ministers’ really think of risk-taking entrepreneurs.”


27th September 2007

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