Media Savvy: the news, and the skews, in the national media

The media’s treatment of the troubled families programme, whose evaluation has recently been made public, cannot have cheered David Cameron in his last week as an MP. History does not look likely to be kind to his great social policy. We should, however, be grateful to the former prime minister for his quixotic attempt to do the right thing on a massive scale. Because in doing so he exposed the fallacy which has dominated social policy since 1945: the idea that the government is infinitely capable of solving social problems.

Danny Kruger, Spectator, 29 October


Heroin ‘shooting gallery’ to open in Glasgow for addicts to get hit as kids play in CRECHE.
headline, 31 October.


Shocking moment two women ‘inject drugs while slumped in a doorway in broad daylight’ just yards from a PRIMARY SCHOOL

Mail headline, 25 October


The lessons of a failing national policy need to be learnt. The approach of harm reduction was born – under a Conservative government – in response to the threat of HIV. It saved countless lives. When focus shifted away from harm reduction, deaths began to rise. We welcome the incorporation of drug-related deaths as a measure in the outcomes framework. However, if death rates are an accepted measure of system performance, the current trend is surely evidence of system failure.

BMJ editorial, 17 October


The problem faced by people with addiction is not that they are unaware of the negative consequences of their condition, but that they can’t see a way out. If we want to end the opioid crisis, we need viral videos of recovery, not overdose.

Maia Szalavitz, Guardian, 7 October


Yesterday, the National Institute of Economic and Social Research issued a report concluding that the troubled families programme had failed… All that money (£1.4bn), time and effort – for what? Just so a handful of people could show off at dinner parties and perhaps enjoy a glowing editorial in The Guardian. Like the controversial charity Kids Company founded by Camila Batmanghelidjh (another bottomless money-pit my husband opposed), the troubled families programme was kept going at massive taxpayers’ expense to salve the consciences of politicians cowed by half-baked notions of political correctness.

Sarah Vine, Mail, 19 October