Tory leader David Cameron knows the reason for Britain's knife crime epidemic. It's rap music, specifically Tim Westwood's Saturday night hip hop show on Radio 1. In a speech to the British Society of Magazine Editors he said:
"I would say to Radio 1, do you realise that some of the stuff you play on Saturday nights encourages people to carry guns and knives?"
This isn't the first time Cameron has seen a social problem and found a strange place to put the blame. In January he explained how Britain's obesity epidemic was being exacerbated by WH Smith's decision to sell chocolate oranges rather than real ones.
Then, last month, he explained how a range of clothing sold by BHS was responsible for sexualising our children. BHS pointed out that they stopped selling the clothing three years ago but Cameron never lets the facts get in the way of a good speech.
Cameron's latest outburst raises a host of questions: Why is it always black music that gets blamed when these things come up? Is there really no white music which glorifies or incites violence? Why did Cameron blame music, rather than movies or video games?
And then there's the political agenda here. It's so much easier to point the finger at 'the media' or 'hip hop' or whatever when these things come up. If Cameron wasn't so keen to get into the Daily Mail's good books, he might think about the role of poverty, or how education, inclusion and numerous other things get trampled in an aggressively capitalist society.
Over at The Guardian's Comment is Free, rapper Lethal Bizzle criticised Cameron and found Guardian readers considerably less liberal than normal:
We always have other choices mate so don't hide behind "Cause I is black" or PC collywobbling crap
I think you'll find the concern isn't with the producers of the music but with some of the consumers, who tend to be less upstanding, are involved in gun/knife violence and don't have clear goals in life, beyond committing crime.
They get free education. They get free healthcare. In London, they get free public transport. They get a free roof over their heads and food on their plates courtesy of their families or the state. All that's asked of them is that they work hard so that they can better themselves and contribute to society so that it can give the same advantages to their children. Just who should be being grateful here and to whom?
So, that's a few straw men put firmly in their place by the Guardian-reading right. Then there's this, which makes me shudder:
What yo doin' dissin blue boy Davey C? Says he don't like the violence on the BBC Yo call yoself Lethal yo got that right Whose brother's blood yo got on you hands tonight?
See? I think I need a shower after that. Other readers resort to the Guardian's old standby - blame America:
spend an hour watching channel-u on sky where uk rappers wear american clothes, covered in american labels, apeing american accents.
It's not all bad though. After one reader posts some of Lethal Bizzle's lyrics to demonstrate how his good works in society are just a front for his seethingly violent music, another responds with an excerpt from a track by Hot Chip:
Hot Chip will break your legs, snap off your head Hot Chip will put you down under the ground
But it's no surprise that Cameron hasn't heard of them - he's an Oxford man, whereas Hot Chip's singer went to Cambridge. Still, they're nice, middle class white boys, so everything's fine.
Those black folks on the other hand, well, who knows what they're capable of. I saw that Ainsley Harriott on the telly the other day. He had a knife in his hand the whole time. It was chilling...