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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 15:41 GMT
Warning of 'Jeremy Kyle' future
Jeremy Kyle
Mr Kyle's show has been described as a "form of bear-baiting'
A lack of father figures is creating a "Jeremy Kyle generation" of men with little chance of work and a high rate of criminality, the Tories have warned.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Chris Grayling also criticised the "monstrously inappropriate" example set by footballers and other celebrities.

Ministers had been "morally negligent" in their attitude towards helping young men, he added.

But the government said it was "committed" to providing opportunities.

ITV1's Jeremy Kyle Show - a daytime discussion programme in which members of the public often confront one another - was described as "a form of bear-baiting" and "trash" last year by a judge sentencing a guest who headbutted a love rival on camera.

'Ill-equipped'

Recent episodes have included: My Dad Made Me Believe He Was My Boyfriend; Are We Brother And Sister? Today, We Need The Truth; and If I Prove I Haven't Cheated, Will You Let Me See My Children?

In a speech to the Demos think-tank, Mr Grayling said: "In too many places, in too many communities, we have a Jeremy Kyle generation of young men reaching adult life ill-equipped for it.

The path into stable employment is much less clear than it was for past generations
Chris Grayling
Conservatives

"Lacking the right social skills. Lacking a sense of purpose and responsibility. Lacking self-confidence. Lacking the ability to seize on an opportunity and make the most of it.

"And as a result turning against the society in which they live."

Mr Grayling said: "Family break-up often means that there is no father figure in childhood. Teaching recruitment patterns often mean there are few male role models at school.

"For those whose skills are not academic, the path into stable employment is much less clear than it was for past generations.

"And so while the craft jobs of today are occupied en masse by young men from eastern Europe, our own young men all too often hang around on the fringes, uncertain about where and how to build their lives."

'Lessons'

There was a danger of this continuing from generation to generation, Mr Grayling said.

He added: "Our young boys are too often drawing lessons about life from footballers and celebrities who behave in monstrously inappropriate ways.

"There are, of course, footballers who do great work in the community and set a worthy example on and off the pitch.

"But it is also true that many footballers who are earning more in a week than many families will see in a year get themselves arrested, pick fights, take drugs and set a rotten example. Their selfish antics are then replicated by young people."

Accusing Prime Minister Gordon Brown of undermining the role of young men in society, he said: "The New Deal and the welfare programme have been inadequate, the criminal justice system too soft.

"It is morally negligent to abandon so many young men, so, I want this speech to spark a debate about how to end the inequality of hope.

"We need to provide leadership in government to create a climate for the social entrepreneurs to flourish and re-engage young men.

"Second, we need to promote positive, socially responsible male role models and third, we need practical measures to combat family breakdown, worklessness and poor educational opportunity."

But Welfare Reform Minister Stephen Timms said youth unemployment was down by almost 37% since 1997 and that the New Deal had helped more than 1.8 million people into work.

He added that the government was aiming to "build on this" and was "committed to providing all young people with the work or educational opportunities they deserve".

SEE ALSO
Judge blasts Kyle show as 'trash'
25 Sep 07 |  Entertainment
Sponsors cancel Jeremy Kyle deal
29 Sep 07 |  Entertainment

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