YOUNG people always listen to adults and never want things they are told they can’t have. Here Tory MP Miriam Cates explains how she would make them stick to a smartphone ban.
Ask them nicely
People say we Tories are the nasty party but we’re not, if you ignore everything we’ve done over the last 13 years. So we’ll start by simply asking teenagers nicely to log out of TikTok and turn in their smartphones. They’d quickly find other things to occupy themselves, which definitely wouldn’t be underage drinking and petty crime. They’ll probably join a church choir or play conkers.
Start making threats
If they won’t hand them over, it’s time to start making threats. Or sanctions, as we Tories like to call them when we’re callously stopping benefits for arbitrary reasons. Although given we’re trying to take the things that they love the most, I’m not sure we’ll have much left as leverage. Perhaps we could threaten to starve them. That sounds on-brand for us.
Get their parents to police them
If the kids aren’t willing, we’ll make the parents the bad guys and force them to confiscate the phones. There may be some resistance due to ‘child safety’, which we’ve not exactly helped by demonising trans kids and migrants, so parents may be reluctant to send them out on the street without a method of staying in touch. However a hefty fine for non-compliance will help. I’d suggest £1800, to be paid in £5 instalments from their pocket money. That’s realistic.
Put them in jail
If they still refuse, it’s time to start criminalising them. So what if there is a huge backlog in the justice system and prisons are so overcrowded that criminals are being released early? All we care about it looking good on the front page of the Telegraph and the Mail. Someone else can sort out that ‘crumbling justice system’ stuff later. Or not. Liberals needn’t worry if we threaten to build 20 new ‘Instagram prisons’ for teenagers. We never have any intention of completing anything we promise to do.
Do a U-turn
Yes, we all know this idea is completely impractical and unworkable and a U-turn will have to happen the second this gets any further than me having my grandstanding moment in the House of Commons. But that’s what the culture wars are all about: making a fuss, getting headlines and ultimately achieving f**k all. So actually this proposal has already been a huge success. But only for me.