MPG Milestones – Hug a Hoodie!
- The multi-disciplinary group that has become MPG was initially formed in 2006, when at a conference organised by MPG founder Melanie Gill with the Centre for Social Justice, David Cameron suggested that even youngsters who hid behind hoodies needed a hug. The point was ceased upon by some the press to suggest he was going soft on crime, but the reality was that Mr Cameron was trying – and in many quarters succeeded, despite negativity elsewhere - to communicate a central truth of Attachment Science, that poor parenting leads to children who go on to become anti-social, desperately alone and afraid.
- The messages that emerged from this conference became a foundation plinth of many subsequent CSJ policy papers, as well as government policies, including the reform of adoption and mental health services.
- Tim Loughton, MPG’s chairman, held the children and families portfolio for the Conservative party for more than a decade – both in opposition and in government – and throughout that period worked tirelessly with the agencies he dealt both inside and outside government with in the adoption of Attachment Science as the underlying core of policy and practice. A summary of his approach is in a speech he delivered here.
- After the ‘hug a hoodie’ conference, the group was initially founded by Melanie Gill, Dr Margot Sutherland and Felicity de Zulueta to campaign for better understanding of Attachment Science, and to lobby government to incorporate policies. Since there has been gradual consolidation and expansion, culminating in the appointment in 2013 of Tim Loughton as chairman and the formal incorporation of the enterprise as a sustainable charity.
- A notable success of MPG was a major overhaul of the rules surrounding children’s appearances on the media. This followed a Channel 4 programme called ‘Boy and Girls Alone’, which pitched under 12s to fend for each other without parental presence or control. The MPG principals co-ordinated a press campaign to oppose the continued broadcast of the programme on the grounds that it was abusive to children in failing to understand that Attachment Science shows that developing children cannot make reasoned judgments. The campaign culminated in the cancellation of the programme, and there followed the appointment of a government commission (by Tim Loughton’s department) to review child performance rules so that no such programme would ever be commissioned again.
- MPG principals have contributed to a wide variety of policy papers and initiatives relating to children’s and families. They also make regular appearances in the media in matters relating to psychology, and the application of Attachment Science.