Britons are frightened of their own young

#1
Wednesday, Mar. 26, 2008
Britain's Mean Streets
By CATHERINE MAYER

Jason Steen isn't an obvious target for muggers. The 40-year-old heads his own company advising on mergers and acquisitions, and usually strides through life like a Master of the Universe. This evening, though, he looks shaken. Two days earlier, he was accosted outside his central London home by eight kids — the youngest was 11 — who punched him to the ground, hustled him to the nearest cash machine and forced him to reveal his PIN number. After a series of attacks in the area, local residents have gathered in Steen's apartment to talk to the policeman handling the case. His advice: "Don't go out unless you have to."

Staying home in the face of danger isn't the British way. After suicide bombings in July 2005, Londoners continued working and socializing. Yet a survey by kids' charity TS Rebel found that last year more than a fifth of Britons avoided going out at night rather than risk encounters with a different form of terror: groups of children. Britons are frightened of their own young.

On any given Saturday night, in any town center across Britain, it's easy to see why. "It usually starts outside McDonald's — that's the hot spot," explains one London youth. "You might go with one mate, then you get a phone call. Give it an hour, there'll be 10 people there, with nothing to do. Intimidating people is something to do, a way of getting kicks. Like, 'Oh my God, did you see how they ran?' "

The boys and girls who casually pick fights, have sex and keep the emergency services fully occupied are often fueled by cheap booze. British youngsters drink their Continental European counterparts under the table: in 2003, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), 27% of British 15-year-olds had been drunk 20 times or more, compared to 12% of young Germans, 6% of Netherlands youth and only 3% of young French. British kids were also involved more frequently in fights (44% in the U.K. to 28% in Germany). They are more likely to try drugs or start smoking young. English girls are the most sexually active in Europe. More of them are having sex aged 15 or younger, and more than 15% fail to use contraception when they do — which means that Britain has high rates of both teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Small wonder, then, that a 2007 UNICEF study of child wellbeing in 21 industrialized countries placed Britain firmly at the bottom of the table.

None of those indicators are good, but it's the increase in nasty teenage crime that really has Britain spooked. Violent offenses by British under-18s rose 37% in the three years to 2006. Last September, 29-year-old Gavin Waterhouse died from an assault by two boys. It was recorded on a cell phone by a 15-year-old girl. In January, three teenagers from northwestern England were convicted of kicking to death 47-year-old Garry Newlove after he tried to stop them vandalizing his car. In the wake of their trial, the Sun newspaper declared "the most important issue now facing Britain" to be "the scourge of feral youngsters." That isn't just tabloid talk. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, at his first press conference of 2008, said: "Kids are out of control ... They're roaming the streets. They're out late at night. There's an issue about gangs in Britain and an issue about gun crime as well as knife crime."

It should go without saying that tens of thousands successfully navigate the dangerous waters of a British childhood. And that children from all shades of the social spectrum feel they are being demonized. ("People believe we're all yobs carrying knives," says Tilly Webb, 14, from Suffolk in eastern England.) And that the British have a long propensity to recoil in horror from their children — whether they be Teddy boys in the 1950s, mods and rockers in the '60s, skinheads in the '70s or just a bunch of boisterous teens making a lot of noise but little real mischief. And that the world's most competitive media market loves a good story, and that wayward children can always be relied on to produce one.

All that is true. But it is also true that for what Bob Reitemeier, chief executive of the Children's Society, calls a "significant minority" of British children, unhappiness — and the criminality, excessive drinking and drug-taking and promiscuity that is its expression — really have created a crisis. Says Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company, an organization working with some of London's poorest young: "If I was sitting in government, I'd be really worried — not about terrorist bombs but about this."

Alien Nation
All over the world, teenagers give their parents headaches. Why are the migraines induced by British kids felt across a whole society? Part of the reason may be that parents aren't always around to help socialize their children — or even just to show them affection. Compared to other cultures, British kids are less integrated into the adult world and spend more time with peers. Add to the mix a class structure that impedes social mobility and an education system that rewards the advantaged, and some children are bound to be left in the cold.

Meet Danny Mullins, 21, from London — now training to be a plumber and dreaming of starting a family. Mullins wasn't just born poor; he was born into a living hell. His mother, a heavy drug user, died aged 40, leaving her son emotionally scarred and destitute. "Many people I know need to go out and thieve just to survive," says Mullins, whose friend Chris Abnett is trying to find a way out of a vicious circle of prison and unemployment. Abnett says he has a qualification in painting and decorating but can't get work because of his criminal record. Both Mullins and Abnett are being helped by Kids Company.

Batmanghelidjh, who set up the charity in 1996 to support "lone children" growing up without a responsible parent or carer, says that she and her team encounter many British children who have been neglected or abused, leaving them too damaged to benefit from education or training. "The level they're at is just about survival," she says. "The public can't imagine having a daily life that's so empty and exhausting." In such circumstances, girls are often drawn into prostitution. Many have babies while still teenagers, partly to jump queues for social housing but mainly to find some affection. "What do you need to care about if no one loves you?" says Mullins. "If no one has love for you, you aren't going to feel love for other people when you get older."

Batmanghelidjh tends to agree. Love and understanding, she thinks, can transform problem kids into responsible members of society. It's not an idea that appeals to all Britons. Indeed, many British adults seem to view children as an entirely separate species.

Britons have never been very comfortable with the idea of childhood. ("Culturally, Britain just doesn't like children much," says Batmanghelidjh.) In Victorian England, rich children were banished to nurseries and boarding schools, while their poorer contemporaries were sent out to work. The British are still expected to function as adults from an early age. At 8, Scotland has the lowest age of criminal responsibility in Europe, followed by England and Wales, where youngsters answer for their crimes from the age of 10. Yet children venturing into the adult world often feel rebuffed. "I don't get the feeling that Britain is the most child-friendly culture," says Emily Benn, who was selected to contest a seat in Britain's House of Commons three weeks before her 18th birthday. "When you go to France they're nicer to you in restaurants, on the streets and on transport. When I go around Britain on the railways, I get treated like rubbish by guards and officials."

Rapid social change has not helped. Family and community life have been redrawn in most rich countries, and none more so than Britain, where marriage rates are down to a 146-year low. A study in 2000 by the OECD found that British parents spend less time with their children compared to other nationalities, leaving them more open to influence from their peers and a commercially driven, celebrity-obsessed media. Elder Britons too often see their youngsters as a problem. Dominique Jansen, a Dutch mother living in England, says she recently took her two toddlers to her local church. She was startled by sour looks when her younger child asked her for juice. "It was uncomfortable," she says. "We had to leave." "You can see very vivid differences between the U.K. and countries in Europe," says Reitemeier. "You go onto sink estates [poor housing projects] in this country and there isn't a single element designed for children."

Culture Clash
Cold-shouldered by grown-ups, young Britons have developed an especially potent culture of their own. "Young people live in a world with very little meaningful contact or engagement with adults," says Professor Richard Layard of the London School of Economics, who has made a study of the causes of happiness.

This youth culture echoes and magnifies aspects of the adult world around it. Binge-drinking, for example, is hardly the preserve of young Britons. A report by the organization Alcohol Concern noted that one in three British men and one in five women drink double the amount considered safe at least once a week. And, unlike many British sports, this pursuit is popular from the bottom of the social spectrum right to the top. Photographs of Princes William and Harry emerging flushed from nightclubs are tabloid staples.

Last month, the elder prince enjoyed a night at a club in Cornwall, southwestern England, which lures customers with shots of alcohol selling for $2 apiece. Soon after William left, a fellow patron was slashed with a broken bottle. In 2000, Euan Blair, the son of the Prime Minister, was arrested for being "drunk and incapable." "A lot of my friends, if they've worked really hard during the week, go out and get drunk on the weekend," says Claudine Biggs, an 18-year-old London schoolgirl. Biggs has written a play that premiered at a north London theater in February. Her teenage protagonists are dysfunctional and knowing, their cruelty as casual as their sexual relationships, their racy behavior only partially camouflaging palpable misery. There are no adults in the play to intervene or to comfort. For too many British kids, that's not drama; that's real life.

It isn't just the absence of adults from their lives that contributes to unhappiness among Britain's teenagers. So do pervasive but invisible social barriers of class and race. Income inequality is greater in Britain than the rest of western Europe, and the gap between its poorest and richest citizens has been growing since the 1980s. Social divisions have proved remarkably resilient, and British kids born into poverty — as many as one in three, according to the Children's Society — still start life at a serious disadvantage. Britons "continue to believe that poor people just need a kick up the backside to break out of poverty," says Reitemeier. And while skin color doesn't determine social class, darker-skinned Britons are likely to be less well off than their paler counterparts. Around 40% of people from ethnic minorities are poor — twice the rate for white Britons.

What's life like for poor kids in Britain? They will likely live in an area where unemployment is high and aspirations are low. There's probably nowhere to play, and home may not provide much of a refuge. Such conditions breed trouble, according to a recent report by the IPPR that identified the factors inclining a child to criminality. Children who try to stay on the right side of the law find it increasingly difficult to resist the growing influence of gangs.

Violent teenage gangs are not new to Britain: in 1953 a group of Teddy boys stabbed 17-year-old John Beckley to death near London's Clapham Common, and anyone who has suffered British football hooligans in the last 30 years — and that's a lot of people in a lot of places — know that "violent" and "British" are two words that belong with each other. But the new gangs appear to be uniquely deadly.

Twenty-seven teenagers were murdered in London last year by youths wielding guns or knives. All but a handful of the dead teenagers were black or Asian. More than half of all black Britons live in London, many in hardscrabble housing projects such as the Moorlands Estate in Brixton, south London, where Solomon Wilson, 23, and his friend Nathan Foster grew up. Wilson says he was "no saint" when younger, but he benefited from a happy home life. "I take my hat off to my mum," he says. As he saunters along Brixton's Coldharbour Lane, he's trailed by a posse of local girls and boys who just want to hang out.

But Wilson is missing one companion, Foster, whom he calls his "little brother." Last summer, Foster was shot dead in a street next to the Moorlands Estate, apparently attempting to mediate a dispute about a stolen piece of jewelry. Wilson thinks everyone in his area faces similar dangers. "You could be walking down the street and suddenly you're shot and nobody knows why you've died," he says. "It used to be just the top dogs that had guns. Now a 14-year-old might pull a gun on you."

Earlier gang cultures defined themselves by clothing, musical taste or — in the case of some skinhead groups — right-wing politics. Today's gangs aren't even that discriminating, determining fitness for membership by nothing more meaningful than postal codes. Hanad Ahmed and Tashan Edwards, both 14, live in east London. "I can't bring friends around my area because I'm putting them in danger, as well as myself," says Ahmed, who lives in a different district from his school. "If they don't live in the same postcode, there's a chance they'll get robbed."

Ahmed says he joined a local gang when he was 12 but left after he was pressured to carry a knife and sell drugs. The son of a childminder from Somalia and a retired academic from Kenya, he plans to become a doctor. Edwards is aiming for a legal career. Why have the two of them turned out so differently from friends who are embroiled in gang life? "Most of them come from poorer backgrounds," says Edwards, who then adds what may be the most important factor. "We're smart," he says, "and we've got our education."

History Lessons
At the Association of Teachers and Lecturers annual conference on March 18, members debated why so many pupils seemed "unhappy and anxious." A week later, the larger National Union of Teachers (NUT) expressed concern over a rise in students taking weapons and drugs to school. But schools can be part of the problem. Ofsted, the official body that inspects educational institutions, says that 10% of state high schools are "inadequate." A 2007 report by the OECD found that class sizes in British high schools are among the largest of 30 Western countries. NUT members have resolved to launch a campaign to push for smaller classes amid reports that teachers are struggling to teach as many as 55 pupils at one time. Average class sizes in the state sector are 26.2 compared to 10.7 in fee-paying schools. A report by the Sutton Trust, an educational charity, found that children from poorer homes who were given scholarships to fee-paying schools dramatically outperformed their peers at state schools. They also went on to out-earn them, with almost a fifth attaining salaries of over $140,000 a year, more than twice the proportion from state schools.

This institutionalized inequality doesn't only harm low achievers. The system emphasizes academic attainment over social development. British children start school earlier and sit more exams than other Europeans. Many of them complain of stress. "Britain is a very individualistic culture, in which a huge emphasis is placed on personal success and less on good fellowship," says Layard. "We've made a virtue of competition, which means other people are a threat, not a support." Emily Benn says the drive for good results can let down pupils who find the work too difficult: "When you're in a competitive environment and someone is obviously struggling, the teachers assume they're not trying. They should make them feel better about themselves. Instead they make them feel stupid."

"I want to be a maid or a babysitter," says an 8-year-old over a soggy school lunch in east London. Her school's neighborhood includes large Turkish, Asian and West Indian communities, where there is little tradition of higher education, especially for girls. Many parents speak English as a second language. Although the school's academic record has improved, most of its students have little chance of going on to university. The picture is similar in working-class white communities, where many children follow the family tradition of leaving school at 16 to take up an unskilled job. "You can often find whole towns in which the level of staying on at school at 16 is much lower than in other areas," says Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. "It's about the attitude of the whole community, and its sense of ambition and enterprise. We've had a culture that for decades told families in those sorts of areas that you leave school at 16 and you get a job. Changing those aspirations is central to what we need to do."

Building a Better Place
How does he mean to achieve that? An ambitious target of halving child poverty by 2010, set during Tony Blair's premiership in 1999, is unlikely to be reached. However, in December, Balls unveiled a 10-year plan "to make England the best place in the world for children and young people," including a commitment to investment in facilities such as playgrounds and youth clubs. Balls wants to ensure free childcare is available for 2-year-olds from the most disadvantaged families; he has also just announced a $53.5 million package of funding for Kids Company and four other charities helping youngsters. The plan is based on the principle that it is always better to prevent failure than to tackle a crisis later.

A chorus of voices from politics, the media and the heartbroken ranks of victims' families says the way to do this is to get tougher with children in trouble rather than coddle them. It is true that the criminal justice system does not inspire much confidence. Some cases never come to trial at all. Steen's assailants were not charged. "The police knew who the perpetrators were, but were powerless to act. The burden of proof is so great," he says.

Yet if Britain really is to become a better place for its children, it will have to acknowledge the roots of its crisis. That means focusing on helping kids more than on punishing them. A start might be listening to children themselves. Kids Company alumnus Dan-Dan Walker is proud to report that he hasn't been arrested for a year and a half. One of nine children born to parents with drug problems, his first arrest, at 7, was for stealing baby milk and disposable diapers for his siblings. Now 18, he learned about Kids Company seven years ago as he rode on a London bus. He was about to snatch a handbag, and his accomplice was already seated next to the target, hemming her in against the window. As Walker moved to grab the bag, a stranger tapped him on the shoulder. "You don't need to do that," he said, and gave him the address of a Kids Company drop-in center. "I fell off that cliff," says Walker, "but someone caught me." Would that all British children could say the same.
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1725547,00.html
 
#2
Mr_Deputy said:
So.. my point is this...why can't we have some of our squaddies out on the streets now and then. They only need to swan about and be present - not actually engage - leave that to the cops. Gives them more of a role, is good to see tax money spent on positive actrion, good for recruitment - being visible, good for soldiers as makes them feel like they are doing something positive (if a bit boring but that's stag for you!) quote]

Why Not mate, - becuase they are all doing real stuff elsewhere, Soldiers don't want to police UK FFS.
 
#3
Given how much the British traditionally hate their children and what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about) I think British children are remarkably functional. You can't s*** on people from a great height and then expect their offspring to be little goody two shoes.

Glad to see the article mentions Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company. She works with some of the hardest, most vulnerable children in Britain and is on record as describing them as "like suicide bombers." They're so f***ed up by violence, sexual abuse, the absence of love, and economic deprivation they're highly dangerous people to share public space with. They feel they have nothing to lose, are emotionally "dead" so are capable of doing vile things to anyone they cross paths with.

That's Thatcher's legacy (and those who voted for her) which the current government has gone a small way to reversing. It will be amusing to see whether the British decide to do it all over again should there be a major recession which the poor are, again, expected to pay for.
 
#4
annakey said:
Given how much the British traditionally hate their children and what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about) I think British children are remarkably functional. You can't s*** on people from a great height and then expect their offspring to be little goody two shoes.

That's Thatcher's legacy (and those who voted for her) which the current government has gone a small way to reversing. It will be amusing to see whether the British decide to do it all over again should there be a major recession which the poor are, again, expected to pay for.
"Given how much the British traditionally hate their children" - where did you pull that claptrap from? Back it up please.


"what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about)" - that would be people like myself who have worked since age 16, paid their taxes and served too then?


"which the current government has gone a small way to reversing" - how? that's why it appears matters are worse than 10 years after Tory rule and 17 years after Thatcher?


"It will be amusing to see whether the British decide to do it all over again should there be a major recession which the poor are, again, expected to pay for." - Seems we're all paying for 'it' now. Whatever 'it' is.

Thatcher did nick my school milk though. Bitch.
 
#5
Mr_Deputy said:
So.. my point is this...why can't we have some of our squaddies out on the streets now and then. They only need to swan about and be present - not actually engage - leave that to the cops.
So what exactly would be the point? Just to try and scare the locals?

ROE would be what exactly? How would your patrol react to being stoned? They would have to run away, not exactly scary.

Unless the patrols are given dentention/arrest authority and a "not many questions asked" approach to crowd control they would be pretty useless.
 
#6
annakey said:
Given how much the British traditionally hate their children and what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about) I think British children are remarkably functional. You can't s*** on people from a great height and then expect their offspring to be little goody two shoes.

Glad to see the article mentions Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company. She works with some of the hardest, most vulnerable children in Britain and is on record as describing them as "like suicide bombers." They're so f***ed up by violence, sexual abuse, the absence of love, and economic deprivation they're highly dangerous people to share public space with. They feel they have nothing to lose, are emotionally "dead" so are capable of doing vile things to anyone they cross paths with.

That's Thatcher's legacy (and those who voted for her) which the current government has gone a small way to reversing. It will be amusing to see whether the British decide to do it all over again should there be a major recession which the poor are, again, expected to pay for.
Yes, it would have to be her wouldn't it? :roll:

Blaming 'Thatch' for everything bad that has occurred in the subsequent 3 decades is as dull & lazy as Right wing politicians blaming the permissiveness of the 1960's for everything bad ever since.

I hold no candle for any party, but significant elements of the 'working class' (if that term means anything) did rather well out of Thatcherism, just as significant elements of the new 'upper class' have done particularly well out of New Labour.

Furthermore, I think the issues here run far deeper than the 'amusement' of party politics in any case.

Edited to add: agree with HH over school milk however. Even if it wasn't ever cold enough.
 
#7
Hairy_Hacker said:
annakey said:
Given how much the British traditionally hate their children and what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about) I think British children are remarkably functional. You can't s*** on people from a great height and then expect their offspring to be little goody two shoes.

That's Thatcher's legacy (and those who voted for her) which the current government has gone a small way to reversing. It will be amusing to see whether the British decide to do it all over again should there be a major recession which the poor are, again, expected to pay for.
"Given how much the British traditionally hate their children" - where did you pull that claptrap from? Back it up please.

Read the article. There are several references. Or, better still, visit a Latin country - France, Italy, Spain - sit in a pavement cafe of an evening and observe. You'll see family after family taking the night air, laughing and chatting, often three generations together, the kids well dressed, under control, not alienated from their family. Just normal people enjoying family life.

Keep that image in your mind.

Compare to Britain.

See?

It's bloody obvious the British have an historic problem with children. They hate the little buggers.

Hairy_Hacker said:
"what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about)" - that would be people like myself who have worked since age 16, paid their taxes and served too then?
If you voted Thatcher then you share the responsibility, yes. It's your fault. She destroyed the organised British white working class when she pulverized their trade unions, a symbol of pride and self-confidence and genuine political power going back to 1906 and beyond. Until the conclusion of the miner's strike in 1985 any Brit could join a trade union and enjoy real political power. They're now reduced to selling burgers, bossed about by some under-manager in monkey suit. That's what Thatcher did, and those who voted for her, the very people who now complain about dysfunctional British youth culture.

Of course it's dysfunctional. You can't destroy a class's political power and expect their offspring to behave normally.

Hairy_Hacker said:
"which the current government has gone a small way to reversing" - how? that's why it appears matters are worse than 10 years after Tory rule and 17 years after Thatcher?
Because the Thatcher effect is still working through the system. What she did was revolutionary. It will take several generations for the damage to be repaired. It people go out and vote for Cameron and his Etonian chums it will take even longer. Entirely up to you.
 
#8
Hairy_Hacker said:
annakey said:
Given how much the British traditionally hate their children and what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about) I think British children are remarkably functional. You can't s*** on people from a great height and then expect their offspring to be little goody two shoes.

That's Thatcher's legacy (and those who voted for her) which the current government has gone a small way to reversing. It will be amusing to see whether the British decide to do it all over again should there be a major recession which the poor are, again, expected to pay for.
"Given how much the British traditionally hate their children" - where did you pull that claptrap from? Back it up please.


"what Thatcher's politicians did to the white working class (in particular) in the 1980s (whose children and grandchildren the article is about)" - that would be people like myself who have worked since age 16, paid their taxes and served too then?


"which the current government has gone a small way to reversing" - how? that's why it appears matters are worse than 10 years after Tory rule and 17 years after Thatcher?


"It will be amusing to see whether the British decide to do it all over again should there be a major recession which the poor are, again, expected to pay for." - Seems we're all paying for 'it' now. Whatever 'it' is.

Thatcher did nick my school milk though. Bitch.
Agreed. What a poorly researched article, anyone can create a piece based on anecdotes and fear.

My fav bit of nonsense was the "30 Years" of football violence....did it start thirty years ago? Has our Football violence not decreased in comparison to the safe havens of Holland/Germany and Italy?
 
#9
annakey said:
. She destroyed the organised British white working class when she pulverized their trade unions, a symbol of pride and self-confidence and genuine political power going back to 1906 and beyond. Until the conclusion of the miner's strike in 1985 any Brit could join a trade union and enjoy real political power. They're now reduced to selling burgers, bossed about by some under-manager in monkey suit. That's what Thatcher did, and those who voted for her, the very people who now complain about dysfunctional British youth culture.
As opposed to working in a failing factory making rubbish things that no-one wanted to buy, being bossed about by up their-arrses shop stewards?

Nothing really changes for those at the bottom (except now, of course, you can also have the treat of having your wages undercut by overseas workers who will work for less and send the cash home).

I know many proper working people from the post war era who refused to touch their trade union with a barge pole. Thatcher didn't do for the unions - the unions did for the unions, when they ceased to truly represent their members, instead becoming a plaything of the politically motivated, thus losing the sympathy of the country as a whole, sick of being messed about by them. Thatcher wasn't just voted in by the cravat wearing classes.

Your comment about British v European attitudes to children is spot on, but ditch the misty-eyed Red Flag romanticism please?
 
#10
I notice no one is addressing the "advice" of the Police to stay home.

I thought personal alarms took care of this sort of thing? :D

It sounds like no one tried to defend themselves, so at least they went to their death being PC, eh?
 
#11
annakey said:
Camila Batmanghelidjh, the founder of Kids Company. She works with some of the hardest, most vulnerable children in Britain and is on record as describing them as "like suicide bombers."
Camila Batmanghelidjh couldn't find her fat, "blended heritage" arrse with both hands and a maglite. Real social issues cant be solved with her own personal blend or person centred, humanistic, psychotherapy bullsh¦t. Maybe if we pandered less to them, treated them less like poorly treated refugees of the modern world and more like the ill disciplined, lazy criminals they are, we wouldn't have this problem.
 
#12
xromad said:
I notice no one is addressing the "advice" of the Police to stay home.

I thought personal alarms took care of this sort of thing? :D

It sounds like no one tried to defend themselves, so at least they went to their death being PC, eh?
The police (and their NuLabour Home Office masters) have to shoulder their fair share of blame in this as well. The authoritarian creation of more and more laws regulating daily behaviour, combined with a target culture in the police and the removal of discretion means that the police are complicit in criminalising children for non-events (playing hop scotch etc) whilst avoiding tackling the real problems.

Arresting children for playground fights hardly helps foster a healthy society - although to be fair to the police, it is someone else who gets them involved in these cases, rather than being more, well, adult.
 
#13
Dilfor said:
I know many proper working people from the post war era who refused to touch their trade union with a barge pole. Thatcher didn't do for the unions - the unions did for the unions, when they ceased to truly represent their members, instead becoming a plaything of the politically motivated, thus losing the sympathy of the country as a whole, sick of being messed about by them. Thatcher wasn't just voted in by the cravat wearing classes.
A number of friends work for London underground, some as well paid drivers. They belong to what could reasonably be called a 1970s-style trade union, one of the few left in Britain. They're highly democratic - ballots coming out of their ears - have a general secretary, Bob Crow, who doesn't mince his words and won't take $hit from anyone, they're widely hated by the London media and London politicians, and will go on strike at the drop of a hat should their interests be threatened.

In other words, a bunch of people who haven't forgotten how to look after their mates, stick together, give some upstart little Hitler manager a bloody nose should they find his hand in their pocket. That's how the British white working class used to be. It's pathetic they took Thatcher's shilling, sold out their mates, bought their council houses, and now are at the mercy of the unregulated international labour market, and find their communities disintegrating around their ears.

Are you suggesting that London ASLEF and RMT members are "playthings of the politically motivated"? If so, why do tube workers keep voting in secret ballots, with high turnouts and majorities, to support the militant policies of their leaderships? Has Bob Crow hypnotized them?

:lol:

It’s always the same: if workers get themselves organised, demand a say in their industry, refuse to swallow a load of PR bilge from some w*nker in a snazzy suit, they’re being “manipulated” by “politically motivated people.”

Balls. They’re just doing what the British white working class always used to do before Thatcher turned them into burger-fodder. It’s one reason why many people get so angry about tube workers. They’re secretly jealous and humiliated that they’ve allowed themselves to be shat upon, and have betrayed what their fathers and grand-fathers worked so hard to achieve.
 
#14
annakey said:
Dilfor said:
I know many proper working people from the post war era who refused to touch their trade union with a barge pole. Thatcher didn't do for the unions - the unions did for the unions, when they ceased to truly represent their members, instead becoming a plaything of the politically motivated, thus losing the sympathy of the country as a whole, sick of being messed about by them. Thatcher wasn't just voted in by the cravat wearing classes.
A number of friends work for London underground, some as well paid drivers. They belong to what could reasonably be called a 1970s-style trade union, one of the few left in Britain. They're highly democratic - ballots coming out of their ears - have a general secretary, Bob Crow, who doesn't mince his words and won't take $hit from anyone, they're widely hated by the London media and London politicians, and will go on strike at the drop of a hat should their interests be threatened.

In other words, a bunch of people who haven't forgotten how to look after their mates, stick together, give some upstart little Hitler manager a bloody nose should they find his hand in their pocket. That's how the British white working class used to be. It's pathetic they took Thatcher's shilling, sold out their mates, bought their council houses, and now are at the mercy of the unregulated international labour market, and find their communities disintegrating around their ears.

Are you suggesting that London ASLEF and RMT members are "playthings of the politically motivated"? If so, why do tube workers keep voting in secret ballots, with high turnouts and majorities, to support the militant policies of their leaderships? Has Bob Crow hypnotized them?

:lol:

It’s always the same: if workers get themselves organised, demand a say in their industry, refuse to swallow a load of PR bilge from some w*nker in a snazzy suit, they’re being “manipulated” by “politically motivated people.”

Balls. They’re just doing what the British white working class always used to do before Thatcher turned them into burger-fodder. It’s one reason why many people get so angry about tube workers. They’re secretly jealous and humiliated that they’ve allowed themselves to be shat upon, and have betrayed what their fathers and grand-fathers worked so hard to achieve.
Whilst I don't think much of the bloke, Bob Crow is a little brighter than some of his predecessors in that he manages to combine his political views with an undoubted connection to his members. Unlike, perhaps, Andy Gilchrist. More lamb passander anyone?

The destruction of working class community spirit you refer to is certainly a reality, and I would agree that policies from the Thatcher era contributed significantly towards that (and was, perhaps the major factor in, say, mining towns). However, I would suggest (based upon conversations with older people) that this is actually a wider social change that started even earlier, and was possibly an unwelcome side-effect of greater social mobility.

Harking back to the 50's is as dull as blaming the 60's, but as I wasn't in either decade, I can avoid that trap. It has, however, been explained to me that possibly the greatest change since then is that people cared what their neighbours thought. About them, about their children, about everything. This peer pressure made everyone rub along much better, whatever their income group.

The growth in selfishness is allied to both the growth in self-expression/freedom from the 60's and the growth of self-interest in the 80's. Society has just changed. Organised labour was certainly one facet of greater social cohesion, but so was, for example, greater religious observance and church attendance, and Thatcher didn't explicitly target those.
 
#15
annakey said:
Balls. They’re just doing what the British white working class always used to do before Thatcher turned them into burger-fodder. It’s one reason why many people get so angry about tube workers. They’re secretly jealous and humiliated that they’ve allowed themselves to be shat upon, and have betrayed what their fathers and grand-fathers worked so hard to achieve.
Actually the reason people get so angry about 'tube workers', and similar, is that they are sick and tired of well-paid, feather-bedded employees causing havoc, amongst people who just want to get to work and get on with their lives, in order to further the rather selfish petty ends of their over-paid, bloated, rather pathetic little leaders such as Bob Crow.

The man has a small IQ but a high-level of animal cunning. This, combined with his natural vindictiveness, over-inflated ego, and instinctive hate of anybody who is more intelligent than he, leads to the perpetuation of a silly little class war that most people left behind them many years ago.

The current levels of yobbishness, boorish behaviour, and violence in Britain are nothing to do with any particular party, and certainly not the overdue dismantling of inefficient state industries by Thatcher. It's more due to the prevailing and false liberal consensus that nobody is responsible for their own actions; the fallacy that criminal/anti-social behaviour is an effect of poverty and deprivation (which in absolute terms simply does not exist in the UK); that everybody is equal and that if somebody is better dressed, more articulate, or richer than somebody else then that is unfair and must be righted; the extension of the benefits system which ensures that generations think that life is about watching TV, with their already generous benefits supplemented by a spot of dealing in stolen and counterfeit goods; the socialist notion that the world can be righted by state intervention; a policy of dumbing down education through the creeping cancer of state schools; and the iniquitous policy of redistribution of wealth to right the effects of having an uneducated workforce.

These are the causes, coupled with an inability of the State to take corrective action, and your British Leyland-inspired beliefs and views merely ensure that the cancer continues to thrive.
 
#16
Dilfor said:
annakey said:
Dilfor said:
I know many proper working people from the post war era who refused to touch their trade union with a barge pole. Thatcher didn't do for the unions - the unions did for the unions, when they ceased to truly represent their members, instead becoming a plaything of the politically motivated, thus losing the sympathy of the country as a whole, sick of being messed about by them. Thatcher wasn't just voted in by the cravat wearing classes.
A number of friends work for London underground, some as well paid drivers. They belong to what could reasonably be called a 1970s-style trade union, one of the few left in Britain. They're highly democratic - ballots coming out of their ears - have a general secretary, Bob Crow, who doesn't mince his words and won't take $hit from anyone, they're widely hated by the London media and London politicians, and will go on strike at the drop of a hat should their interests be threatened.

In other words, a bunch of people who haven't forgotten how to look after their mates, stick together, give some upstart little Hitler manager a bloody nose should they find his hand in their pocket. That's how the British white working class used to be. It's pathetic they took Thatcher's shilling, sold out their mates, bought their council houses, and now are at the mercy of the unregulated international labour market, and find their communities disintegrating around their ears.

Are you suggesting that London ASLEF and RMT members are "playthings of the politically motivated"? If so, why do tube workers keep voting in secret ballots, with high turnouts and majorities, to support the militant policies of their leaderships? Has Bob Crow hypnotized them?

:lol:

It’s always the same: if workers get themselves organised, demand a say in their industry, refuse to swallow a load of PR bilge from some w*nker in a snazzy suit, they’re being “manipulated” by “politically motivated people.”

Balls. They’re just doing what the British white working class always used to do before Thatcher turned them into burger-fodder. It’s one reason why many people get so angry about tube workers. They’re secretly jealous and humiliated that they’ve allowed themselves to be shat upon, and have betrayed what their fathers and grand-fathers worked so hard to achieve.
Whilst I don't think much of the bloke, Bob Crow is a little brighter than some of his predecessors in that he manages to combine his political views with an undoubted connection to his members. Unlike, perhaps, Andy Gilchrist. More lamb passander anyone?

The destruction of working class community spirit you refer to is certainly a reality, and I would agree that policies from the Thatcher era contributed significantly towards that (and was, perhaps the major factor in, say, mining towns). However, I would suggest (based upon conversations with older people) that this is actually a wider social change that started even earlier, and was possibly an unwelcome side-effect of greater social mobility.

Harking back to the 50's is as dull as blaming the 60's, but as I wasn't in either decade, I can avoid that trap. It has, however, been explained to me that possibly the greatest change since then is that people cared what their neighbours thought. About them, about their children, about everything. This peer pressure made everyone rub along much better, whatever their income group.

The growth in selfishness is allied to both the growth in self-expression/freedom from the 60's and the growth of self-interest in the 80's. Society has just changed. Organised labour was certainly one facet of greater social cohesion, but so was, for example, greater religious observance and church attendance, and Thatcher didn't explicitly target those.
I agree, of course, that the destruction of British white working class political power, as exercised formerly through their trade unions, is only one factor in a complex mix. But as every soldier knows, if you stick a gun in someone’s face you tend to get their attention. They stop waffling and may do as you say or, at least, be willing to negotiate.

That was the position, industrially and politically, of the British white working class from roughly 1940 to 1985. That's what Thatcher broke. Until then they could turn off a power station or stop the supply of steel which, just like a gun in the face, forced politicians take account of their interests. They had a proud voice in British national political and economic life.

All that's gone, unlike their economic equivalents in the rest of Western Europe, who still have strong trade unions and, therefore, a real say in the political life of their nations. It's a gross humiliation for British white working class people. No amount of Grecian pillar-adorned purchased council houses make up for the loss of that pride and power.

If anyone tells me that the political emasculation of the British white working class has not had a profound effect on communities across the UK I'll tell them they're talking rubbish. You can’t smash key social group's political power without that having a profound effect upon their culture.
 
#17
There is an argument that the all pervasive rights culture is in some degree to blame for the current situation in SOME instances. The you can't do that I know my rights group of kids, who are likely to cause the majority of people grief need knocking down a little and I don't mean we should be able to thrash them all to within an inch of their lives when they over step the mark but I do mean they should realise that there are consequences to being arrseholes.

Those kids that are likely to mug and or brutalise people are probably going to do it for all the reasons laid out in the article but it isn't those kids that the majority of society encounter "our" problem are those that are just obnoxious for kicks, or because they are bored, we have to have more child friendly regulators.

I will give you an example of waht I mean, some children from my neck of the woods petitioned the council to allow them to build a skate park under a set of railway arches in the town, unfortunately the arches are in a conservation area so no dice, these arches are a rubbish strewn eyesore at the moment and could not be made any worse by a group of kids skate boarding there, so why not bend the rules a little with a few proviso's eg. yes you can have your skate park but you keep it clean and you do not behave in a manner that will antagonise the local population or it goes, allow the kids to take responsibility for their own actions and suitably punish them if they are not able to live up to that responsibility.

Any responsible adult would do the same to their children in the home why would an approach like that not work on a larger group of children. And don't start with children should not be punished for the transgressions of others lark, a bit of peer pressure works wonders, and if one of the group is an arrse the rest will lean on him or her to conform to the right way to behave.

In short sort out the basically good if bored kids then the majority of people will be a lot happier, less bitching about the youth of today and subsequently, the youth of today may feel that they are getting the "respec" they believe is theirs as of right.

This will leave the charities mentioned to concentrate on the obviously damaged individuals that are their target demographic.
 
#18
annakey said:
That was the position, industrially and politically, of the British white working class from roughly 1940 to 1985. That's what Thatcher broke. Until then they could turn off a power station or stop the supply of steel which, just like a gun in the face, forced politicians take account of their interests. They had a proud voice in British national political and economic life.
And if they had used that power more judiciously, rather than irritating the rest of the population (of whatever class) with perpetual strikes so they voted Conservative, they would arguably still be proud today.

Anyway, enough about history - this is about the how the British relate to children, not industrial relations in the '70s.
 
#20
Mr_Deputy said:
[quote="Steven"
ROE would be what exactly? How would your patrol react to being stoned?

quote]

I'd have them eat some Rolos.


Steven save your boring cr8p for someone else. Yes there are negs with the idea but so are there with any other. I feel passionate about it. I live VERY much in the real world and want things to improve in the UK. Quickly. Some areas need real action. London in particular is becoming a joke and the cops can't cope in some places. Go and ask them!!


Go and live and run a business in London instead of sleeping and coming on-line and blathering like you know what's what.

We need to break-free of European law for a couple of years and get a grip in some places. Run away? No run at them if needs be! People laugh at our liberalism and this creates confidence amongst criminals.


the occaisional Army patrol on UK streets wont mean the need to engage in violence (and having them on the street will not result in instant riots in Nottingham or Croydon!! There are the odd area in the UK where this might happen but not everywhere! On the whole it would just make criminals feel less confident.) Just aid with managing lawless areas and medics could help with some injuries etc etc. As they would do if patrolling in any area overseas who gets the benefit of their presence when they have internal strife and we go in and sort it out.
We have internal strife of our own.[/quote]

Nice rant. Pointless and typical knee jerk rubbish but nice all the same.

So what do you want the soldiers to actually DO?

In your first post you say that they are not to engage the bad guys but just to patrol the streets. Now why exactly do you think this will make any difference? Oh for the first couple of days it might until the locals find out that they can't actually do anything except patching up the victims (fcuking good use of resources there) and then the patrols will just be targets.

I agree that something needs to be done but half arrsed martial law is not it.

When we go into some place to give aid to the civil powers (as it used to be called) the soldiers are actually given some powers to engage with lawbreakers, you just seem to want to have a lot more PCSOs wearing DPM instead of blue.
 

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