Tonight I did something that I regretted.
Yes, anyone who knows me personally would say that should be my daily diary entry, nay, my epitaph, but tonight it grates.
I come out of Sainsburys, and two lads are squaring my locked-up bike up. I’ve had a couple of beloved cycles nicked in the past, so I get a little pro-active. Barking at them ‘My bike! Get the effing eff off!’ is possibly not the best way to go about things. They slink off ‘we were only looking, its a nice bike’ and I felt a sudden surge of guilt. It is a nice bike, and I should of pointed out to them the wonderful gear-set, or the new braking system I had installed. I should have encouraged their interest, but a cumuli-nimbus of anger built and I thundered obscenities at them. Shame.
They weren’t devilish Droogs running wild in a dystopian Beestonia, they were kids, bored, slinking around, as yet unable to go into pubs, nightclubs or girls… so slinking. Trying to integrate..what better outside these cathedrals of adulthood, supermarkets?
Yet lets demonise them. Its a lot easier. Lets splash fear over the media and lock ourselves in the house so we are afraid to go out and comfort ourselves in ITV, the Daily Mail, and reactionary right-wing dogma. Make them seem to be an army of anarchistic nihilistic hate-filled hoodies and sit at home, seething, dreaming up ways to wipe out this generation of hate. Ban them from this, stick them in the army, lock them up, lock them up….
Before you bring back the birch, consider this. Crime is in free fall, the streets are safer than ever. Things do flare up- I know this after recent scrapes with knife and bottle-wielding juveniles (see Beestonia passim)- but after my brushes, even then I never felt like rounding up anyone in a hood and slinging them in the Trent.
So boo to Steve Carr and the Beestonia Lib Dems for using the recent little rash of previously reported silliness as a headline (Focus newsletter, a usually sensible rag) as an excuse for claiming that ‘your area is becoming blighted with anti-social behavior, drug dealers and victimisation’. Its not. It exists, but never more than ever, and nevermore to make you stay inside, panic and barricade your doors. Problems do occur, they do afflict, yet to make political capital out of them smacks of desperation.
It leads to people like me to tell kids to stop looking at his bike.
Steve, I admire you as a politician, but this is cheap, this is desperate, this is grabbing. As a Liberal you should be looking at why you perceive this.
To steal a line from the late, wonderful Bill Hicks, its between looking at the world through the eyes of fear or through the eyes of love. One is easy, one is truth.
Tabloids have an obvious vested interest in the eyes of fear, the eyes of hate. Hate is an easily aroused emotion, fear a reaction more easily trigged than any other.Use it tabloids. A headline saying ‘YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE’ is more eyecatching than one that says ‘NOTHING MUCH HAS CHANGED’. Pragmatically, they have a point,news about what mistakes were made regarding BabyP are always going to shift more papers than stories about how social intervention has saved children. Yet I say sod pragmatism, its still unhelpful, nasty and only going to result in problems that would previously never have occurred, and stymie the careful, intelligent work that goes on amongst people whose primary concern is other than that of the size of Jordan’s tits.
As we become older, and thus more likely to vote, we become more likely to believe this crap. We now own houses (I don’t, though still have a vested interest in the intactness of my rented windows), do less anti-social behaviour ourselves, and feel a gulf opening up between ourselves and new generations. I was recently sitting in the Crown with an-ex Skinhead (before the look was hijacked by the far-right) who expressed his feelings about the collapse of society, despite being a relic of the generation that were, with the punks, going to destroy society as we know it. As were the Ravers, the Crusties, the Hippies, the Rockers, the Mods, the Beatniks, the Teddyboys.. a patriarchal society will always fear the soon to be patriarchs. Im not going to get Freudian on you, as I’m sure I don’t need to point out the pattern and reasons here.
What is dangerous here is the blaming. Its all skewed. Who are truly the bad guys? Maybe an electoral system that isn’t really representative (fight on this point Steve, surely its where you truly have the political high round)?. The lack of facilities and lack of options for youth? (as a Staplefordian youth I remember my options were either a Christian youth club, playing games of knock-a-door-run,cat creeping or drinking Thunderbird Wine on the Rec on an evening, guess which came last in my choices)…
Or maybe the problem is perception. Maybe whichever way we look at this, theres always going to be a minority,and its a tiny minority, of youths who are going to cause some trouble, just as its a vast minority of young adults who are going to start fights in nightclubs while everyone else dances and snogs and regrets that last Sambuca, just at the occasional dinner party someone will act like a twat after one two many glasses of Chateu du Bourgeois and kick off.
It will to some sound glib. I dont have kids, but I have been one. You too. And Im not too old to remember that on a bored evening being chased by those more seemingly fortunate than you-those with tellys they could control and access to nicotine and alcohol-that was fun. We meant no harm. Punish those that do, Absolutely, but don’t on one hand tell our kids off for becoming more studious with improving GCSE results whilst on the other hand wishing them all dead cos your wing-mirror was bent back.
And whatever you do, if you hold power, don’t use it to score cheap points. I’m off to find a park bench to knock back a bottle of white cider.Laterz, err, lol.