19 Aug 2007


In so many many ways the actions and attitutes of those who matter are so badly wrong when it ocmes to dealing with crime.
First of all the government, again staggeringly complacent and out of touch, cannot bring itself to admit the scale of the problem of rising violent crime. Government lackeys just shrug their shoulders when another young person is stabbed or shot on our streets. Thats just the way it is, they sniff in patronising tones, before launching into a meaningless and breathtakingly insulting tirade of statistics in a vain attempt to instill the belief that all this shooting, stabbing and anti-social behaviour is really just in our imagination. Well it isn't. Next time you go to the shops or use public transport, you'll see how far removed and totally detached from reality most of these politicians are in their ivory towers insulated from the more unpleasant aspects of real life.
On a personal level, many of the people in this country are now lacking in moral courage. Some are justifiably too frightened to intervene. Others are just plain cowardly. Our walk-on-by, look-away, look after ourselves first society doesnt help. All of us tolerate bad attitudes, rudeness and lack of respect for older people.
Parents of misbehaving youths are also deeply culpable becasue they have probably imbued their young tearaways with their own feral, feckless lifestyles. Society is structured in the wrong way because it encourages young unemployed single mothers to have children without consequences. Children who grow up without fathers are generally morel ikely to get into trouble, They dont know any limits but they certainly know their rights and the police are largely inept or powerless to enforce any authority. We indulge misbehaving young people too much, and all too willingly make excuses for bad behaviour which don't involve taking resonsibility for actions which inevitably have consequences. And the compensation culture is partly to blame.
The police have become next to useless. Surely their very first purpose in any civilsied society is to protect the public, something they often fail to do. With some wonderful exceptions, they (or rather their leaders) seem more concerned with protecting themselves before they protect the public! Sure they've got lots of paerwork to do, procedures to follow, health and safety regulations to comply with. But it is the hands-off laissez faire attitude to criminals which is most damaging.
Allocation of policing resources need to seriously and critically reviewed. I get the feeling there is too much emphasis on too much triviality - paperwork, procedures, regulations to be ocmplied with, training methods to be followed to the letter of the law rather than the spirit of it.
And one consequence of the police failing to properly enforce the law is that more and people will take it into their own hands to enforce it for themselves. And who can blame them? There's no point ringing the the police - I know from experience - they just give you a crime number and mutter platitudes that unless you have ready-made evidence of a suspect they won't do anything.
Schools have lost the abiltiy to instill discipline and respect largely because teachers live in fear of lawyers and aggressive parents, and also because head teachers cannot be trusted by central government to run their schools autonomously. And why is truancy so high also? A disruptive or expelled child usually knows its rights will prevail over that of the school to enforce the authority of teachers. This is very dangerous.
The courts. Why are courts so slow, wastefulyl expensive and inefficient at administering justice? I've never particualry understood either how so many lawyers can be so morally bankcrupt in defending people they know to be adanger to the public. More judges should be more in touch with the consequences of everyday crime on members of the public. And of course it owuld help enormously if the government could actually manage to properly lock up convicted criminal and build enough prison places, especially after it has spent year upon year announcing 'tough' new crackdown legislation which is tremndously effective at securing front page headlines in The Sun, but less effective in actually protecting the public.
We treat our criminals better than our soldiers and we should all be deeply ashamed about that. I know from a source who works inside prisons what soft, comfortable places they have become. Many potential criminals don't live in fear of going there or staying there. Prisons also fail miserably to rehabilitate (perhaps for the same reason). The government wanted to send more people to prison but it failed to build any more prison space, so prisons are now overcrowded and rife with drugs. Its is staggering incompetence.
When it comes the crime, the critical theme which should always be the first thought in everybody's mind is the protection of the public. So called infringements of criminals' human rights comes right at the bottom of the list. Essentially, we need to bring back the element of meaningful proportionate punishment and deterrent for committing crime so those who do still commit crime will be more aware that their actions will certianly have consequences.
Finally, the way that we all indulge or tolerate low level anti-social behaviour inevitably has in it the seeds that one day lead to more serious and more violent crimes.

Environmental Protestors

A naive group of wet behind the ears adolescents are going to save the world by holding a few protests at Heathrow. When departing passengers take one look at them, they'll all change their minds about flying, just like the rest of us, because it will be the end of the world.
Ah well, it will give thousands of police a nice break from doing paperwork at their desks, catching speeding motorists, wrapping miles of police tape around lamp-posts of incidents areas and hunting terrorists. One can only hope that all the police have been thoroughly briefed on all the haleth and safety proceedures before proceeding. No policeman wants to be sued for daring to touch a screaming protestor in the wrong place, does he? And its not like there is any real need for more police on the safe, clean stabbing and gun free streets of London is there?
Wouldn't it really satisfying if some of these deformed freaks who take great pleasure in chaining themselves to fences or superglued to doors were just left chained to the fence for a few days. Maybe it would give them proper time to serious reflect on how misguided and stupid much of their views are. Maybe they could also reflect on how hypocritical so many of the seem to be, before they take their next flight out to daddy's holiday villa. Maybe they could do us all a favour and find a real cause to get angry about, Zimbabwe say or the French government for perpetuating poverty in Africa by stubbornly continuing to protect their farmers . Or maybe they should take their protest against global warming to an energy inefficient three-bedroomed semi-detached house without loft insulation - an appropriate place as any for their ill-thought out, hypocritical views to get the publicity they truly deserve.
Quite frankly, they should get over their middle class guilt complaexes, stop taking themselves too seriously by trying to imposing their own narrow agendas and 'do as we say not as we do' views on the rest of us and just generally grow up.

A Level Results

Maybe at some point in the not too distant future we should just hand out A grades and passes to everyone before they even bother sitting any exams. It would save a lot of time and hassles, and no one would have to do any resits. In fact why not just let all students recycle the work of previous ones? Much less work for teachers marking and no need for exam boards...everyone gets to pass everything, any subject they like, and everything is wonderful.
Maybe you are detecting a whiff of cynicism in my suggestions. Maybe you are right, full marks to you. But the crux of it is this: The establishment of this country has become completely delusional about endlessly rising exam results because all those involved in the establishment have vested interests in not speaking out against it. It has been decided that half the population (a rather arbitrary target dont you think?) must be compelled to go to university. What exactly they will all do when they get there is another matter. Why is it such a wonderful thing that so many people must go to university?
Conincidentally, having so many young people incurring huge amounts of debt also keeps them off the government's unemployment figures before they get that lucrative job in a call centre that that second class degreee in media studies deserves. Or of course, they can always go and work for the government which does a wonderful job of consuming so much of the wealth that the rest of the population creates.
So if so many young people are achieving like never before, how is it that employers complain about more and more young people being able to read, write and add up properly?
The rigid way in which young people are schooled these days does lead many of them to have a genuinely questioning and critical mentality. No one disputes they haven't worked hard. Lots of people worked hard to obtain success, but since when did hard work alone entitle anyone to success?
The saddest aspect about all this is by marinating ourselves in this feel-good stew of not wanting to question or criticise rising pass rates, the people who are really being cheated are the young people themselves because they cannot know the true worth which their abilities and efforts should be yielding. It is endemically tied in with the culture of not allowing anyone to fail at anything, the same culture which frowns on competitive sports and taking risks. Everyone has to be told they are a success, no one must ever fail at anything. Well I tell you from experience, that failure is one most essential experiences to shaping solid character, far more than endless praise and successes can be. If young people are always repeatedly told what great successes they are, how will they cope when real failure comes along, as it surely will do at some point in real life?
The whole notion of so many people - from teachers to government ministers wanting to bask in the relected glow of rising standards - not being brave enough to question rising pass rates is mildly depressing and smacks of cosy complacency. What underpins so much of this issue is something so common to the Labour government of the last ten years - they have been a catalyst for the devaluation of standards. So when it comes to rising pass rates, maybe it's time for a few more people to go back and do some resits of their own blandly conformist views. The self-congratulatory complacency is as consistent as it is breathtaking. Maybe they should made to sit an A Level in Critical Thinking...no really such a thing actually exists!