Feral teen menace? Not really

As you might expect in a sunshine-free silly season, the more paranoid elements of society are devoting their attention to a silly crusade. The current one, prompted by the sad death of Scouser Garry Newlove, is What To Do About The Youth Of Today (copyright Hesiod, 800BC).

As part of the moral panic, loony copper Peter Fahy wants to ban all drinking in public and raise the drinking age to 21; the former is an obviously appalling idea (picnic in the park with a bottle of wine? £60 fixed penalty for you, matey), while the latter is unenforceable and grossly illiberal (err, 18-20 year olds are legally and actually adults, so how the hell can you justify taking away their right to drink?). Daily Mail readers everywhere are doubtless nodding their heads in approbation of a man so ruthlessly dedicated to the abolution of fun.

While left-wing commentators have a slightly less blame-the-kids-tacular take on things, many of them are also making a bizarre presumption: that “society as it is currently constituted cannot produce a virtuous citizenry” – in other words, that there is a real problem exemplified by Mr Newlove’s death. But there isn’t.

A small minority of kids have started street fights, sometimes fatal, since the beginning of time – while most kids get a bit pissed, make some noise and annoy grown-ups with their rowdiness, but don’t kill anybody.

You were in the latter group as a kid; I was in the latter group as a kid; nearly all the kids today are also in the latter group, which is why nobody reading this article is likely to know anyone [not ‘to have read in the paper about anyone’] who’s been killed or seriously hurt by Feral Teens (anyone? Bueller?)

Overall, the kids are alright; sometimes (only rarely, but more often that we’d like), good people will be killed in street fights; this fact sucks, but it’s better than imposing totalitarian extremism, or some kind of bizarre communitarian Virtue Instillation, in an effort to save a couple of lives a year.

  1. Paul Fako said:

    Just as with the “feral teens’ that cause all the noise and are not realy the problem, the “adults” who have nothing better to do than, rather than correct and guide the kids, only take the time to complain and belyache about the rowdiness, often forgetting that they too were once part of this group. IT IS NOT A PROBLEM UNLESS YOU MAKE IT ONE!

    Paul Fako

  2. But the booze kids drink nowadays is far stronger than it was in Hesiod’s time.

  3. >the booze kids drink nowadays is far stronger than it was in Hesiod’s time.

    True, but they’re chewing far less in the way of hallucinogenic wild roots.

  4. Good day to you, Mr. Band, it just seems like yesterday when we last exchanged pleasantries – er, they were pleasantries, if memory serves?

    Alas, what passes for your thinking still seems to be stuck in the timewarp of eternal ‘youf’ but let me tell you that in my childhood gangs of ferral ‘youfs’, to say nothing of ‘youfettes’, did not go around murdering people. However today, or to be precise, in March:

    “A 14-year-old boy was hit on the head with a hammer when he was set upon by a gang of up to 25 hooded youths.
    The boy suffered serious injuries in the incident which took place in the in the Kingsthorpe area of Northampton. All of the attackers are thought to be aged between 14 and 18 and were wearing hooded tops or baseball caps with their faces covered.”

    Well, as you and that purblind retard from ‘Chickyog’ would say, ‘Boys will be boys’, so how about this in May:

    “a gang attack that left a teenage boy in a critical condition. The 17-year-old is in a “deteriorating” condition in hospital after being attacked in Reading, Berks, a week ago. The victim was knocked to the ground in Manchester Road and attacked with a baseball bat, police said. Four people, including a 15-year-old, were arrested over the incident which is being treated as attempted murder. […] The attack took place in broad daylight when a lot of people were out in the streets, either picking their children up from school or making their way to the shops”.

    Or how about this from the ‘quiet’old market town of Banbury:

    “A woman, 24, was attacked after refusing to give a cigarette to a group of youths, aged about 17 years old, at Banbury Railway Station, Oxfordshire. A man, 42, who came to her aid, was kicked in the head and a car park security guard was punched in the face by the gang of boys and girls. A couple were also attacked outside the station on Tuesday. Five youths who were held have been released on bail.”

    I could go on and on and on but for anyone interested, which excludes most of the commenters above, you can go the BBC News site and type in “boys in gang attack” and click on ‘Search’. There are pages and pages of dreadful and futile tragedies, lives ruined, women and girls raped, boys and men crippled and damaged, to say nothing of the murders – but, hey, we all have to enjoy our rites of passage, don’t we?

  5. john b said:

    Unfortunately, the local papers from 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago aren’t generally available online – but if you think that in your childhood, teenage thugs never punched, kicked or beat anyone to death, then you’re simply wrong.

    Unless you grew up on another planet, which is a hypothesis I might accept.

  6. Ah, but there-in, John, lies one of the very few advantages of age over ‘youf’. I lived through the ’50s and ’60s and indeed, first it was the ‘Teddy boys’, and then it was ‘Mods’ vs. ‘Rockers’ (and long before all of that it was, no doubt, the Montegues and the Capulets!) but what you fail to realise is the unbelievable scale of the increase in violence. You don’t have to be a liberal or a re-actionary to recognise that there are things going on now every weekend, just one of which 50 years ago would have caused uproar. As you may, or may not, know I have been keeping a tally of the murdered as reported day by day by the BBC News sites and two weekends ago there were 14 murders including a boy of 5! Now I don’t care which part of the political spectrum you come from, those *facts* are screaming a message at all of us. Cutting down on booze sales even, perhaps especially, if it means cutting down on our own personal opportunities for obtaining or consuming booze, has to be at least one small step to towards getting us back to a resemblance of a civic society. This isn’t politics, except for Marxists to whom everything is political, it’s just commonsense and self-interest in that we all want a safe environment in which to lead our lives and bring up our children.

  7. Sorry if I ‘Bore for Britain’ but perhaps some of the complacent, ‘boys will be boys’ libertines up above might care to express their views to:

    “250 residents turned up at a meeting of Pontarddulais Town Council near Swansea to voice their concerns about anti-social behaviour. […] Speaking after the meeting, councillor Gail Bateman said: “There are real, major concerns because these youngsters are out, and they’re getting drunk. They’re just damaging vehicles, smashing windows. There was a lot of emotion going on in that meeting.”

    I’ll bet there was, not least because:

    “It was earlier this month, that Mr Matthews was left unconscious and bleeding in the street after asking a gang to quieten down outside his home.”

    You can read about it here:
    Not that anyone here is likely to bother, after all that’s, ‘other people, darling, nothing to do with us, it’s only the sort of thing you read about in the papers so it really doesn’t matter at all’!

  8. Laban said:

    “18-20 year olds are legally and actually adults”

    In most things. But by some strange chance, when the voting age was lowered from 21 to 18, convicted criminals between the ages of 18 and 20 continued to be held, not in what MinJust calls ‘adult prisons’ but in ‘Young Offenders Institutions’.

    “A small minority of kids have started street fights, sometimes fatal, since the beginning of time”

    We welcome back our old friend Moral Panic, just beginning his 34th season … a quick google of the old Home Office tells me that homicides in England and Wales increased from around 350 in 1951 to 800-odd in 2001-2002, excluding the Shipman killings. Given the improvements in medicine you’d expect a fall, all things being equal.

    Just a statistical blip, eh, John – or are the police inflating the figures to justify their calls for increased resources (© Stanley Cohen 1972) ?

    “it’s better than … some kind of bizarre communitarian Virtue Instillation”

    Ah yes. It was called Christianity, aqnd it actually did affect the number of citzens beaten to death in the streets. Take a look at crime reduction in the Victorian era, a time of dislocation, widening income disparities, social upheaval and all the other causes of crime beloved of sociologists.

    But ‘bizarre’ ? Webster definitions include “strikingly out of the ordinary” and “odd, extravagant, or eccentric in style or mode”.

    A look at history tells us (well me, anyway) that Godless societies are the exception, not the norm.

    Perhaps human nature has changed dramatically, or perhaps it hasn’t and we’re just in some kind of interregnum.

    Nature abhors a spiritual vacuum – doubtless there’ll be another communitarian Virtue Instillation along in a minute. I wonder what form it will take ?

  9. faizan said:

    Nice buddy. I like it so much. Come on keep it up :)

  10. The utilitarian argument for the existence of God: God may or may not exist, and if He does, He may or may not resemble the God of any revealed religion. But it would be socially useful if He happened to exist in exactly the jealous, hellfire and damnation form which terrified the crap out of 19th century puritans, so… let’s just go with that.

    “Bizarre”, indeed.

  11. Moomintroll said:

    Of course it is always easy for “liberals” to show their moral superiority to common humanity by taking a “It’s all scaremongering” attitude to such problems (provided of course it does not affect them personally. There is a problem, not that young people today are worse than they were, but that, while previously their potential victims had some protection, now they are beyond any restraint and they know it. I do not normally find myself in agreement with the Daily Mirror, but there is a very good article on the subject by Tony Parsons (certainly not someone I would describe as a crusty old reactionary).

  12. John B said:

    He’s not a crusty old reactionary, but he is a bandwagon-jumping rentaquote.

    And he makes the same point I’ve already countered – that kids used to be afraid of authority, and that now they aren’t and therefore stab people. He, like you and Duff, misses the point that most kids are still afraid of authority and that that some kids always weren’t (and therefore stabbed people).

    Also, what’s with this assumption that liberals don’t live in The Real World Where It Affects Them? Given that these moral panics always seem to stem from Daily Mail and Telegraph-land (i.e. Tunbridge Wells), I’m fairly sure I’ve got more understanding of what goes on in the city where I live than the Chicken-Licken suburbanites…

  13. Mike Davies said:

    It’s striking how the increase in the number of murders in only 50 years promotes these shrugs of indifference.

    This BMJ article is worrying.
    It starts – “Murder rates would be up to five times higher than they are but for medical developments over the past 40 years.”
    I appreciate that people end up defending their corners for many reasons, not all of which are meritorious, but doesn’t stuff like this worry anyone?

  14. John B said:

    I’m sceptical of that study. If you think most homicides are ‘accidents’ (in the ‘I only intended to hurt him a lot’ sense of the term), then sure – but if they’re based on intent, it’s hardly surprising that would-be killers now try harder to ensure the victim ends up dead.

  15. Anon said:

    “Cutting down on booze sales even, perhaps especially, if it means cutting down on our own personal opportunities for obtaining or consuming booze, has to be at least one small step to towards getting us back to a resemblance of a civic society.”

    You first.

  16. The Kusabi said:

    Are you even capable of empathizing with those unfortunates who have this kind of dreadfulness happen to them?

    You’re not, are you?

  17. John B said:

    Kusabi – what the hell are you talking about? Empathising with the very small number of people who are victims of serious violent crime, which obviously I do, doesn’t affect whether I think we should have a massive moral panic/ban booze/start hanging people…

  18. Laban said:

    “I’m fairly sure I’ve got more understanding of what goes on in the city where I live than the Chicken-Licken suburbanites …”

    Ah, but you’re childless, or so I believe. It’s then that the responsibility bit (‘what kind of world will s/he grow up in’) kicks in.

  19. I’d be interested in how many of those who support Peter Fahay’s proposed restrictions on alcohol would continue to do so if he revealed he was a moslem.

    It’d be all global caliphates and dhimmification and they’re trying to impose their values on our culture. Hell, if it turned out he was an Imam, I’ll bet the same people who now agree with him would be shouting for more drinking in public and compulsory drunkeness for all 14 year olds.

  20. John B said:

    Correct re my childlessness. Does that mean that I’m not qualified to enter the debate because I have No Understanding Of Real Life, or merely that my judgement hasn’t yet been rotted by the effects of parental hormones on my brain?

  21. I’ll let you be the judge of that, John.

  22. The Kusabi said:

    Empathising with the very small number of people who are victims of serious violent crime, which obviously I do

    Obviously – based on what? Based on your assertions that discussion about the extreme nastiness of modern feral youth is just ‘moral panic’ cooked up by Daily Mail readers and not based on anything real? We get the message, Jon. You’ve got no time for people who think there’s something wrong with the willingness of today’s young criminals to attack and menace people on a whim.

    while most kids get a bit pissed, make some noise and annoy grown-ups with their rowdiness, but don’t kill anybody

    They don’t just ‘annoy grown-ups’ nowadays, do they, Jon? They go for them – use severe violence – if said grown-ups try to spoil their fun – fun meaning smashing up cars, windows, telephone booths. Fun meaning deliberatly acting in such a manner as to intimidate any bystanders who happen to be present.

    What’s obvious is that the vagueness of your comment, saying no more than ‘kids acted up then, kids act up now, ergo there is no essential difference in their behaviour’, I’d like to ask whether you can point out all those instances of kids targetting adults attempting to put them in their place, attacking them as a pack and stamping on their head intending to do grievious harm, in your day. C’mon. Ask yourself whether that would even be thinkable for your peers.

  23. Anon said:

    From Wikipedia:

    “…the Kray twins quickly became famous for their gang of roughs and the mayhem they caused. They narrowly avoided prison several times and in early 1952 they were called up for National Service…

    While absent without leave, the twins assaulted a police officer who had spotted them and was trying to arrest them.”

    They were born in late 1933.

  24. john b said:

    Thanks Anon.

    @ Kusabi – it is still really very rare for a gang of kids to target adults for GBH. It happens occasionally, which is awful. It used to happen occasionally, which was awful too.

    I can’t imagine the people I knew as kids doing it; you can’t imagine the people you knew as kids doing it. But if you were transported through time such that you were a kid *now* growing up in a similar position to the one you did grow up in, then you *still* wouldn’t be able to imagine the people you knew doing it.

    That’s because the people who do it are a tiny minority of appalling bastards, who the vast majority of kids will luckily never encounter. But their rare acts of appalling bastardry make the front pages, making people like you believe that this is somehow representative and/or new…

  25. Jevon Henry, 18, stabbed;
    James Smartt-Forbes, 16, shot;
    Michael Dosunmo, 15, shot;
    Billy Cox, 15, shot;
    Odwayne Barnes, 16, stabbed;
    Jason Spencer, 17, stabbed;
    Kodjo Yenga, 16, stabbed;
    Adam Regis, 16, stabbed;
    Paul Erhahon, 14, stabbed;
    Kamilah Peniston, 12 shot;
    Dwaine Douglas, 18, stabbed;
    Sam Browne, 16, stabbed;
    Sian Simpson, 18, stabbed;
    Annaka Pinto, 17, stabbed;
    Ben Hitchcock, 16, stabbed;
    Martin Dinnegan, 14, stabbed;
    Abukar Hahamud, 16, shot;
    Rhys Jones, 11, shot.

    That’s 18 lads in just the first eight months of this year.

    Taken from the Daily Mail so they probably made it all up!

    But anyway, as our host would have it, boys will be boys.

  26. john b said:

    In 1950 there were 346 murders in the UK.

    According to the BCS in 2005, men aged 16-24 account for 12.6% of victims of violent crime – AIUI, this has remained broadly true overtime.

    That suggests that there were 44 murder victims aged 16-24 in 1950.

  27. Anon said:

    Well I blame the parents – always on the internet, stirring up arguments, instead of spending time with their kids…

  28. “[I]t is still really very rare for a gang of kids to target adults for GBH. It happens occasionally, which is awful.”

    If you wish, I could take you on a field-trip to places where you are almost guaranteed a good kicking if you look as much of a wet as you sound. Perhaps then it is best you stick to areas where these things happen only occasionally.

    “It used to happen occasionally, which was awful too.”

    Ah, so nothing has changed. How nice.

  29. john b said:

    it’s weird the way nearly everyone who speaks in tones of Awe and Horror about Terrible Terrible Places where Wet Liberals would Surely Die if they went out alone is generally a suburban home counties muppet talking about places that are slightly less nice than a suburban home counties town…

    if we’re going to play Macho Stabbing Town bingo, I lived in Moss Side for four years; the only time I had any trouble was when I walked home blind drunk talking in a southern accent on my mobile, at which point someone relieved me of it. Utter stupidity aside, I had a 100% record of not being mugged, beaten up or otherwise interfered with.

    I appreciate your kind offer, but unfortunately I generally find it a bit stressful to walk through ropey areas with someone who’s clearly bricking it, especially if they’re supposed to be the guide.

  30. Actually, ‘Deogolwulf’ is from the North West, not that it makes an iota of difference to his point.

    From around 1945 to 1950 we were still suffering with the social effects of WWII. By contrast, the murder rate for 1960 (from memory) was 250. I don’t understand the abbreviation “AIUI” but in any case, it is not the 16-24 age group we are discussing but the 12-17 group – yes, I do mean 12 years old – remember the Bulger case?

    I am also cynically amused at your trite story of student life in Liverpool not least because it illustrates better than anything a variant on the middle-class ‘NIMBY’ attitude which can best be summarised as ‘if it didn’t happen to me then, and it hasn’t happened to me since, then really, darlings, it hasn’t happened, has it? So why on earth are they making all that fuss over some Scouse kid?’

    The difference between me, “a suburban home counties muppet”, and you, a particularly dim example of what passes through a university education these days, is that I, and others like me, are possessed of imagination and empathy, along with experience of life in this country over many decades. We know what it was like in the ’50s – we lived it!

  31. I generally find it a bit stressful to walk through ropey areas with someone who’s clearly bricking it, especially if they’re supposed to be the guide

    More especially if they’re wearing a monocle and carrying a brandy-balloon, which is how I imagine D-wolf here, on the basis that he looks as preposterous as he sounds…

  32. The Kusabi said:

    I can’t imagine the people I knew as kids doing it; you can’t imagine the people you knew as kids doing it.

    Actually, yes I can, more so than you, perhaps you should have checked your assumption that you and I were of similar age. While I won’t venture to guess your age, I myself am in my late 20s.

    I could certainly tell you about several people whom I have known who would have no qualms about attacking people who had ‘offended’ them (by standing up for themselves in the face of abuse) with the utmost violence. Those same people who had nothing against indulging in wanton violence and intimidating anyone and everyone as they loitered around, not ‘people feeling intimidated by them’, actually going out of their way to try to pick fights or make abusive comments. Now, can you tell us that that’s the way it’s always been?

  33. “[U]nfortunately I generally find it a bit stressful to walk through ropey areas with someone who’s clearly bricking it”.

    Quite understandable, and rather to the point.

    “More especially if they’re wearing a monocle and carrying a brandy-balloon, which is how I imagine D-wolf here, on the basis that he looks as preposterous as he sounds…”

    Ha! That made me laugh, Mr Teabag. (I almost feel warmed towards you.)

  34. An everyday story of Northumbrian folk:

    “Three people, including two teenagers, have been charged with murder after a man with learning difficulties was attacked by a gang. Brent Martin, 23, died in hospital after being found injured the Town End Farm estate in Sunderland on Thursday.

    A 21-year-old man and two youths, aged 16 and 17, will appear before Sunderland magistrates on Monday.
    A woman, aged 47, arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender and a youth, aged 17, were released on police bail.

    Mr Martin, described as vulnerable by police, had been the victim of a “sustained and brutal” beating, said Northumbria Police.”

    On behalf of Mr. John Band and the editorial staff at The Sharpener I must appeal to the people of Sunderland, particularly “to the more paranoid elements of society” not to join “a silly crusade” as “part of the moral panic” engendered by other people who wonder when it’s going to be their turn!

  35. John B said:

    @ Kusabi – I’m also in my late 20s. Haven’t you rather undermined your point that the current generation of kids (ie the people 10-15 years younger than us) are unprecedently awful, if there were people you knew 10-15 years ago doing the same thing?

  36. This may be of interest and amusement – from Norman Dennis :

    Many or most of you will be familiar with the book by Karl Marx’s collaborator, Frederick Engels, “The Condition of the Working Class”. All of you will know the title of that famous book which depicts in the darkest shades all that was wrong with England in 1844. ‘With the extension of the proletariat’, Engels writes, ‘crime has increased in England, and the British nation has become the most criminal in the world.’ He points out, however, that most offences are not of violence, but against property, ‘as in all civilised countries’.

    He then shows how bad things were in England in 1844. ‘I look at a random heap of English journals lying before me’, he writes. ‘There is the Manchester Guardian for October 30, 1844, which reports for three days that in Salford a couple of boys had been caught stealing, and a bankrupt tradesman tried to cheat his creditors.’ In Ashton in the course of three days there were two thefts, one burglary, and one suicide. In Bury there was one theft. In Bolton there were two thefts and a revenue fraud. In Leigh in the course of three days there was one theft. In Oldham there was a theft, a fight between Irish women, a non-union hatter assaulted by union men, a mother beaten by her son, an attack upon the police, and a robbery of a church. In Stockport there was discontent of working men with wages, a theft, a fraud, a fight, and a wife beaten by her husband. In Warrington there was one theft, and one fight. In Wigan there was one fight, and one robbery of a church.

    In London, Engels writes, the position is much worse so far as crime is concerned. In a single day, according to reports Engels gleaned from The Times, there was in the whole of London no fewer than one theft, one attack upon the police, a sentence upon a father requiring him to support his illegitimate son, the abandonment of a child by his parents, and the poisoning of a man by his wife.

    I don’t care what you think about the figures. The point is that Engels thought that these are what the figures were, and that he thought that they were amazing and a portend of the end of civilisation as he knew it. ‘Similar reports’, he says, ‘are to be found in all the English papers’, sufficient evidence, if evidence were needed, that ‘in this country, social war is under full headway’. Would that last night’s Sunderland Echo or today’s Evening Standard contained nothing but ‘horrific’ tales of this kind and frequency!

    In his Preface to the 1892 edition of “The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844″, Engels says that improvements since he wrote the book meant that the shocking state of things he had described belonged, in many respects, to the past.

    Isn’t it strange, too, that in Engels’ short list of heinous crimes, domestic violence and male irresponsibility feature so prominently? We are constantly told that until, very recently, male domestic violence was entirely the norm, and no one condemned it except, sometimes, the female victim.

    From the time of Engels’ “Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844″ until its lowest point in 1911 the trend in the recorded rate of violent crime– violent crimes per 100,000 of the population–was fairly steadily down. This was the case even though there was far deeper poverty than anyone experiences today.

  37. John B said:

    (just for the avoidance of doubt, Moss Side is in Manchester not Liverpool, and I wasn’t a student when I lived there)

  38. Anon said:

    For the avoidance of further doubt, the one who believes he is ‘possessed of imagination and empathy’ is the same one who tells people with aspergers syndrome that ‘it is not your fault you are stupid’. And don’t even get him started on what he thinks about the woman who was raped and blown up.

  39. John B said:

    For the hard of thinking (me included, initially), #43 is referring to Mr Duff.

  40. Er. very witty, ‘Ratty’, but your point is …?

  41. That comparing modern Britain to 1840’s Britain is like drawing a comparison between Belfast and Tuesday, David.

  42. No it’s not!

    Engels was an observer of Victorian Britain, Richard Littlejohn is an observer of contemporary Elixabethan Britain. It is not unreasonable to compare certain aspects of the two societies, not least because the one grew out the other. If you disagree, then please tell us all what the cut off date is; 10, 20, 50 or a 100 years ago – or yesterday?

  43. It rather depends on what comparison you’re drawing, doesn’t it?

    Let’s look at media for a start – Engels was reading a paper produced by a tiny staff at the dawn of modern communications – you have the work of millions of people to draw upon before your breakfast.

    Or, apples vs. oranges.

    Now extrapolate that to include the effects of mass transit, consumerism, displacement of rural populations into the cities, the decline of aristocratic rule…

    The majority of the populace can’t even vote in 1840, for God’s sake.

    You could glean data with just as much urgent relevance to modern offending patterns from Dodge City.

  44. Neil said:

    Wasn’t the average life expectancy in the times and places Engels was talking about something like 25?

  45. Oh, I see, ‘Ratty’, so local newspapers in Victorian times would have either not known about the murder and mayhem going on in its streets or perhaps would have preferred not to print it for fear of frightening the horses! Come off it! Victorian newspapers were as eager to sell then as they are today and there’s nothing sells better than a nice juicy murder or two. Engels quotes the Manchester Guardian, The Times and newspapers covering Ashton, Bury, Bolton, Leigh, Oldham, Stockport, Warrington, Wigan and London. That is as good a snapshot of English criminal society as you will get.

    As I wrote above, if you want a similar snapshot of Britain today, “go the BBC News site and type in “boys in gang attack” and click on ‘Search’.”

  46. Neil said:

    Child labour and poorhouses kept most of the mayhem off the streets back in those days. You have to admit, it’s definitely an approach that works.

  47. No, David, you don’t “see”, or you wouldn’t have mounted your high horse and charged off after sinister windmills.

  48. The Kusabi said:

    @ John B – No I don’t think I’ve undermined anything, after all, I’ve seen nothing that indicates previous generations were anything like either my generation or the generation following, and again, you have not provided any evidence that shows that previous generations in fact were.

    So it seems that your supposition that youths were always as bad as they are now is just that, isn’t it? A supposition. Based on nothing.

  49. john b said:

    Fine – but the proposition you’re making (i.e. that things have been unprecedentedly bad for the last 20 years) is not the same as the current moral panic (i.e. that things have become unprecedentedly bad since 1997 and are getting worse). I’m somewhat more sympathetic to the proposition that the rapid destruction of communities in the 1980s led to a step-change in rates of social cohesion and hence crime within traditional white-working-class societies.

  50. “the rapid destruction of communities in the 1980s”

    “Shome mishtake, surely”.

    Don’t you mean ‘the rapid destruction of marriage and families beginning in the 1960s’?

  51. John B said:


  52. Neil said:

    Today’s teenager would have been born around the time of John Major’s “Back to Basics” campaign.

    Little wonder they have grown up without any morals, then.

  53. Well, whilst these boys, aged 12 – 14, were born just before ‘Nu-Labour’ they grew up whilst ‘Tone’ was being “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, so this little piece of ‘boys will be boys’ mischief must, of course, be an aberration: