Monday, June 20, 2005

I blame the parents. . . but I also blame the children

So I was reading The Independent on the way to work this morning. I find this is something that I do less and less these days as the paper has started to irritate me - it isn't "independent" in the slightest. How can a newspaper that editorialises on its front page pretty much every day claim to be independent?

Anyway, they're leading today with a piece on Asbos (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) and how they are increasingly being used on children (defined therein as anyone under 18). The Indie then provides some examples for us to consider (these are from the print edition so I cannot link):

Boy, 16, from Birmingham
Banned from housing estate after he and some fellow gang members vandalised cars and homes

Boy, 16, from Staffordshire
One of 11 gang members ordered not to misbehave in public after drunken rampage in which windows were broken

Boy, 17, from Livingstone
Banned from main shopping area and streets near family of former girlfriend that he allegedly stalked

Boy, 15, from Co Durham
Banned from playing football in his village after causing havoc on busy roads and abusing passers-by

And so on.

So I'm reading through these and thinking "Yes? And? What's the problem, exactly?". Admittedly, there were a few instances where the slapping of the Asbo seemed a bit inappropriate, for example in the case of the boy with Tourette's syndrome being banned from swearing in public, or another where a 15 year old boy with Asperger's syndrome was banned from staring into a neighbour's garden. OK, these don't seem right. But I bet the vast majority of these little shits thoroughly deserve to have their freedoms curtailed and quite frankly, if it becomes necessary for civility to be enforced in this way then so be it. I just don't have a problem with anti-social behaviour being punished. It sometimes feels like this country is under seige from louts and general chav types, so if we have a way of fighting back, let's do so and bollocks to the bleeding hearts brigade. You can blame the parents, blame the schools, blame society, but ultimately the way you behave comes down to individual choice.


ph said...

I bought The Independent this morning by mistake - I was in a rush and it is the same size as The Times ( I alternate between the Times and the Guardian - the latter I will not buy if Polly Toynbee is in it). I stopped reading the Independent years ago when it gave up all pretence of being independent, and it appears to have got worse.

As for bad behaviour, my view is that there are always going to be bad-uns, it is in their nature and no amount of liberal hand-wringing is going to change this. Unfortunately our current society is ruled by the damp & limp hand of the liberal, and the result is that those with a penchant for bad behaviour are not kept in check, (which is bad for us and even worse for them)

Anonymous said...

Time and again, the bleeding hearts "we're all responsible" brigade forget that for all their 'trying to understand' loutish behavior, they are actually being patronising and ignoring all those who are affected by it. Patronising, as in why should we passively accept bad behaviour, purely because the person involved is poorer? What about the vast majority of people who do come from impoverished backgrounds and are law-abding? Secondly, let us not forget the common truth that it is time and again the poorest who are affected by the crime in these areas. We may read about it - momentarily giving us a scare over our corn flakes - but we seldom suffer from it (at least on a daily basis). I don't have yobs throwing stones at my house or fiebombing the local newsagents. But those who live in these areas tolerate it all the time (or not, as the case may be).

Yes, many of those who are ASBOd or similar have awful parents, often a very harsh background, and (currently) very little hope of making something of themselves. But they need guidance, not "understanding" (in the worst sense of the word). If we really want to rescue this minority of people, they deserve the same support and basic moral values that we were lucky enough to have. Then we can start on any emotional issues. These people are not 40 year old social workers called Ian, so they are highly unlikely to react to the ideas of one. Why are we so afraid to provide them with what we had?

Anonymous said...

... and yet more mindless nonsense from Shami Chakrabarti, who has the cheek to call her orgnisation 'liberty':

"... We must not become an Asbo land, where it is a crime to be irritating and a crime to become a child."

'causing havoc on busy roads and abusing passers-by' - just being irritating, I suppose.

Citizen Sane said...

I alternate between The Times and The Guardian too. More often the former these days because it's impossible to read a broadsheet on a crowded train. Looking forward to The Grauniad going tabloid.

Not sure I agree that people can be "naturally" bad, but other than that you seem to be in agreement with me. Are you sure you're ph?

ph said...

Yes it is me.

"Naturally bad", on consideration 'bad' was a poor choice. Maybe I should have said "lack empathy" for others.

Anonymous said...

Blame the Parents?. In some areas here parents are being fined when their chidren are caught missing school. Does Briton do that? (we have serious gang problems also) We are in the early stages of punishing parents yet at the same time laws hamstring the rights of parents in punishing their children. It is a sick mixture of Liberal/Conservative social politics. dw USA