Thursday, August 23, 2007

Too Much Too Young

I finished Donkey Punch the other day and haven't actually reflected on it that much, as I immediately got stuck into the New Bruen, which, as you might expect, is bloody magnificent and has kept kept me up way past my bedtime these last two nights. Bruen is masterful, most definitely the capo of crime writers, either British or American. The highest praise I can give Ray Banks is that he is up there with Bruen............he bears comparison: the trick will be keeping it up.

Derby v Blues on Saturday. I can't even bring myself to think about it, by 5 o clock on Saturday our season could be over, said the drama queen.

A child of 11 got shot in Liverpool. This is horrific and is something I genuinely cannot bring myself to think about, the slaughter of the innocents can bring a tear to the hardest of hearts. Listening, as ever, to the phone ins all day as I drive around there seems to be a consensus developing that we have to hit the bandits hard, make them suffer and squirm, and while we are at it we should make their families suffer and squirm a bit too.

I can't really go along with this. Living in an area which has more than it's fair share of petty crime and vandalism and more than it's fair share of 'orrible little gits, who have no fear of any adult, I find my liberal conscience troubling me, as I become less tolerant, and wish harsh punishment upon those who daily aggravate me, but, then, when I calm down, I try to rationalise it and I can't go along with the idea that it is being soft on crime that has led us to the state we apparently find ourselves in.

I do wonder, often, just what the fuck has happened. It wasn't that long ago that I was a nipper and I was right peeky blinder too, as were all my mates. Christ, the things we got up to. However, I think most of us and those like us, were mischievous and stupid rather than just plain bad. We didn't necessarily fear adulthood or authority, nor respect it, but we paid attention. We wouldn't trespass or damage property if an adult was about, and if were indulging in some wanton vandalism and an adult turned up we would leg it.

If we got caught and suffered a boot up the arse or a punch in the ear, we wouldn't complain, we would just hope the old man wouldn't find out, and he rarely did. Where we live, we get grief regularly from gangs of teenagers and also gangs of much younger nippers; their language and behaviour is.....................educational. They couldn't give a stuff who hears them and they couldn't give a stuff who sees them, there is no consequence of which they are afraid. They know that no adult will actually physically assault them, and they laugh in our faces.

How did it come to this? Well, I can tell you how it came to this, I can tell you how we arrived was an uncomfortable journey, but we got here in the end, via Thatcherism and the bloody equality gap. It's time to stop blaming the poor and the oppressed and the excluded. It's time to stop blaming teenage mothers and it's time to look at a bit of economic and social history. We are paying the price for Thatchers horrific experiment and Labours fear of the right wing press.

Thatcherism is one of the greatest evils ever visited upon this country. Whole sections of society were abandoned, in some cases entire communities were abandoned to their fate and invited to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Thousands and thousands of people, were just tossed aside, there being no such thing as society, only a collection of self interested individuals. There will always be smart arses, like myself, who escape the daily horror of having no education, no job, no confidence and no hope, but there will be many who don't; some of whom will just sink into a sort of social catatonia, some of whom will become cheerful scallywags and get by as best they can and many of whom will get by with the help of drink, drugs, casual sex and crime.

There will be procreation, lots of it, in and out of wedlock; fathers may be known, they may not. The daily grind of poverty will continue, hopeless lives will stretch out into a blank horizon; there will be no positive role models, peoples lives will be shit and they will seek solace where they can and more babies will arrive and the cycle will continue endlessly on, because communities have been destroyed, industry has gone and respect for the working or non working man eroded.

Children will be born into a world characterised by a moral emptiness, where pleasure is taken whenever and wherever it is available, however short term it may be and regardless of the long term cost. They will have no stake in society, they will not care about society, they will not care about their neighbour and they will be a bunch of aggravating, scary bastards, but, really, whose fault is it? Would any of those people choose their lives, if they had any kind of a choice, I think not. They are abandoned, and they were first abandoned by people with a narrow political agenda who should have known better.

Our society is fucked up, but it's not the people on the estates who fucked it up, they are the victims of the fucking up; we are all the victims of the fucking up. We are the fuckees, not the fuckers. The damage Thatcher inflicted is immense and it will take more than a lily livered Labour regime to put it right. Meanwhile, as I keep saying, the fucking equality gap keeps getting wider, and as I keep saying, where this happens, social cohesion breaks down and life is, for many, nasty, brutish and short.

Tax the rich, squeeze them until their pips squeak and pump all the money into our destroyed and desolate estates. Abandon the olympics, use all that money to provide facilities and coaching in all towns and cities up and down the land. Lets just spend the money. Don't audit it, don't account for it, just spend it; lets give these anti social murderous bastards a reason to believe that they actually belong to this shitty world and have something to gain from engaging with it.
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