News from Yahoo:
Astrologers Tell Nepal’s Deposed King To Stay In Palace.
Man Wins Compensation For Too Many Germans.
Michael Jackson ‘Incapable Of Performing Ever Again’.
David Beckham To Captain England Again
I’m giving up on the Guardian. Yahoo News is fucking hilarious. You couldn’t make it up.
Do newspaper vendors still stand and bawl, selling their wares on London’s pavements? I remember well the street cries of yesteryear: “Eevnin’ Stannad! Stannad! Ge’ Yoowwa Stannad!” How they echo down the years. Surely those guys don’t still exist?
I bought a copy of the Evening Standard at lunchtime yesterday. It calls itself ‘London’s Quality Newspaper’ and it’s a pile of poo. Always has been. Best avoided whenever possible. In normal times you wouldn’t want to stink your house out with it, but these are not normal times.
There it was yesterday, piled up on the counter of the newsagent, with the single-word headline ‘ENOUGH‘. Accompanied by a large picture of a knife, smothered with blood.
“Eleven teenagers stabbed to death in London this year. Children killing children. Today the Standard sets out our charter to beat knife crime.”
Interesting? How were they going to handle this? Well - for a start they had knife crime and their ‘charter’ all across the first seven pages, interrupted only by adverts for the House of Fraser, The Phantom of the Opera, Heathrow Connect and Air Berlin. Not bad.
But what about the charter itself? The new five point charter. Unsurprisingly they want more searches, more prosecutions, tougher sentences and compulsory therapy. But what’s this, at number 2? Something about education and ‘cultural change’? Hmmm.
Here it is in full:
2. Train children in “peer-to-peer mentoring” and use citizenship and personal, social and health education to teach the simple message: respect cannot be won at the point of a knife.
Education will be important to ensure future generations grow up without any illusions about the devastation knives cause — and with the skills to avoid getting involved.
Schools should focus on compulsory personal, social and health — as well as citizenship — lessons on teaching children about the importance of treating each other with respect.
But the responsibility goes far wider than schools to embrace every section of society — from parents to the media responsible for creating films, music and computer games that can influence young people's behaviour. The Mayor's advisers, among others, believe that investment in youth clubs and mentoring schemes, particularly for those excluded from school, are vital to divert youngsters away from crime.
On another level, Sir Alan Steer, the leader of the government's behaviour task force, urges parents to take greater control over the music their children listen to. But this culture change will take many years to achieve.
Compulsory PSHE and citizenship - right on. Cultural change. Yes. Many years to change. Exactly.
And on page 4 there’s more good stuff. Mayor Boris Johnson is “understood to be concentrating on the root causes of youth violence in order to improve the situation long term . . . ” “The Mayor’s Office is committed to putting in place measures needed to restore young people's sense of hope and engagement.”
Ray Lewis, deputy mayor for young people, said there was "no magic solution" but he would look at what was driving teenagers to violence in the first place.” He also said, “It is also imperative that we look at why so many young men, and increasingly women, are growing up angry and disengaged from society."
Deputy Mayor for policing Kit Malthouse (how many Deputies has this guy got?), said, “The long-term solutions to youth crime are complex and will require a wholesale cultural shift.”
Suddenly I feel the earth moving. People talking about identifying root causes of disaffection and aggression. People talking about offering hope and engagement. Recognition that young people are growing up angry and disengaged from society. People talking about the necessity for a wholesale cultural shift. Amazing.
And credit where it’s due. This is a Tory paper, and these people are part of the Tory team now running London. Maybe there’s hope yet.