A week is a long time in journalism. Was it only a few days ago that a Sheffield officer was suspended for (righteously IMHO) smacking a vandalistic chavette, and that Janice Turner was lauding the wonderful colourblindness of London primary school kids ?
Smacking a woman may be out of order for a copper, but it's OK for a TV presenter.
Not all London kids seem to be as colourblind as Janice Turner's little friends :
"As his friend handed over the phone, Ben saw one of the youths reach into his pocket and pull out what appeared to be a knife, and instinctively he shouted to his friend to run. Thankfully, the boys were only 400 yards from Ben’s mother’s home and, although the youths pursued them on the bicycles, they gave up the chase when the boys turned into the suburban street. Ben, who never cries and is rarely frightened, was sobbing so hard and trembling so much that it was heartbreaking to behold.
The police were called, but the crime will not find its way on to the next list of robbery statistics (last year the figures of reported robbery rose by 8 per cent) because only one of the boys had his phone stolen and he was, understandably, too intimidated to be prepared to give video evidence against muggers who might approach him again. Because it wasn’t the first time that Ben or his friend have been mugged. Walking home from school a month ago, Ben was surrounded by a group of boys who demanded that he give them his phone ("You’ve been jacked, nigger," they shouted at him). Nor is it our family’s first encounter with street crime. My son, also 14, was violently mugged earlier this year by a group of youths"
Jane Gordon has most of the liberal prejudices of Janice Turner (with her Daily Mail reading father and his "poisonous, hard-core bigotry"). But her children are that much older. So while she still twists liberal corn dollies round her worried fingers ("I do not want to see all boys in hoods locked up or sent to draconian boot-camps." - as if anyone has ever suggested such a thing), she is not a happy mummy.
There are a number of milestones in a child’s progress that middle-class parents rarely allude to and one of them — as Richard Madeley discovered last week — is "the first time your son or daughter is mugged" ... The fact that a socialist Government seems so unconcerned about protecting children from violent crime is enough to make a middle-class mother like me want to vote Conservative at the next election (something I have never previously done).
At the Observer, uber-liberal Mary Riddell is so deep in denial she should buy a felucca.
My son, also a student, was attacked last week by two young men. He did not quite lose consciousness and his head injuries were not severe. He has not concluded that Britain is more lawless, and nor have I, angry as I am that he should have been the victim of gratuitous violence for the third time in his relatively short life. I do not imagine that he, an inner-city boy, has been unusually unlucky.
He's been attacked three times - which Mary herself accepts as NFL - Normal For London. Yet apparently this tells her nothing about whether Britain is more lawless. She wonders if Blair's illegal war is the cause of the violence. Such wilful refusal to look reality in the face is almost heroic. Stupid, but magnificently stupid.
There's a whole genre of middle-class mummies writing about the consequences for their children, or friends' children, of their hip urban lifestyle - from Jackie Ashley (significant other of one Andrew Marr) :
This child, so bright and optimistic so recently, is sunk in grey depression and won't go to school. That one, so athletic and cocky, has been violently mugged and now avoids walking anywhere, lurking inside his bedroom. Another cuts herself. Another suffers extreme bullying and has ballooned in size. Another was stabbed while walking the dog.
to the author of this urban nightmare :
Things had started to feel badly wrong in a matter of months. My kids stopped playing outdoors. They just didn't want to, they said. My daughter, who had started to go to the corner shop on her own, had to be brought home by the shopkeeper one day — she was afraid to walk through the estate because she'd been bullied on the way there. A friend who did not live on the estate pitched up one day with two kids whom she had found crying in the park. They had been left home alone all day, five and nine years old, and went to the park and lost their keys. I tried to get them a key, but the estate manager wanted more details. When it emerged that they were kids, Social Services came, and my heart sunk. I knew I would be thought of as an interfering old cow. To make matters worse, the older child was inconsolable, saying her mother would beat her. Why? She said she wasn't allowed into white people's houses. She had never been in one before. Five and nine, these kids were.
A gang of 15 to 20 teenagers started hanging out in the car park, revving up their motors all day, blaring jungle music from the car stereos. A pit bull ran wild on the estate, attacking workmen, stupendously leaping over our front gate, defecating on our doorstep on a daily basis.
After I shouted at the pit bull, the dog started snarling and running at me and my son. One day we opened the door and it was sitting there in front of us, growling. Insanely, I went to the kids in the car park and told them they had to keep the dog on a lead, and if it went for my kids, I would kill it. They looked incredulous and one said: "You kill the dog, we kill you." And they all burst out laughing and one shouted: "Crazy white bitch. We were here first." A few minutes later, to my horror, I noticed that "my" pit bull was in another part of the estate. I had threatened the wrong pit bull.