Thursday, January 29, 2004

Woman Sour

Listening to 'Jenni' Murray discussing anti-social behaviour with a spokesman from the Children's Society. This organisation, believe it or not, was once the Church of England Children's Society. Now they hold sincerely the belief that no child should ever be punished for anything - up to and including the Bulger killers, who should not have been locked up for the abduction, sexual torture and beating to death of a toddler. But they adopt a gradualist approach - the last campaign was against any children being held in secure accommodation (which includes prison where secure council units are unavailable), with a particular focus on Section 130. The people who support the campaign are the usual depressing pro-criminal suspects (Baroness Stern doesn't want adults locked up, never mind children), the childrens liberation movement (NSPCC, Barnados, National Children's Bureau) and assorted liberal bishops. Plus Paul Marsden.

Naturally the CS spokesman was against ASBOs - they were 'too punitive'. Always the criminal, never the victim.

Jenni was sympathetic. Of course, this doyenne of BBC PC had the money to leave Wandsworth for the Peak District when the children reached secondary age, a place where ASBOs are few and far between. So much easier to be a liberal on crime when it doesn't come back at you.

PS - Dalrymple wrote a while back 'beware of contracted first names'. This is a Seventies phenomenon which mostly affects women, though 'Jon's' and 'Miki's' are not unknown. It was hip and liberated for Jennifer to become Jenni, Nicola to Nikki, Susan to Suzi, Debbi, Traci and so on. Really hip girls dropped another letter - so we had Jeni, Niki and Debi. It's as sure a way of dating someone as the name Doris or Elsie once was. Anyone with such a contracted name is likely to be in the 45-55 range.

As one generation dies, its names, usually hopelessly unfashionable with young parents, return after lying fallow for a few years. Names like Ivy, Phoebe, Olive are starting to return. Strange to think a time will come when Wayne, Gary and Darren will be associated with old men.