Saturday, August 18, 2007

City Streets

The really depressing thing about the news from Britain these days is just how depressing it seems to be.
For a nation that once pretty much ruled the world and, by and large, made a fairly decent job of it, the last decade have not been exactly banner years.
But then I suppose a Minister of Culture who believes that allowing untrammelled access to booze, 24 hours per day, will introduce a “European Cafe Culture” into the life style of the average Brit, has not spent a deal of time in a European Cafe, where the usual drink is likely to be coffee – and conversation.
The last time this sort of thing was popular in Britain was when that pompous old lexicographer, Samuel Johnson used to idle his time away drinking chocolate with his buddy, James Boswell. Judging from Boswell's biography of him, I assume Johnson was picking up the tab.
Of course, almost at the same time, Hogarth was busy around the corner, making sketches that would become “Gin Lane.” What a time he could have had on the streets of Britain's towns on a Saturday night these days!
But Tessa Jowell seems to have taken on the baton for stupidity from Patricia (if you'll just let me finish) Hewitt and if she thinks that the hooded louts terrorising the streets are going to sit placidly in cafes, sucking on their Cappuccinos instead, well, I've got a bridge to sell her.
The common plaint is that “there's nothing to do.” I would suggest that in a small French town there is just as little to do but that the parents, who can still thump their kids, as can the Gendarmerie if they feel it warranted, make good and sure that they are behaving themselves.
And therein lies the root of the problem. It's the family that ultimately is responsible but in Britain all responsibility is taken away from them and replaced with Asbos and rubbish about creating role models. The role models of earlier generations were their parents and what you sow, inevitably you reap.
In all fairness, I have to report that crime has finally come to our part of the world. Yesterday, a hooded gunman held up the Treasury of our local town and decamped, rather embarrassingly, on a scooter with a stash of 2000 Euros. Roadblocks are in place and, if and when they catch him, I bet he doesn't get as ASBO. More likely a few broken bones before he makes it into court.
It's maybe why we don't have much trouble around here.


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