I still don’t have time to do ‘proper’ blogging. But I thought I’d go back to reprinting here the comments I have made on various MSM sites as a way of easing myself back into the groove – as it were.
Anyroadup. Guardian CIF has this from Cheshire police about the tragic death of Garry Newlove.
There are two ways – or rather, two strand – that societies keep order: the formal – police, laws and so on, and the informal – the community, families etc.
In the UK, over the last few decades, it seems both of these strands have been eroded. The police and the law system have been slowly strangled by bureaucratic managerialism, including such things as targets, increasing emphasis on ‘defensive’ actions to avoid legal counter-claims, the need to document everything a police officer does and so on.
A similar thing has happened in the informal realm where adults feel they no longer have any authority over younger folks at all. I can remember when I was young even frail old pensioners would feel justified in telling me off for even wheeling my bike on the pavement, let alone daring to ride it on the pavement.
There was a recent thread here about the police restraining some drunk woman and I recall one commenter said something like ‘the trouble is the police use too much force.’
Thinking about it later I came to the conclusion that it is in fact the opposite that is true – the police, adults too, no longer have the option of forcing youngsters to behave. Yes, the good old ‘clip ’round the ear’ (mainly as a vague unfulfilled threat, of course). But – like teachers too -losing the power of such instant summary justice means that problems are not nipped in the bud, children are not learning at a relatively young age that certain behaviours overstep the mark and – as a consequence – are slipping further and further out of control until it gets too late for them as well as for us.