A tale from the Court - Déjà vu by raistlin

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I was in Youth Court again today and we had in front of us a lad of 13, who pleaded guilty to shop theft and common assault on a store detective.

This lad, unlike some, was clearly in awe of the Court and was trying his best to be respectful.

As most of you will know by now, in the Youth Court the Bench chairman can engage in a dialogue with the defendant.

The first thing to do was to ascertain why his parent(s) were not with him.

He pointed to a woman in the public gallery and said "I don't have a Dad... that's my Mum but she only had me to get more benefits so she's not really bothered what happens to me."

He said that with such matter-of-fact assurance that it took me and my colleagues quite by surprise and before I could say anything further, the woman he had pointed to said, quite clearly and deliberately:-

"you're Chicken Pie all use for anything else you little bastard"

Sadly, my next thought was "here we go again" One of many young people I have had to deal with recently who have been told that they have outlived their usefulness and were now merely an inconvenience.

Cogito ergo sum... maybe?

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Posted 31 Aug 2012, 19:56 #1 

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Bermudan 75
sadly a product of declining attitudes to 'responsibility' and the excesses of the welfare state.

Posted 31 Aug 2012, 22:04 #2 

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The parents of these 'offenders' were themselves the children of the first big generation of single mothers from the 1980s. Now adults, their children, contribute both higher crime rates and lowered participation to the labour force. Sadly both they and their children have been left with no social skills or work ethic and seem impossible to educate. The number of 16 to 24-year-olds who are not in education, employment or training - known as NEETs, is expanding fast across Britain.

This new generation of modern parents and their offspring are rapidly becoming a drain on the state. Not only unproductive they constitute a huge expense, impacting jointly across policing, social costs and the replacement of the infrastructure they deface and destroy.

Combining this factor with our continued Macro Economic decline, suggests a future Britain increasingly divided with 'walled societies' and 'no-go' areas akin to Manchester's Moss-side, within every urban concentration.

Posted 01 Sep 2012, 02:40 #3 

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Really? Well I am the offspring of a single mother (divorced when I was 5) from the 70s and along with my two sisters and brother have remained a relatively productive and hopefully positive addition to society ever since. To suggest that the likes of me and many others will automatically be bereft of any social skills simply due to a lack of a father - my own was a thug and a bully so a fine example to his kids! - is a little wide of the mark. My older sister also unfortunately ended up a single mother and has been for the last ten years and her daughter is a credit to her. Granted there is some significant truth in your characterisation Martin but it is oversimplistic and unfair to tar everybody in this social group with the same brush...plenty of the offenders I used to deal with came from working families with two parents.The number of NEETS in England has expanded as the amount of resources allocated to careers services has been shrunk (just at the time when it is needed the most!)Which is just as much down to bad political decisions as to the economic situation and other reasons.Whenever there is an economic downturn it always seems to follow that the cut-backs instantly begin at the points where, often, the most good was being done - perhaps we should all be looking more closely at the moral fibre of those at the top end who continually send the message that it is all about looking after No.1 and taking whatever you can get - be it at the expense of other people or one's own reputation....

Posted 01 Sep 2012, 08:03 #4 

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Carl, like my own, your parents and sister obviously actually cared and loved their children, no matter their circumstances, but sadly is not life itself an exercise in exceptions? Somewhere from the 60's on the fabric of family values (for want of a better term) started to decline. Paul's example thankfully is not as yet a majority position, but is already more than we ought to be comfortable with.

Resources seemingly are always directed towards votes and 'investment' in social values by comparison to other expenditure (wars) has, in my opinion been criminally abysmal. Both ruling parties in recent history have however been overwhelmed by the population explosion. Distortion to future unemployment, as a corollary will I fear reflect cyclically. Contemporaneously, the imbalance of future govt revenue, supporting an aging populous from an exponentially jobless and lawless society is a pecuniary bridge too far to settle, I would suggest.

Quite how we redress this socially, I have no experience to offer. I cannot imagine how dreadful the comprehension of being unwanted as a child must be. I do recall though when once giving a Dr Barnado's orphan my childhood cricket gear, being asked to attend the Home's next committee meeting. I was requested to desist any generosity personally, but to endow any 'gifts' upon the school - not an individual. They were good people and I saw the sense, as the child would perhaps expect more from me than I could give, and would create envy amongst his fellows. A microcosm in some ways I suppose to the problem we now face - application of scarce resource with individual effect, across a macro context?

Posted 01 Sep 2012, 14:02 #5 

Where I lived as a child in Liverpool, the other side of the road were rows and rows of bombed terrace houses with the occupants still living there some four years after the war. Later, I had 8 teachers for four years. All in the same school, at the same time. Well, about an hour apart. That should give some idea of the breadth, if not the depth, of the curriculum. I only excelled at two: English Lit/Gram, and generalbuggerinaboutandbeinanuisance (in my Works Word… that’s the longest red underline I’ve ever had).

I confess to enjoying the latter much more than the former, seemed to come naturally. Two parents (one of each, for the pedants. Anything else was frowned on then.) whom I’ve no doubt were loving and caring although totally indifferent to me and my three sisters. Poor is too small a word, and don’t want to get into a ‘I was poorer than you’ game but suffice to say I did go to school with Oxydol packets in my shoes. I was, however, thankful that in being the firstborn, ergo largest, I was never troubled with hand-me-down dresses and cute little cardies. In spite of the very ‘umbleness none of us were any trouble (other than my pre-teen misunderstandings concerning orchards, apparently abandoned property with no discernable owner, and clandestine door-knocking) and never resorted to viciousness or criminal activity as a way of life..

Given the present day relative affluence, I am absolutely fed up to the back teeth with the nauseous windbags (not on here naturally) that insist on trotting out the bugle calls of social deprivation, dysfunctional families, and lack of ‘role models’ to explain and defend sheer troublemakers for whom the reference ‘feral’ might read ‘fear sod all’.

I wish for the life of me that people would call a spade a spade, correctly identify the correct problem and in so doing arrive at the correct and effective solution.

Sorry, the law of diminishing returns (time left v. life experience) increase exponentially the older you get.

Posted 01 Sep 2012, 14:44 #6