Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Britain: Happy Slapping Capital of the World

If any readers watched an ITV programme last night which contained footage taken by a camera phone of real incidents of a new craze called 'happy slapping' and if you felt a sense of fear, anger or vengeance, let me say that you were not alone.

It appears that this popular pastime is taking Britain's youth by storm. It involves stalking up behind complete strangers - usually with a cocky spring in the step - and simply smacking them in the face, while - like psychotic wildlife - shouting 'happy slap!' It has caused the bursting of at least one man's eardrum, and led ultimately to the burning of another.

What do we do about it?

A drunken friend declared whilst watching these horrifying images: 'They should root it out in the schools'. That's a fair point, but isn't that a little late? Traditional, small-c conservatives like me are shouting at a brick wall when we declare that the real centre of education is the home. If you don't get them in the first years of life, you never will.

Or is it part of our culture? Should we ban the television programmes and films that perpetuate the idea that random violence is the way to get kicks? After all, this craze can - for once - be sourced directly to at least one television programme (American, obviously!).

Is there anything anybody can do? Is there anything that citizens can do? Well, of course. It is the role of good, sensible parents to ensure this kind of behaviour never reigns in the minds of tomorrow's leaders. I will say this again and again: the role of good parents is to keep their children on the straight and narrow.

But ultimately this is one of those issues where we individuals, families and communities are powerless. If a yob in Birmingham or Leeds couldn't give a damn about setting alight a stranger who fell asleep in a bus shelter, there is no hope for the brave, courageous heroes who try to take the law into their own hands. The yobs will always beat us. We don't stand a chance.

Police forces which are unaccountable to the citizenry are perhaps just as poorly placed. There is no respect for authority in Britain's youth, and it may be all down to the days when we became a 'permissive society'.

I don't advocate a return to the days when people were stoned for the colour of their skin or whom they chose to share a bed with. But if the Blair government - a government which has handed down regulations on how people should wash their hands - believes in a protective State, then this is the time for the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to show their true colours.

2 Comments:

At 11:52 am, Anonymous Shiv said...

Who's your drunken friend?

 
At 11:05 pm, Blogger Mark O'Brien said...

This is Britain. The licensing laws are getting weaker, so every man and his dog is drunken today!

 

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