This paragraph is of something I wrote two years ago. Auto-suggestion prompts the ills of today. The editors are less critical, much is gratuitously violent and brutal. In the 30s we had not these options, just sport and our social life, not hunched over a TV, or reading magazines far worse than those we were forbidden. We played simple games, indoors and out, the main stress in general terms was schooling. Single-parent children suffered more stress than others, but we were unaware that this was detrimental to out psyche, and so we just accepted our periodically unhappy lives. Sport figured largely, from being toddlers. Universally, areas such as village greens, parks etc, once common grazing land, were where we all played. Often there were tennis courts, running tracks, and everywhere, small groups of children were playing some game or other. Children skated in the winter at ice rinks, most schools played football, rugby, and later the teenagers formed small groups to play games like tennis, football and cricket, and these developed, as they grew older, into a plethora of local teams, especially football and cricket, on local open spaces.
WW2 ended all this, with Dig For Victory, new housing, building etc. The young people were now thrown back on their own meagre resources, tribal wars, and later a more monastic life mainly spent in front of a blue screen in their bedroom. Hence the tougher, more bolshie elements make trouble. The money spent on so many, fruitless government advertising projects should be used to provide greater facilities for the young. I once joined a youth club, it was an aesthetically cold place, poorly run by amateurs – I left in a hurry. Young people know roughly what they want, and don’t look for the moon, but do not want second-best, an insult giving exactly the wrong impression. Perhaps the young should be consulted. A nationwide survey, of successful clubs might reward and give a benchmark for future design. The club must be better in every way than the homes that most of the young people come from and therefore valued by then, abuse resulting in banishment, would deter most bad behaviour, and respect is a two-way street
Assault and knife crime, currently under review, has gone beyond the above point. When the photos of the people who have been stabbed were viewed, it was noticeable that eight out of 10 victims were from immigrant backgrounds. We are told the tribal wars are more often between these groups. Lack of local district and parental supervision is a contributory factor, and possibly some local relationships with the police might have additional effect. People carrying out these crimes are not to be swayed by a million pounds worth of advertising, they probably never look at it. Previously I had suggested the use of mobile metal detectors randomly set up in schools and at night in areas subject to gun crime, but now I realise that with the ubiquitous mobile phone, the element of surprise would be almost immediately negated. What is clearly required is something like a three pronged approach. There must have been successes in some parts of the country in controlling these crimes, these should be studied. Young responsible leaders of social groups and members of the gangs should be canvassed for their opinions of cause and solution. This information then correlated from across the country, instead of the million pounds being spent on advertising, with say three trials made in different dissimilar locations of the proposals thus produced, might give a valuable lead to cause-and-effect.
The effect of the media? I saw a film called ‘The Departed’, it revolted me. My working life has been in environments where bad language and sexual metaphors are common, but those spoken on the film were so gratuitously used in practically every sentence, plus the most revolting sexual metaphors, something I had almost never experience at that level in 70 years, and I served on the lower deck of the Royal Navy. The gratuitous violence, totally unsupportable in a logical sense had people hammering one another with their fists to a degree that would have broken their fingers and torn their skin, but the battered, who should have been dead, got up to fight another day, while the batterers walked away with clean hands. People were shot out of hand, tied up and executed with a shot in the back of the head, and another for good measure. What I found so revolting about the whole process was that this film had been passed for viewers of 18 years old, had not been censored, was on television with recommendations for viewing, and a five-star accreditation. Aren’t young people without the experience to be critical of the logic of what is presented, at risk from films like this – providing a scenario to ape?