Friday, January 27, 2006

Trying to solve society's problems

I like to play devil's advocate a little bit with my old people's club. Although we (finally) have an Asian guy, (representing 50% of the borough's population on his own) they're mostly kind of cockney Sun-reading I don't mind who lives next door to me but a lot of them are defrauding their benefits it's a fact it wasn't like that when I was young old people. (A marked improvement on the people who live near me, who are mostly I do mind if they live next door to me that's why I moved out to the suburbs and oh shit now they're making money and moving out here too and what's that going to do to the value of our semi kind of people, without age to explain it). But anyway. On Friday we were talking about Young Offenders. You know there's been that case of those teenagers who beat that guy to death. Now it's all controversy over their jail sentences being too short; they could be out by the time they're 29, or something like that. So I was saying that those kids didn't need prison, they needed help. British society has let them down, just like it's letting down all the poor kids who come to my work everyday, and their elder brothers and sisters who are no longer even allowed through our doors. And nothing can bring back the guy they murdered. My old people did not agree; hanging was mentioned. I said prisons are rough for young people; they said they'd get the best help inside. In fact that England's prisons were if anything too soft on youngsters; once a child is 8 (eight!?!) he has reached the age of reason and should be treated as an adult. We were discussing this and then I realised that I was probably the person there least qualified to even open my mouth on the subject. They all live in this blighted area and have done most of their lives. Two of them do loads of community work (not that I don't, but theirs is unpaid, several are ex-servicemen who served in WW2, most are grandparents, one is a nun and one worked as a prison chaplain all her life. They know disadvantaged kids. They have been disadvantaged kids. Some of their kids were disadvantaged kids. So who am I with my bleeding heart to contradict their informed opinions? Ok, I still did and do contradict them, but it's always a shock to me to realise my opinions are not all always necessarily entirely correct.

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