Saturday, November 04, 2006

Advanced hide and seek

While Bridlington is congratulating itself on being the first town to set up a 'pillar of shame' containing the photographs of children issued with ASBOs, Marina Hyde has an interesting take on the situation:

John Reid is a glass-half-full sort of chap - water, of course - but even a pessimistic home secretary could not fail to be encouraged by one element of this week's Youth Justice Board study, which suggests that Asbos are widely perceived by teenagers as a badge of honour. "You are inviting little Johnny Smith to... run over the imaginary line, then run away from police," one police officer said of geographical exclusion zones. "You've actually invented a game for the kids to play."

This seems a genuine achievement - Mr Reid's department has sent out self-congratulatory press releases for less - given that one timeworn cry is that these youngsters are disaffected because they have nothing to do. Conventional wisdom requires us to see them as loitering in some kind of civic no man's land - too old to be diverted by rusting playgrounds, and too young to drink in pubs (you do have to admire the far-flung horizons of our social ambition).

Happily, such ennui appears to have been addressed by this exciting variant on British bulldog.

Meanwhile Jonathan Calder give short shrift to Polly Toynbee's idea that the answer to 'antisocial' behaviour is to keep poor children at school for ten hours a day.


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