Monday, August 20, 2007

Why are British "Yoof" so out of control

Yet another violent murder takes place in Britain, and yet another call for new laws, this time to raise the drinking age to 21. Why have British youth become so violent? It's not good enough to say that "this sort of thing has always happened". The facts are undeniable: the number of muggings has skyrocketed, and so have attacks involving knives. Had you seen a group of disruptive youths 20-30 years ago, you would have remonstrated with them, today you wouldn't dare to take the risk.

Various "experts" have advanced arguments for the social malaise affecting Britain: Everything is blamed from easy availability of alcohol, to social deprivation, to youths being bored. But we have always had poverty and social deprivation, and in continental Europe, alcohol is cheap as bottled water, so why don't the Italians or French behave like wild animals?

You might find the answer if you cross the channel. We were in France a few months ago and noticed that not only do people drink socially (as opposed to Britain where people drink in order "to get hammered"), they eat as a family. In much of continental Europe people value family occasions, and parents enjoy taking time away off work to be with their children. In Britain by contrast, the family has become a dirty word: you only have to watch the EastEnders Christmas special, when even the one annual family event, Christmas dinner becomes a moment of dread, it's a pretty accurate reflection of life in Britain.

My Father once wrote:
The family is a walled garden in which the young flourish and the old decline, and functions as a lasting source of mutual support. Remove it, and one is left to the caring professions, who can, within limits, be useful enough as a prop to the family, but are no substitute for it.
This is true as ever today.

The Hugo Chavez Appreciation Society

John Pilger's recent article on Hugo Chavez is typical of those in the left who are prepared to embrace just about anyone who stands up to George W Bush, regardless of how undemocratic they are. Such is their loathing of America.

One wonders, had John Pilger lived 60 years ago, would he have paid a visit to Stalin?

You can hardly blame people for flying

These days, it has become fashionable to blame flying for the destruction of our planet, (despite the fact that aviation is responsible for only 2-3% of global emissions). But can you really blame people for flying?

We recently got back from 10 days in Israel, basked in temperatures of 30 degrees centigrade, and swam in the warm mediterranean sea. Meanwhile, England endures day after day of heavy rain and the sort of temperatures you'd expect in October (all the fault of man made climate change of course). Right now, I'm looking out of my window, the rainclouds are so thick, it's almost as dark as the night. With weather like this, people are desperate to get abroad, just to avoid clinical depression!

And then there's the fact that more and more of us have family abroad. How are we supposed to reach our loved ones who live over the ocean? By train??? As Tim Hames says, maybe we should stop obsessing about air travel and instead focus on the emissions that we can easily reduce, like energy efficiency in the home and unnecessary car journeys.

It makes a pleasant change to see that some journalists are prepared to praise air travel instead of demonising it.