Young Thugs

Together we can reclaim the streets Never mind Spiderman. Forget Harry Potter and his struggle against Voldemort. I'll tell you my hero of the hour. He's a 68-year-old Liberal Democrat peer called Lord Phillips of Sudbury in the County of Suffolk, and last week he struck such a blow for freedom and common sense that, if there were any justice, the people of Sudbury would now be organising a subscription to erect his statue in the market place. Because it was in that very market place that Lord Phillips of Sudbury faced a moral dilemma, of a kind that many of us face - without acknowledging it - every day. In an instant, he decided to defy modern correct thinking. He set an example for us all. He did the right thing. He found three 10-year-old boys cycling on the pavement, and realised their behaviour was dangerous and anti-social, since the precinct was then thronged with young mothers and their push-chairs. He showed the first signs of heroism by having the guts to tick them off. "I just stopped and told these lads, 'Look you can't cycle here. You must dismount.' " Alas, he was met for his pains with a salvo of abuse. The 10-year-olds shrieked at the noble lord, who has been married since 1968 and who has three children. They called him a "pervert, a poofter and a paedo". In the old days, there would have been some sort of instant penalty for children who were vilely abusive, in public, to a distinguished figure such as Lord Phillips. When some boys were rude to the Prophet Elisha, saying, "Go down, thou bald head", God sent some bears to eat them up. But these days, children know there is very little to stop them behaving foully, and so Lord Phillips decided to bite his tongue, and went into Boots to continue his shopping, propping up his own bicycle on the way in. At which point one of the children - still scandalised at being reprimanded by an adult - kicked the bike over; and it was then, as he emerged from the shop to see his bike clattering to the ground, and the children scarpering, that Lord Phillips faced his dilemma. All the street wisdom of modern Britain says that you avoid meeting their eyes, pick up your bike, pretend not to care, and cycle off in the opposite direction. You don't know what those kids have got in the pockets of those hoodies. It might be a knife to yerk you beneath the breastbone. It might even be a gun. Most of us would decide in a flash that it was not worth finding out, and to leave the brutishness uncorrected. Lord Phillips is made of sterner stuff. He gave chase; he caught the child; he grabbed his sweater; and of course he didn't cuff him or clip him round the ear, or administer any form of early-20th-century chastisement, since he is a humane sort of fellow. He asked a passer-by to call the police, saying to the child: "If you think you can behave like this, you are dead wrong." To which, the boy replied, with a chilling grasp of the changed relationship between children and adults: "I am going to have you for holding me." And when the police arrived, whose side do you think they were on? They didn't even tick off the boys, but warned Lord Phillips that he was wrong to try to exercise any authority himself. As a police spokeswoman said: "Members of the public should always have a regard for their own personal safety and our advice is to call the police immediately." And that makes my blood boil. It seems that, if any adult wants to dispute the right of young thugs to misbehave, then not only does he or she do so at considerable personal risk, but with the express disapproval of the forces of law and order. The implication is that there can only be two figures of authority on the streets - the thugs and the cops. Everyone else must creep around, averting their eyes, hoping that someone will call the police: which might be all right if we could really hope that the police will come, and if there were really enough police to deal with all the forms of anti-social behaviour. Look at the list of acts deemed to be anti-social, and you will see a dizzying range, including many things that you and I would classify as crimes - straightforward crimes. Joy-riding, raiding cars, taking drugs, smashing phone boxes: why are these lumped in with playing loud music or failing to curb the dog or playing games of football in inappropriate areas? Why do we need to call the police every time we see someone swearing loudly or scratching graffiti? The answer is simple. We call the police, because disapproval no longer works, and for very good reasons we have mainly lost the confidence to intervene ourselves. We won't restore civility to our streets until we realise that we all - collectively - need to recover our nerve and reassert our adult prerogatives. Yes, we need more policemen on the beat, and not filling out forms, and yes, we need to make sure that these thugs are properly punished. But we can flood the streets with police and fill our jails to American levels without addressing the fundamental issue: that children have lost respect for adults, and they know that adults will take no steps to win it back. We can't do this individually. It's no use if only a few people are willing to remonstrate: as so many recent killings have taught us, the have-a-go hero is speedily transformed into the have-a-go martyr. We need to work collectively to make use of the fact that the good, peaceful, law-abiding majority vastly outnumber the thugs. We need to restore that majority rule to the streets, to the top decks of buses, and when someone like Lord Phillips is brave enough to show a lead, he should be congratulated by the police, not ticked off. As he said himself: "You can't just leave everything to the police, because they are not always around. You can't just pass on by and hope things will get better." He's right, but his insight is useless if he's on his own.

63 thoughts on “Young Thugs”

  1. Honestly, Boris, I think you have to move to Canada. A beggar got up in my face today and the cops spent half an hour on the phone dealing with the whole thing, despite the fact that it was Welfare Wednesday and thus their busiest day. Really, you should just emigrate. So should he, though; he’s just what we’re looking for.

  2. Wonderful post, Boris. You’re absolutely right – we need police on the beat. We live near a bad area of Oxford and the only time we see the police is after a crime to write it down. Too bad there aren’t more bears about…

  3. The Police should be protecting the public! What I see them doing is focusing their attention on a witch hunt for motorists. They stand hidden over a crest on the road with their damned radar guns trying to generate money for the local council for the smallest infraction on the speed limit. This is under the guise of Health and Safety. Pathetic !

  4. Boot camps – Hard labour is the only way to deal with these people. A couple of days for petty crime working up to weeks or months for worse crimes. Run it by the army and it would cost a fraction of the price it costs to put them in the Hotels they have around now. Make them sort and recycle our rubbish. But first we need to be rid of the do-gooders that stop people like Lord Phillips making this a safer and easier place to live. Out with the ASBO and the ABC.

  5. Boris, in calling for tougher action on the streets you don’t go anything like far enough.

    The most productive breeding ground for antisocial behaviour – dysfunctional families apart – is the classroom. The problem must be tackled here.

    I am increasingly of the view that children over the age of criminal responsibility (currently 10) should face the full consequences of breaking the law where they step beyond the bounds of normal childish mischief. They should no longer enjoy the curious immunity of the school gates.

    (The following contains lifts from a piece I posted on the forum a while ago – apologies for the laziness).

    Those of us who haven’t set foot in a classroom for a couple of decades or more may not realise how far discipline has collapsed.

    Two of the most shocking things I have found on the internet recently were forums run for teachers – the Times Educational Supplement TES and Infnet. With their unique vantage point from chalk-face, they make truly alarming reading.

    There are stories of how teachers cry themselves to sleep after a day of near-torture in the classroom from brutish children over whom they have no control and are powerless to exclude. Stories of children from poor countries whose families had scrimped and saved to come to England for a better education, only to flee a term or two later after experiencing the mayhem of the British classroom. Of teachers who have left the profession in despair at a job where “I’d given up trying to teach them anything. I felt I’d done a good day’s work if I managed to stop a riot breaking out.”

    In a particularly chilling example of classroom lawlessness taking over, this one describes “terroring” or “griefing”, a game where children set out on a carefully planned programme of intimidation of the teacher, executed over a period of weeks, in an attempt to destroy his/her confidence and morale.

    Hand in hand with classroom anarchy is, according to many teachers, the government’s obsession with inclusion. Rotten apples who should be in a special needs school are let loose in “normal” classrooms to disrupt others and foment trouble. One teacher sums it up…

    The changes in school discipline (mainly centred around inclusion) have ensured that it is now normal for teachers to be subject to physical and verbal abuse and for school management to be engaged in concealing it. Even more than the removal of trust in teachers’ judgement, this has downgraded the role and status of teachers. The ability to survive in the jungle of modern secondary schools, to put up with the abuse, to have patience with the unwilling and uncooperative, are now more important than subject knowledge or the ability to explain material. By extension school management cannot be about managing the students, this battle is already lost. It must instead be about managing teachers, scrutinising them for signs that they are not doing their job rather than creating the climate where they are best able to do their job.

    and another

    These factors have made many classrooms a teaching-free zone. It is no longer taken for granted that a teacher is an expert who is there to give direct instruction to students who will be all be ready to learn at a similar level. Appeasement of the most disruptive students, entertainment and “activities” are the basis of much modern pedagogy.

    Offences like this would not be tolerated for a second in the workplace, so why should a teacher have to put up with them every day? And what are children learning about self-control, let alone maths, when they are free to behave like wildcats?

    The solution does not lie in more wacky NuLab initiatives or new regulations. These are offences covered by existing law: Threatening behaviour; affray; common assault; breach of the peace; theft; conspiracy; possession of an offensive weapon; criminal damage; incitement; assault occasioning actual/grievous bodily harm; harrassment (important one, that); demanding money with menaces… not to mention civil torts like slander and libel.

    Hauling children and their parents up in court and imposing suitably tough sentences would not be a pleasant experience for anyone but, by god, the word would soon get around that you can’t behave like that in a civilized society.

  6. Do something ourselves? Are you kidding?
    A couple of times I’ve remonstrated with people on buses with their filthy feet up on the seats, and what support did I get from the rest of the conscientious public? – none. They’re quite happy to go on sitting in the dog crap and drunk’s urine the feet put on the seats.
    With a few exceptions – people I know are fairly decent – I wouldn’t call an ambulance for a dying man. Why waste the battery on worthless trash like this rabble public?

  7. Kudos to lord Philip, for keeping the tradition alive,and doff my hat to you sir, for keeping us informed in so many words. God be with yee! VICTOR1

  8. < “The Police should be protecting the public! What I see them doing is focusing their attention on a witch hunt for motorists.” (Nick Singh)<

    With the exception of illegal motorists that is. If you want to evade the Road Traffic Act, don’t be silly enough to use false plates, just register your vehicle to some random company at a random address instead. The Met do nothing about it, I’m serious.

    I was working for an Inner London council a couple of years back, visiting a lettings agent. The woman I was talking to suddenly exclaimed “Oh, there’s something I want to show you, you might be able to help me with this.” She proceeded to pull a large blue file out of her desk drawer. “It’s all car registration documents, congestion charge fines, parking tickets, that sort of stuff. They keep coming to one of our empty bedsits. Have a look.”

    I did have a look and sure enough there were a few beamers, mercs and Porcshes registered to the empty flat, picking up all manner of fines, tickets etc. “You had better call the police.” I suggested. “I have done. they said it was nothing to do with them.” She told me to my surprise.

    Now I assumed that she had been talking to some idiot in a police call centre and advised her to try them again. She reckoned she wouldn’t bother, and instead would just keep the paperwork just in case.

    A few months later it came to our attention a rather dodgy car hire firm had registered all it’s vehicles in a random company name. I spent an afternoon flicking through Stone’s Justice Manual, and eventually found what I though we needed. Furnishing the DVLA with false information was indeed a criminal offence, a triable either way offence you could get two years for in fact. A colleage called to police to inform them of the situation, he got the same answer.

    Amazingly enough the Metropolitan Police do not think it is anything to do with them if you register you car under a false name and drive around London racking up fines.

  9. Someone else was blogging about his Lordship the other day in fact. Apparently he runs a ‘Citizenship Foundation’ – a laudable thing to do, he obviously cares about all these young ruffians and wants to straigten them out.

    I did however have some reservations about what he was teaching them. I posted the following at Elle Seymour’s place a few days ago on the same topic but I’ll reproduce it here:

    I’m sorry, but I’d like to rant a bit more about supporting his liberal-lefty citizenship nonsense.

    His Citizenship Foundation produces a school resource called ‘Ending Slavery and unfinished business.’

    Now when I was at school (a mixed ability state comprehensive I might add) we were taught at the age of 11 that when writing an argument essay we had to discuss both sides. This document doesn’t do that.

    Under the heading “What are the reasons for Modern Slavery” the otherwise good publication becomes onesided, stating:

    “The main reason is poverty. There is a huge pool of poor people throughout the world who are powerless and have no jobs. Because of changes in the world many of these have drifted to the outskirts of large cities. They can easily be exploited and used by those who want to make profit out of them. Another important reason is that governments allow slavery to go unpunished even though it is illegal everywhere. Sometimes this is because of corruption or because governments don’t want to offend business people, sometimes because they are just not interested and have no respect for people’s human rights. Modern slavery is part of theglobalised world. It is a huge business in which enormous profits can be made from areas like agriculture, mining, construction and prostitution.”

    I would argue the main reason is immorality. Slavery often occurs in a context of cultural and religious justification, i.e. forced labour in Saudi Arabia.

    Liberal-lefties cannot bring themselves to suggest that not all cultures are equal. If they are the only force teaching young Brits to be good Christians then we are doomed.

    It is worth taking note of what Saudi-sponsored textbooks try to teach British kids:

    http://books.guardian.co.uk/news/articles/0,,2006861,00.html

    So in effect the liberal lefties ‘citizenship’ lesson, when you bring in the ‘equality and diversity’ module, says:

    Slavery is wrong, so is any form of racism. Britain is institutionally racist but we are getting better. We don’t believe in slavery any more but we don’t believe that one man’s cultural values are superior to another mans. All of our cultures and religions are equal. In parts of the world where slavery still occur, no blame can be ascribed to foreign cultures and religions, it is all the fault of globalisation, capitalism and the fact that demand for labour is short of supply for labour. Hey, perhaps if we print lots of money and give it to the poor people we can stop slavery. Forget economics because all university degrees are equal too, why not go to the University of Stalingrad and study ‘Refugee Science with Citizenship’ and apply for a nice cushy public sector job from the guradian like I did?

  10. Here here!

    I think this post shows that the re-introduction of corporal punishment in schools is something this country is in dire need of.

    Children like those are like that because their parents teach them neither respect nor discipline. The problem the west has at the moment is that we’re too ‘humane’ to teach them it at school.

    p.s. Steven L – nice to see someone else who’s sick of all the rampant fantasy leftism in the education system!

  11. During the 60s behaviour in school comprehensives was even more unruly than it is today and the children worse cared for, but unlike today, there still existed
    respect for adults; the disorder was contained amongst the children themselves. Similarly in boarding schools through the ages, children have
    tormented each other most vilely, and I think perhaps this may even be better today.

    Some pubescent teenagers in particular must always be horrid, though they should be firmly gripped (with compassion and interest, not the cold authoritarianism of law); it is a necessary stage in their development into charming and whole adults.

    Therefore, the task is not so much one of ‘making sure all children must behave absolutely as good citizens’, but one of regaining respect, and focusing their malevolent energies amongst themselves, so that they can be taught and develop wholly.

  12. Well said Boris! Please do not waste yourself as Mayor of London, but find a way to become party leader before Brown calls an election. Your country needs you much more than London does.

  13. I just had a look at StevenL’s link above.

    Teaching materials used at the King Fahd school in Acton, west London … say Jews “engage in witchcraft and sorcery and obey Satan”, and invite pupils to “name some repugnant characteristics of Jews” and to give examples of worthless religions, such as Judaism and Christianity.

    Colin Cook, 57, a British convert to Islam who taught English at the school for 19 years until he was dismissed last December, said pupils had been heard saying they wanted to kill Americans, that 9/11 was good, and that Osama bin Laden was a hero.

    The school was originally set up to educate the children of Arab diplomats, but most of its 750 pupils are now British Muslims. It teaches Wahhabism, the dominant faith in Saudi Arabia, which is an extreme form of Islam that insists on a literal interpretation of the Qur’an.

    Astonishing. OFSTED inspectors didn’t notice all this going on. Or, if they did, they didn’t bother to report it.

  14. If you want to control kids in school we need to stop teaching them things they don’t need.
    At a very early age a good teacher can tell if a child is accademic or not. So why teach the children that are only able to work with there hand’s the engineers of the future French and Geography they don’t care if there are 17 types of clouds and rock formations nor how to say it in French they want to be in Tech building something and why put people in Tech when they don’t know which end of the screwdriver to hold. They want to be in Science learning and using there minds. But most of all they need more PE lessons so they have some way of channeling there anger and energy in a productive way instead of aiming it at the teachers.

  15. Thankyou Mr/Messers moderator for deleting, machine faults, that a train of same comments were posted. Error regreted, cant blame the machine, impatience, impertinence,in-temp rate behaviour the culprit.
    [Ed: – it’s our pleasure]

  16. I agree with a lot of what Boris writes in this article. Some kind of consistency in attitude throughout society is the only thing that will provide a solution to the problem of “difficult” youngsters. There are some types of behaviour that are unacceptable and everyone has to say ‘no’ (not just teachers). It’s called “boundary-setting”, isn’t it? If you only hold schools responsible, you’re just dumping the load onto one (at the moment) quite vulnerable sector.

    I think adults have largely brought the problem upon themselves by going to a ridiculous extreme in the emphasis on “child-centredness”. Yet some things are just common sense. Youngsters need boundaries – whether they know it or not – to protect them from themselves, their own destructive impulses and the “Lord of the Flies” scenario. They’re not adults (even though some of them may look it), they’re supposed to be learning how to “grow into adulthood”.

    The only problem with the example of Lord Phillips is that he’s dealing with 10-year-olds during the daytime and in a crowded place – I don’t know how the same situation would transfer to one adult trying to deal with a group of 15/16-year-old boys, a frightening enough prospect without the possibility that one of them may be carrying some sort of weapon.

    I think teachers in “problem schools” need a lot more support (in a tangible increase in numbers) to help out with the chaos of the classroom, at least until some proper work is done on what exactly is causing the problems in the first place.

    I think there is a kind of destabilisation in our society that needs to be examined (apart from adults having completely lost their minds over the past years). Racial and cultural tensions – yep, a big, big problem. But what about all the other influences? Youngsters seem to have too much money, too much freedom. Then there’s the media/TV and the endless stream of vacuous, empty programmes: property and where to buy your next big house; idiotic quiz-shows and trite competitions; endless reality shows; programmes like Big Brother – and I hate to sound censorious – but, let’s face it, what a prime example that is of bad behaviour being rewarded…all that attention!

    Okay, I enjoy watching some of these programmes every now and then, but I’m an adult. I know when to switch the TV off and what to choose to take seriously. But if I’ve lost respect for some of the ways in which adults make fools of themselves – well, how can I be surprised if the youngsters have as well?

    There are too many conflicting messages. How can teachers ask for any kind of standard of behaviour in the classroom if they are then contradicted (by adults) at every step of the way the minute the kids leave the classroom?

  17. Three cheers to Boris for this – I’d really far rather he remain in his present post where I think he’ll be far freer to speak out frankly than become Mayor of London.

    Corporal punishment? I’m not sure. In the present climate, the ones it’s supposed to change – the little toughies – will probably just show of the marks to their nasty little peer-group as a sort of virility badge as they do now with ASBOs. They’ll then carry on as before.

    I’d be much more in favour of either enforced nasty jobs (as suggessted by some other posters) or, where it’s casual theft, they (or maybe the parents) have pay-back to the victim stopped from their wages or benefits. That might make a few of the little tykes think twice about ‘nicking’ £200-worth of Ipod, for instance, and might encourage some of the parents to keep a better eye on their offspring.

    A couple of years ago my town had a decent little restaurant trashed by burglars: either accidentally or, more probably deliberately, they left a whole lot of water running and the inside was ruined. Cost: £8000. If I had my way, I’d make them pay back EVERY PENNY of that (perhaps with interest, too), even if it took as long as paying off a mortgage! The restaurant did recover – I think they were insured – but it took a long time to sort out.

    I think there’s a lot to be said for restorative justice as unlike a fine or indeed corporal punishment it confronts the criminal directly with the consequences of his/her actions in a way which even the dimmest could understand!

  18. Put myself out to deal with anti-social behaviour? Are you kidding?
    A couple of times I’ve complained on buses to louts with their filthy feet up on the seats where others have to sit, and what support have I had from the rest of the magnificent passsengers? None. They just stare with that eternal dozy expression on their dozy faces. Apparently they don’t mind having to sit in the dog’s crap or the drunk’s vomit those feet deposit over the place.
    And ask anyone what they think about the appalling level of noise we’ve got to put up with today, and it’s the same glazed stare.
    Nobody will do anything about anything; the public is quite happy to live like like pigs.
    Apart from my own family and a few other people I know personally to be not so bad, I wouldn’t bother to call an ambulance for a dying man. Why should I waste my battery on this rabble public?

  19. Boris, where was your brain when you wrote about young thugs for the Telegraph? You wrote “Why do we need to call the police every time we see someone swearing loudly or scratching graffiti? The answer is simple. We call the police, because disapproval no longer works, and for the very good (?) reason we have mainly lost the confidence to interfere ourselves.”
    What utter rubbish! Confidence has been taken away from us. The reason we don’t interfere is because authority has been removed by our elected representatives. Boris, do you really need reminding that law were enacted that took authority away from adults and gave a stick to every youth to beat us with? Why in the name of sanity are people wringing their hands over unruly young people when government relinquished authority and respect that had previously been earned by older and ‘wiser’ citizens of this great nation. We, the people, have meekly bowed our heads while successive governments have virtually destroyed every vestige of social responsibility for ethical behaviour.
    You regard Lord Phillips as a hero. My father was a real hero. When I told him the principal of my elementary school smacked my hand with a ruler, he gave me several more whacks for misbehaving. Years later I realized how much I owed my father for teaching me, with true fatherly care, the meaning of self discipline and correct deportment.
    I am deeply ashamed and disgusted with what is happening in this democracy, where the lowest common denominator is given undue respect and encouragement to suppress those of us who know the answers but have had our authority taken from us by ‘democratically’ elected representatives who are supposed to uphold what is reasonable, just and simply common sense.
    You want to be Lord Mayor of London?

  20. Britain really is a crazy country these days. Both the youth and the police are equally out of control. The police really need to start concentrating more on enforcing the values of the community instead of running their organisation for their own benefit.

  21. I am deeply ashamed and disgusted with what is happening in this democracy (Kevin Scott)

    So am I. Disgusted anyway. Only slightly ashamed, simply for living through this.

    It’s a truly upside down world where children lord over adults, with the full backing of the law. How on earth can the government blame parents for the behaviour of their children, when they have taken away their authority to control them? I suppose it’s all being done under the mad egalitarian conviction that children have equal rights, or greater rights, than parents. Or something. Who cares.

    I think that one can state with conviction that this topsy-turvy state of affairs is not ‘sustainable’ for long. There. I used a favourite lefy buzzword. ‘Sustainable’. I predict that this mad experiment will end with the strong re-assertion of adult values. I might even suggest that we may even see the return of the cane. I foresee an extremely strong, perhaps even explosive, rightwing reaction to much of what is happening now in our society. The pendulum swings one way, and then it swings the other.

    I don’t predict this with any pleasure. It just seems to me to be inevitable. People will grow sick of idealistic folly, if they aren’t sick enough already. And that will find expression.

  22. < “People will grow sick of idealistic folly, if they aren’t sick enough already. And that will find expression.” (idlex)<

    Yes, they will grow sick of the idealistic follies of free trade and capitalism. They will yearn for progression to a true representative democracy, and only through embracing socialism will they achieve their dreams and aspirations.

    We, the friends of Ken Livingstone will continue the struggle for a world where there is no business to enslave us and everyone receives a ‘Citizens Income’ regardless of whether they choose to work or not.

  23. … and everyone receives a ‘Citizens Income’ regardless of whether they choose to work or not.

    Count me in, comrade! £30k would do nicely. Trainers and ringtones are sooo expensive these days.

  24. Well done Boris, a good and full understanding of what this country needs a pollition with a back bone, and the police who can remember what the law is about .

  25. Do something ourselves? – Not me.
    One several occasions I’ve spoken to yobs on a bus with their filthy feet all over the seats, and what support do I get from the other passengers? – none.
    Down the park the youths sit with their feet up on the seats too, and what do the public do – come along and happily sit in the dog crap and gob those feet have left behind.
    I’ve also spoken to kids who make a nuisance at the flats I live in, and how do my neighbours help me? – they don’t. (Some of them don’t even bother to put their rubbish in the communal bin, they just dump it out on the pavement.)
    No one cares, no one bothers. Do anything, and this wonderful public gawps at you with a glazed expression in its eyes.
    Apart from my family, and a very few other people I know to have retained some decency, I wouldn’t call an ambulance for a dying man.
    Why should I waste my battery on any of this this rabble public?

  26. Both “friends of ken livingstone” and PaulD should know that anti-social behaviour is nothing to do with being in work or out of it.
    There are unemployed people who behave well, and there are employed people who behave badly.
    The truth is that a yob is a yob is a yob, and whether you’re signing in at the Job centre or not makes no difference to your basic character.

  27. my girlfriend’s co-worker got her son taken away from her by social services because she smacked him in the bottom (with her hand) and he just complained at school.

    now, if a parent can’t straighten up a poor kid’s trousers, as it were, do you expect me to take any action involving a stranger child? to end up in jail, perhaps?

    the wonders of political correctness and decades of leftist education theories (that never get taken back regardless of proving successful or not)…

    p.s. i’ve always voted center-left (social-democrat), btw.

  28. In his last thread, Boris told us how important his bike was to him. Yet he celebrates speed, the thing which survey after survey shows to be the main deterrent to people when they consider using their bikes:

    “[On driving a Ferrari]: ‘I seemed to be averaging a speed of X
    and then the M3 opened up before me, a long quiet Bonneville
    flat stretch, and I am afraid it was as though the whole county
    of Hampshire was lying back [Ed: moderated]

  29. I can’t say there is anything in your writing here that I disagree with. Being of the age to be conisdred a yob, it does anoy me that, beacause of some idiots I get tarred with the same brush. I think you will find there are actually large numbers of kids my age (16-18). Who dislike the Yobs as much as people of your age. They don’t respect anyone not even us.

  30. I’m sure you’re right, Justin, but I’m not sure if Boris is the right person to be opining about it.

    Can I relate to you a conversation [ED: moderated]

  31. “I think you will find there are actually large numbers of kids my age (16-18). Who dislike the Yobs as much as people of your age. They don’t respect anyone not even us.” (Justin)

    Well said, Justin.

    Regarding some of the other recent comments and quotings from the Compass Report – Naomi: look, don’t try and undermine someone probably younger than yourself when he’s had the guts to speak up for himself. Okay?

  32. Naomi, Scropper, Tomato, or whoever you are today, has it not occured to you that Boris might have been trying to get rid of the pest, if indeed this exchange happened at all?

    Moderator, I think you have a case for pressing that rarely-used button…

  33. Exactly PaulD, has any journalist ever said that they got beaten up by a Darius Guppy paid thug?

    Let’s face it, it would be quite a scoop these days, but no one has come forward.

    I’ve agreed to do things for people over the phone hundreds of times that I’ve had no intention of doing (I do work in telesales mind you).

  34. “We, the friends of Ken Livingstone will continue the struggle for a world where there is no business to enslave us and everyone receives a ‘Citizens Income’ regardless of whether they choose to work or not.”

    I’m quite a fan of this ‘citizen’s income’ as it would do away with the armies of bureaucrats maladministering todays means tested benefits, (freeing them up to enter the labour market & reducing our reliance on low cost & often abused immigrant labour) and provide a smoother fiscal transition from not working to working. Right now, facing the loss of their means tested benefits can make work a fiscal blunder for some, but with a base level of income dependent upon circumstance, to be topped up through work, the transition from jobless poverty to rewarding endeavour could be greatly smoothed. Clearly other reforms, such as time limited benefits, transferrable tax allowances for married couples with children, etc, would need to be rolled in with this wise reform to achieve it’s full intent.

  35. We do need proper cops on the street! Boris, why don’t you campaign to have local police chiefs elected? That way if they don’t stop the crime they lose their jobs!

  36. What there needs to be is a clear indication of what we can and cannot do. It’s OK for you as a politician to wave your PPE Oxford degree and suggest that we take back our streets. But in actuality if the police say, “that he was wrong to try to exercise any authority himself” as the Police officer said to Lord Phillips, then what hope does our society have of tackling this behaviour?

    If the Police and public are made aware on a broad scale of what they can and cannot do, then there shouldn’t be a problem in tackling this issue.

    It seems as if there is a contradiction between the law of our defense by what the spokeswoman says and what the Policemen and women are actually trained to enforce.

  37. Its’ very difficult for the police to be as effective as they could be when their hands are tied up with red tape, their mouths are closed by the pc truth robbers, and there is less and less of decent law for them to enforce. To be a pc these days, you have to be pc. The problem with unruly and uncontrollable children , in my opinion, begins at home, and is the fault of the governments increasingly anti family legislation of the past 40 years, together with the culture of permissivess, mediocrity, stupidity, and filth generated by the media. Without respect, discipline goes by the board. What is there for children to respect anymore, with parents who are divorced or merely single, who have little or no moral or religious compass themselves, and laws which promote and protect immorality, and cossett barbaric behaviour. This is no longer a civilized society. I have been in conversation numerous times with Asians and Africans who are scandalized at the stupidity and sheer evil of our culture of feminism, divorce, sodomy, permissiveness, abortion, and protection and importation of criminals. All cultures, even the most basic ones, understand and teach their children right from wrong and respect for parents, particularly for the father. The family is the cradle of civilization; of any society. To bring down civilization you need only destroy the family, and to do that you decapitate it. In England, that has now been achieved.

  38. Pauld “…that Boris might have been trying to get rid of the pest, if indeed this exchange happened at all?”

    Perhaps, but if so it raises the interesting question of what sort of spell did Guppy have over Johnson, that Boris felt obliged to say “I’ll do it” rather than “Don’t be a pillock Guppy, I don’t believe in beating up journalists”. It’s unusual weakness at best.

  39. MAYORAL HELP

    BORIS… Conservatives in Islington ( ie me !!!)got the Lease holder organisations a meeting with Michael Gove and they have now been delighted to see the following . There are a lot of votes in this for you and nothing to lose .There 11,000 leaseholders in Islington and they are all politicised by the imposition of class warfare style service charges .

    If I can help at all with contacts or details please let me know but don`t miss the opportunity please

    THis recieved

    Thanks, and I think we should all feel considerable satisfaction at this excellent result.

    In this, I particularly include and , and , who helped make the rally a success and show the politicians the strength of feeling.

    On to the Mayoral election, once Boris is nominated.

    Subject: News Flash: Conservatives propose capping of leaseholder major works service charge bills at £10K
    Dear Leaseholders

    See today’s lead story at http://www.conservatives.com/

    “Restoring pride in our public services”

    Click on the full report link, PDF attached for reference, see page 137

    We recognise that RTB purchasers and leaseholders are an important part of creating sustainable and mixed communities. Recent repair bills under the Decent Homes Standard however have seen leaseholders face charges of approaching £40,000. We believe that more must be done to protect leaseholders against these high charges if we are to encourage mixed communities in which the private and social sector exist side by side.

    Proposal 7 – we recommend that there should be a cap of £10,000 on leaseholder repair bills

    Pass it on to others and your local papers/councillors/MPs etc.

    Looks like that meeting with Michael Gove may have resulted in something after all!

    Best Regards

    .

    Please Mel or someone make sure Boris is aware of this there is no down side and serious numbers of Boris voters . beside which he outght to be supprting them and he deserves credit for his efforts to help Islingnton COnservatives

    I have emailed as well.

  40. Bring back Corporal Punishment and National Service, that would buck their ideas up !

    Tony Heron / Thailand

  41. If everyone started to stand up then maybe things will change. I for one will not put up with it and I voice my opinion where ruffians are concerned and I stand tall and look them in the eye. No as yet I have never been met with violence on my person only alot of veral abuse, but I never back down. I think the world needs to stand up to this minority rabble and the more that do it the better. It may eventually show the bad element that we done accept their behavior and we Wont put up with it. Well done Lord Philips we need more like you. 🙂

  42. I was watching the latest BBC interview with Boris
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_6970000/newsid_6976600/6976643.stm?bw=bb&mp=wm&nol_storyid=6976643&news=1
    where they touch on this subject. The point he perhaps didn’t make strongly enough is that, if the public will and conscience was mobilised, we would not need have-a-go heroes.

    If 20 people spontanously and determinedly rounded on kids who were slashing seats on the tube, they would soon get the message.

    As things are, people aren’t prepared to get involved because they don’t expect any help from onlookers, let alone from the police.

  43. I can understand the moderation of the Boris – Guppy conversation further up the thread, that’s something that’s best brushed over, but not the moderation of the Ferrari quote:

    [On driving a Ferrari]: ‘I seemed to be averaging a speed of X
    and then the M3 opened up before me, a long quiet Bonneville
    flat stretch, and I am afraid it was as though the whole county
    of Hampshire was lying back and opening her well-bred legs to
    be ravished by the Italian stallion.’ (Life in the Fast Lane p261)

    I can’t see too much to moderate there.

  44. I don’t know if you know of this or not, but a while ago Boris was looking for a parliamentary intern. He later wrote an article to the Spectator saying how impressed he was with the quality of the candidates. I would’ve applied, but since Boris, with all his money does not pay for people for their work (unlike most in the parliament) so I couldn’t afford it as I don’t work for nothing. I assume he doesn’t, either. Obviously, his jobs are only for those who can afford to work for free whilst mum and dad’s trust fund covers the expenses. Living in London is expensive. It’s not about talent, it’s about family background. That is what Boris can’t give to London and what London doesn’t want from him. Go back to oxbridge.

  45. Johanna, with such a bitter and twisted view of life you wouldn’t have got the job – even if you’d offered to pay him.

  46. “The Ferrari quote – I can’t see too much to moderate there.” (stacy)

    No, I can’t see any need to moderate it, either. It wasn’t the quote – which I find quite funny – that annoyed me in the above thread. What are we being told? That writers can’t indulge in the odd metaphor every now and then, or get carried away by the odd flight of fancy, without everybody tut-tutting or looking askance? I think Boris has a deft way of getting up the moralists’ noses – the ‘V’ sign in prose. (Mind you, I do find a lot of racing-drivers pretty boring…but that’s a different matter.)

    It was actually the second contribution from Naomi that bothered me and for the reasons I gave. While the Boris/Guppy allegations are pretty problematic, I didn’t find the treatment above particularly illuminating or useful. (Anyway, didn’t the whole thing blow up years ago – and wasn’t it dealt with then?)

    NB: I’m not totally sure that Johanna is “bitter and twisted” if she can’t afford to work without getting paid…but surely a parliamentary intern would have had some sort of salary…?

  47. In the 80s, a young man from a terrace-house and a northern comprehensive got into Oxford. He made the long journey down with his parents full of anticipation.

    On the first evening, something seemed wrong. Everyone else in the college already seemed to have friends: wearing baggy cords, stripey shirts and brogues, they disappeared off together leaving the northern comprehensive student alone.

    Soon it became clear: not only did they only want to be friends with their friends from public-school, some of them even celebrated it by having an exclusive friend-group called the Bullingdon Dining Club.

    The young man from the comprehensive spent a lonely 3 years at the Oxford college, and was fully aware that his friends who had gone to university in Manchester, Hull and Newcastle were having a much better time. He did not want to let his parents down though, so he put up with 3 years of rubbing shoulders with people who didn’t want to know him.

    Is it time Boris apologised for the Bullingdon Dining Club?

  48. I get very annoyed with mobile music on the bus and have a new strategy. It works. Go and sit next to the offender(s), even if the bus is empty, and adopt the look of someone slightly bonkers. Say ‘I really like that music, what is it?’ and nod your head along with the beat, smiling all the while. Continue until offenders get off the bus horrified that a mad old bat likes their music, or even better, turn it off in hope of getting rid of the old bat. Mission accomplished, children shamed, me amused and empowered! Better than sitting there fuming and full of a pent up desire to kill said teens.

    But seriously, sometime talking to children with respect and a calm voice rather than just shouting can work wonders (they probably get quite enough shouting at home). I am known in my area (Highbury, London) as the wife of a local teacher, so on occasion shouts of ‘Mrs Lewis is a slapper’ or ‘a mother****er’ are heard. I simply address this by saying, ‘oh, now how do you think I could be the latter when I don’t have the relevant body part’ all the time smiling and engaging eye contact – it works! I have learned these techniques from my teacher husband (who works in sink schools) and they are effective. Speak clearly, politely and firmly to children – yobs, what have you – be nice to them even, and sometimes it is very effective. If they shout back or become aggressive you simply say firmly and nicely ‘I spoke to you politely, there’s no need to be rude’ and walk away (no need to get yourself knifed).

  49. Unfortunately the majority of roads are not safe for a 10 year old to cycle on. The idea that a 10 year old on a bike is more dangerous than a ton of car exceeding the speed limit is laughable. It does not take a CGSE in physics to realise that force = mass x acceleration and on that basis the 10 year olds would have to be traveling at over 200 miles an hour to inflict anything like the damage sustained by being hit by a car. It is smug and irresponsible car drivers, exceeding the speed limit, breaking the law and condoning their own actions while complaining about the unprotected children expected to share the road with them we should be worrying about. Incidentally I do not permit my 8 year old or my 10 year old to cycle on busy roads, not least because not all 10 year olds, let alone 8 year olds, are capable of accurately judging the speed and distance of cars. (Sad, but a physiological fact). As there is no cycle path you have guessed it they cycle to school on the pavement. The alternative is driving them to school. I have, horror, taught them to cycle (with care) on the pavement because they are at far more risk from cars on the road than any pedestrian is from their bikes. It is not their fault no provision has been made for their needs. If stopped they explain this politely, and most people, including the police, are sympathetic. I do not condone blinkered, rude, selfish, loutish or aggressive language or behaviour,and on that basis many of the posters here need to address the plank in their own eye before moving on to the shortcomings of others.
    One more point- If you poison children with car fumes, feed them swill, force them to drink contaminated water reeking of plastic because it is too much trouble to provide fresh in school, overcrowd them in ugly, poorly maintained buildings, congest roads and restrict their freedom, force both parents to work full time and hence neglect or institutionalise them, and or bring them up in poverty, allow promotion of junk food, and permit exploitation by an overly sexualised media- you get what you deserve. Hand them a world on the brink of environmental, social, and economic collapse and preach, from the age of 4, the need for them to clean it up while all around them continue to destroy it, and expect them to thank you for it. That’s the ticket. My children are not yobs, far far from it, but I suspect little thanks is due to the good posters here. Try apologising to every yob you meet, it’s never difficult to think of something.

  50. Cycling on the pavement is illegal so despite all your self-righteousness about other posters here, you’re boasting that you teach your children to break the law. And to disrespect, inconvenience and endanger pedestrians. If it’s not safe for them to cycle to school legally, and since you won’t drive them, they should take public transport or walk. I always love how holier-than-thou cyclists just can’t imagine dismounting and walking any sort of distance. It sounds to me like you’re teaching them to have the same chip on their shoulder you have.

  51. I would have a lot more sympathy for Lord Pillips if he did not take the Liberal Democrat whip in the House of Lords. In fact, I would have every sympathy for him. Let me explain my peevish partisanship.

    Since the height of the Second Lebanon War last year when Israel responded to a legitimate causus belli – which Messrs Hague and Cameron used as an excuse to indulge the sophistry of what constitutes “disproportionate” – I have been subject to no less than 10 anti-Semitic incidents on the streets of London.

    Some, it is granted, have been minor; several simply unpleasant, but two constituted outright physical assault. Whatever the severity of the crimes committed against me, no level of anti-Semitism is tolerable.

    There is much debate as to the causes of this discernable rise in anti-Semitism in Britain amongst those untouched by it: for those who are its victims, it is more than clear that such incidents usually coalesce around events concerning Israel, fuelled by the anti-Israel bias of the liberal press and media, the Guardian, Independent and BBC by far the worst examples – to the point that anti-Israel sentiment is now mere cultural shorthand for anti-Semitism proper, and a large proportion of it stoked by the so-called “liberal” left and its ineffable “agenda”.

    By far the worst offenders of this phenomenon are the Liberal Democrats, their ranks replete with garrulous mavericks seemingly waiting only for the opportunity to conflate Israel bashing with their anti-Semitism. By far the greatest exponent of this is Baroness Jenny Tonge, once sacked from front bench politics in the Commons for expressing sympathy with Islamist Palestinian suicide bombers and then unaccountably sent to the Lords for her crimes where she continues to indulge her vitriolic and vicious attacks on Israel, to the point that Sir Menzies Campbell carpeted her for her statements “bordering on anti-Semitism”. He could not find a way to sack her. No sooner was this charade completed but the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Lords, Tom McNally, promoted her to Junior Health Spokesindividual in replacement of Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger, now President of the radical denomination of Progressive Judaism known in Britain as Liberal Judaism. Neuberger, who has never once been elected to anything, has remained stubbornly silent and reluctant to condemn Tonge’s remarks, putting the lie to a 30 year, vocal and strident career of media manipulation in the Liberal Democrat cause – and thereby reducing her principles to nothing more than vacuous cant.

    My correspondence with Campbell continues with regard to Jenny Tonge and I tire of his offhand dismissal of my concerns. The last incident to which I was subject coincided with Tonge’s recent promotion, proving beyond any debate the law of cause and effect in respect of her rantings. This is then followed by Lord Phillips crawling out of the hedgerows of the leafy county of Suffolk, grumbling about a group of children spoiling his rural idyll.

    When the Liberal Democrats as a political party finally get around to condemning Tonge, Julia Neuberger deafens us with her condemnations rather than her obdurate silence and when this irresponsible woman finally has the Liberal Democrat Whip removed and is dispatched into the outer darkness occupied by David Irving and his like, I shall be a lot more sympathetic to Lord Phillips and his ilk.

    And maybe I shall be able to walk the streets of London in peace – as is my right.

  52. I would have a lot more sympathy for Lord Pillips if he did not take the Liberal Democrat whip in the House of Lords. In fact, I would have every sympathy for him. Let me explain my peevish partisanship.

    Since the height of the Second Lebanon War last year when Israel responded to a legitimate causus belli – which Messrs Hague and Cameron used as an excuse to indulge the sophistry of what constitutes “disproportionate” – I have been subject to no less than 10 anti-Semitic incidents on the streets of London.

    Some, it is granted, have been minor; several simply unpleasant, but two constituted outright physical assault. Whatever the severity of the crimes committed against me, no level of anti-Semitism is tolerable.

    There is much debate as to the causes of this discernable rise in anti-Semitism in Britain amongst those untouched by it: for those who are its victims, it is more than clear that such incidents usually coalesce around events concerning Israel, fuelled by the anti-Israel bias of the liberal press and media, the Guardian, Independent and BBC by far the worst examples – to the point that anti-Israel sentiment is now mere cultural shorthand for anti-Semitism proper, and a large proportion of it stoked by the so-called “liberal” left and its ineffable “agenda”.

    By far the worst offenders of this phenomenon are the Liberal Democrats, their ranks replete with garrulous mavericks seemingly waiting only for the opportunity to conflate Israel bashing with their anti-Semitism. By far the greatest exponent of this is Baroness Jenny Tonge, once sacked from front bench politics in the Commons for expressing sympathy with Islamist Palestinian suicide bombers and then unaccountably sent to the Lords for her crimes where she continues to indulge her vitriolic and vicious attacks on Israel, to the point that Sir Menzies Campbell carpeted her for her statements “bordering on anti-Semitism”. He could not find a way to sack her. No sooner was this charade completed but the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Lords, Tom McNally, promoted her to Junior Health Spokesindividual in replacement of Rabbi Baroness Julia Neuberger, now President of the radical denomination of Progressive Judaism known in Britain as Liberal Judaism. Neuberger, who has never once been elected to anything, has remained stubbornly silent and reluctant to condemn Tonge’s remarks, putting the lie to a 30 year, vocal and strident career of media manipulation in the Liberal Democrat cause – and thereby reducing her principles to nothing more than vacuous cant.

    My correspondence with Campbell continues with regard to Jenny Tonge and I tire of his offhand dismissal of my concerns. The last incident to which I was subject coincided with Tonge’s recent promotion, proving beyond any debate the law of cause and effect in respect of her rantings. This is then followed by Lord Phillips crawling out of the hedgerows of the leafy county of Suffolk, grumbling about a group of children spoiling his rural idyll.

    When the Liberal Democrats as a political party finally get around to condemning Tonge, Julia Neuberger deafens us with her condemnations rather than her obdurate silence and when this irresponsible woman finally has the Liberal Democrat Whip removed and is dispatched into the outer darkness occupied by David Irving and his like, I shall be a lot more sympathetic to Lord Phillips and his ilk.

    And maybe I shall be able to walk the streets of London in peace – as is my right.

  53. And Britain should have bombed Dublin every time the IRA kidnapped a British soldier, and blitzkrieged Boston and New York every time the IRA fired a bullet or let off a bomb. Anti-Semitism is unforgivable, as is defending Israeli Zionist OTT aggression.

  54. You’re right. Everyone knows it. Even the silly PC brigade. The criminals have been setting the agenda for ages in the UK. The CCTV, all the crime signs, ‘it’s an offence to do this, do that’ – it’s all telling the yobs they’re in control of society. The sane majority has to reassert control, assume and insist on pro-social behaviour and collectively resist anti-social behaviour. The yob on the tube relies on everyone else keeping their head down when one brave person makes a challenge; it’ll be a different picture when finally everyone in the carriage stands up and forces the yob to back down. It’s so easy to do as long as people stand together because, of course, the vast majority do object – strongly – to the loutish minority.

  55. You’re right. Everyone knows it. Even the silly PC brigade. The criminals have been setting the agenda for ages in the UK. The CCTV, all the crime signs, ‘it’s an offence to do this, do that’ – it’s all telling the yobs they’re in control of society. The sane majority has to reassert control, assume and insist on pro-social behaviour and collectively resist anti-social behaviour. The yob on the tube relies on everyone else keeping their head down when one brave person makes a challenge; it’ll be a different picture when finally everyone in the carriage stands up and forces the yob to back down. It’s so easy to do as long as people stand together because, of course, the vast majority do object – strongly – to the loutish minority.

  56. Apparently there are only 1 in 58 Police on the streets, it looks to me as though the Govt wants society to destroy itself….must be really frustrating that British are generally rather civilised…..and law abiding…so whast do they do..release violent criminals early and DONT deport foreign violent crims…Result…

    We are constantly lied to about who commits most crime in the UK, all we ever heart about is cases where Brits have commited crimes, like….Ian Huntley, Fred West, Beverly Allet, the Dunblane Massacre, the Black Panther Murders, the Stephen Lawrence Murder, Dr Shipman
    Peter Sutcliffe, Damiola Taylor, Chris Langham, MichaelBarrymore, the Guy in Portugal Maddelaine case…All Shown month after month after month,after month..Brainwashing the british…

    Here’s the Mets 12 Most wanted list..
    http://www.met.police.uk/wanted/

    Here’s their 15 Most wanted
    http://www.met.police.uk/wanted/othercases.htm

    Here’s west Midlands most wanted..
    http://www.west-midlands.police.uk/wanted/index.asp

    It is clear to me that Our Govt does not want us so we are to be slaughtered by an ever growing number of imported ‘hitmen’
    (On contract with free housing and benefits no doubt)
    who they repeatedly fail to deport when caught or are released early even if they do get caught…Suppose we get killed, well thats another Brit out the way…Suppose instead some Brit defends himself…well then its plastered all over the Media as yyet another evil racist crime..so the Brit end up in Jail…where he is then in exactly the same predicament…

    http://iamanenglishman.com/rogues_gallery.php
    We never see these in the News Either.
    Is this slaughter another way for the Left to get rid of the British.English.
    http://newnation.org/NNN-UK-Europe.html

    http://thefallenlist.blogspot.com/

    While I’m here can I post this, its a worthy cause..

    Help our Troops, Lets Honour the Covenent, Poor equipment, Pay, Low Morale…being sent to war in thin skinned Landrovers
    when better armoured vehicles are available.Hundreds have died through this appaling situation.

    http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/index.cfm?asset_id=516704

    There are 60 Million People in this country that in order for this campaign to grow, this link must be Passed on
    60 Million times.Pretty Impossible huh…
    NO not at all..

    If instead of Passing it on to one of your Mates, you pass it in to two and ask them to do the same a rather miraculous thing happens.
    If 1 Person emails the link to Two, asking them in turn to do the same, thats 4 People involved, if they in turn do the same thats 8 People Involved, if they in turn do the same thats 16…….etc etc…

    Here are the Numbers….1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128 256 512 1024 2048 4096….etc ect…the result being that in Only 30 steps you can help get this Important mesage to 30 Million British People…..all you have to do is sign the Petition asking the Govt to Give our troops better conditions and equipment them Pass the link to Two (or more) close friends, collegues of family members,
    Making Sure you ask them to do the same…copy and past this entire piece to two (or more) other People.

    Lets snowball this worthy cause…

  57. I don’t know a huge amount about politics (being a spritely 16 in age), however this last weekend myself and a group of friends were attacked and two friends punched by 4 18 year old young men with nothing better to do and without provocation. How can our country have become like this? And what can we possibly do?

  58. Well said!

    I wish your party had the guts to speak up like that; they would have the support of the overwhelming majority of the voters.

  59. “Cycling on the pavement is illegal so despite all your self-righteousness about other posters here, you’re boasting that you teach your children to break the law. And to disrespect, inconvenience and endanger pedestrians. If it’s not safe for them to cycle to school legally, and since you won’t drive them, they should take public transport or walk.”

    I am not boasting, I am pointing out that the law in this respect is an ass, and that road users who reqularly and self righteously break speed limits are acting, literally, hundreds of times more dangerously than a 10 year old ‘yob’ on a bike. Cars do not disrespect, inconvenience and endanger children, they kill them. Unfortunately there is no form of public transport which would get my children to school, I cannot drive them since I have no access to a car during the day, even if I wished to which I do not, and it would take more than an hour to walk to school, each way that is. With a heavy bag instead of panniers. As it happens the paths have now been converted, in the last few weeks, to dual pedestrian/bike use, and many local precincts are to follow suit. Because sensible people understand my point is perfectly valid once they think about it properly. And the hard evidence is that pedestrians are at relatively low risk, compared to the alternatives. Boot camp i.e. physically abuse cycling children or make reasonable provision for them- which strikes you as the reasonable option?

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