The overall response to Conservative leader, David Cameron’s new policy on “Hoodies” has not been universally positive and Thanet North MP, Roger Gale, has taken some criticism for his support of Mr Cameron.
In his Gale’s View for today, Roger explains why we need to take a different view of a problem, that I am sure, concerns the majority of people in Thanet..
“They fought on the beaches of East Kent. Throughout the early sixties gangs of Mods and Rockers gathered on the sands fuelled by alcohol and hatred and hell-bent on murder and sudden death. It was not a pretty or an acceptable sight, it terrorised innocent and law abiding citizens and visitors and it rightly attracted condemnation in press and parliament.
It would not have been right, though, to condemn every wearer of the "drapes and drains" that preceded them, every buttoned-down scooter rider and every leather-clad biker as a public enemy. As always, the hooligan minority tarred, and continues to tar, a fun-seeking and innocent majority with the same brush.
I have not, in the past, always agreed with Mr. David Cameron and I do not doubt that we shall have to agree to disagree over certain issues in the future. I do, though, believe that he is right to speak out in defence of the lawful wearing of the hooded sweatshirt.
In post-war memory, from the Teddy Boys, through Mods and Rockers, the Hippies and flower-power seeking wearers of Kaftans and Loons and beads, we have rebelled against "authority" - which has tended to mean anything that our parents wore and believed in! I don't doubt that pre-war families had as much difficulty throughout the "Roaring Twenties" and some of Shakespeare's teenage tearaways suggest that this particular diversion goes back quite a long way!
The sad and significant fact is that a very few anti-social louts, tanked up on lager and testosterone and sometimes drugs as well can breed fear and loathing in a normally tolerant and properly liberal society.
Foul language, graffiti, violence, criminality are unacceptable at any time and at any age in any generation and the book needs to be thrown now, as it has been in the past, at the perpetrators. I think, particularly, of one local oaf who left one of my constituents, making his peaceful way home, in a coma and was left to walk the streets by a politically-correct set of guidelines from the Lord Chancellor's department).
As we also know, though, and as is born out annually by the growing number of nominations for the TryAngle Awards scheme, most young people enjoy life to the full, play music and sport, contribute to the community and want to work hard and to make a success of their young lives.
David Cameron has rightly identified a disadvantaged and disillusion minority that do require the kind of additional challenge, encouragement and support that is offered by organisations such as Fairbridge in Kent, The Weston Spirit, Toynbee Hall, Operation Raleigh and they Duke of Edinburgh's award scheme.
Instead of wringing our hands, blaming the police and other authorities for their failure and banning "hoodies" from out-of-town shopping malls we might just be better off investing a little more time and money in offering disciplined alternatives to vandalism. Some form of "national service" surely has a great deal to offer and the return on such an investment might surprise us all.”