Friday, July 14, 2006

Gale's View - A Different View of Hoodies

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.”


Anonymous said...

"Gale's View" has prompted a backlash that has clearly riled the author. He advertises this blog on his website, and obviously presumes it will generally be supportive towards him. And indeed it is. The fact that commentators lambasted his views and his hypocrisy on this occasion is obviously not what he expected or wanted.

He is offering nothing here bar a regurgitated version of his original missive, which demonstrates he has nothing more to offer. His reference to "national service" shows how anachronistic he is, and how little in substance he and his Party have to support the headline-grabbing soundbite they so foolishly launched on "hoodies".

Perhaps when he has some serious suggestions and proposals for action to advance - and not just cheap and irrelevant jibes at the Lord Chancellor's Department - he will put them forward.

For now he is proving that he has just been caught on the hop.

DrMoores said...

Actually this and a second piece on the NatWest three, were written at almost the same time as the first item on hoodies but for some unknown reason, Roger chose to embrago it until later in the week, so there wasn't any "riling" involved.. Not sure that word exists though!

Anonymous said...

A rarity to be able to challenge your obviously expert knowledge and use of language, Dr Moores, but yes it does. "Rile - to annoy or anger; irritate" (Collins)

Anonymous said...

Where I think the MP is right is that violence and criminality among young people (indeed all ages) is not a new phenomenon. It goes back a very long way. The difference I see is that perhaps twenty or thirty years ago, an intervention by an adult/older person, or someone in "authority" would have been enough to stop the trouble; today it represents a challenge and prompts a reaction if not a fight back.

There are various strongly held views about the causes of this, but frankly, I think it is a waste of time to opt for permanent analysis. What we should be focussing on is what to do about it. Strong legal penalties for some is clearly the answer, and yes that should mean prison with a hard regime, but also training. For others, a different solution might be appropriate. There is also a need to rebuild the concept of respect in our culture.

An additional problem is that society wants it all ways. How often is a youngster killed or injured trespassing on the railway, usually because they are drunk, drugged or stupid. The public reaction? The railway should have better fencing, better patrolling...the youngster was a good individual, loved by everyone etc etc. I have witnessed youngsters without tickets giving real grief to train guards. They are ejected from the train, and complaints follow about abandoning a poor defenceless child. I think society needs a reality check.

DrMoores said...

Yes but is "Riling" in there as the present continuous use of the verb to "Rile" you tell me?

10:26 had a good point. I felt I had to intervene last Saturday to prevent three teenage boys beating a young seagull to death with a stick. I had been watching them chasing it along the road and I was with my daughter who was distressed by what she was witnessing. I knew that asking nicely wouldn't work and so I was rather more direct, removing the stick from the largest of the young thugs and breaking it. They f**d and blinded for a while but backed off. !0:26 is right that once upon a time, an adult "telling off" would be enough but today, one can't be sure that a physical attack if not verbal abuse will follow.

Maveric said...

I wonder what the "hug a hoodie" brigade would say if the core feral louts, who make no mistake take delight in their overt attack on our way of life, wore nazi uniforms. They are not, as a previous posting suggested, like the mods and rockers who were then
hell bent on knocking seven bells out of each other. Hoodies, allegedly supported by mindless nice little boys from next door (who does Mr Cameron they he is kidding), are hell bent on one thing, and that is to terrorise normal law abiding citizens. Yes of course we all went through the rebel stage, but this latest trend is way over the top, and society has got to say NO. And no silly pathetic excuses about "issues" either. If they were animals and bit someone, we wouldn't tolerate it and quite rightly they would be put down. There have got to be severe penalties so that even the most hardened little thug thinks twice, and that certainly doesn't include the threat of Roger or David running accros the road with their arms outstretched.

Anonymous said...

Roger seems to miss two important facts - the first is that the mods and rockers only beat each other up.
The second is that the hoodies are cowards - they do the thefts,graffiti vandalism and violence etc to law abiding members of the public secure in the knowledge they are unidentifiable with their hoods pulled over their heads.
Its not so much a style of dress as a camouflage.
Its worn for a purpose and that purpose is not to look fashionable but to prevent identification and arrest.
Roger, lets face it, you have got this all seriously wrong.

Just ask yourself if, late one night you are walking along a quiet street and you see a group of hoodies, their faces deep in the shadow of their hoods, in front of you on the pavement.
Are you going to hug them or are you going to at least cross to the other side of the road ?

Anonymous said...

Gale is clearly losing it all round on law and order. Like many of his Tory colleagues he obviously believes it is wrong to extradite the "Natwest 3" to the States to face the music over the Enron financial scandal.

Of course these are, to people like Gale, "soft crooks", the type his Party tend not to condemn, and who in many cases are Tory members and supporters. They are seen as quite different from the muggers who prey on elderly and vulnerable people.

But they are no different. They are still thieves. And how can you plausibly "throw the book" at a young thug who has had limited education and commits a crime when, at the same time, you are apparently condoning the criminal behaviour of someone who has had a privileged background, or at least a good education and good opportunities, and appears to be a generally "good egg". But who is still a thief.

It is this sort of attitude that has dogged the Tories for years and what makes their stance on law and order utterly discreditable. I think it is time the veteran Thanet North MP looked for a different career.

Anonymous said...

I see in one of the local rags this week ( don't worry I didn't buy it, just read it at Tescos) that there is now a self styled Newington Massif.
Presumably modelled on the Ali G series they break windows and attack people on the estate, but they say this is Ok because they only do it to people they think deserve it.
There are even photos of them in the article.
I remember years ago there were kids in berets who unofficially and very successfully policed the New York Subway (underground railway system) with the blessing of the police, I somehow don't think Kent's Finest will approve of Newington Massif.