Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Catch ‘em Young

..and they are yours for life! So somebody once said, or words to that effect.

I was struck by this comment on another blog:

"What we have at the moment is a state that takes a very laissez faire approach to the markets and an increasingly authoritarian approach to the general public. This should be the other way round."

Kable reported before Christmas that the government will be offering young Londoners cut-price ID cards from early this year. But why would anyone want one? £30 is a lot of money for a student, who probably can’t afford to buy cigarettes and alcohol anyway. But the first young person to take up the offer has arrived – and is a 21 year old from Wanstead. Does he realise that once you’ve got one these you can’t NOT have one. And if you don’t inform the Stasi authorities of any changes you can get fined £1,000. If your Passport expires and you don’t need another one you just don’t renew it – period. But with these babies you are signed up for life – unless of course someone comes along and changes the rules or scraps them.

And why Oh why do the authorities take such a heavy handed, nanny state approach to the sale of cigarettes and alcohol in the first place. Sixteen year olds can leave school, get a job, pay tax, get married and have children. But they can’t buy the Champagne to toast their union – and they can’t vote. Maybe that’s it? They can’t vote so the politicians don’t care about what they want, and bow to the grumpies [who do vote] and who complain about youths hanging about on street corners [because they are not allowed in pubs] socialising with their peer group in exactly the same way that the grumpies do when queuing up for their pension outside the Post Office in Barkingside High Street and blocking the pavement.

Redbridge Council is about to get tough. But as Knowsie points out, it is completely the wrong approach. We should be teaching our young children about alcohol so that they learn how to use it responsibly as they grow up. They don’t just suddenly wake up one morning as an adult. It is a process not an event.

Tim Martin in the Morning Advertiser:

Furthermore, the imperial hypocrisy does not end there. All the participants with teenage children admitted, in turn, that they allowed their children to use pubs from 15 or 16, and preferred, as common sense would dictate, the relatively supervised atmosphere of pubs, combined with the mixed age groups found in pubs, to the unpredictable and relatively unsupervised teenage party circuit.

We need to get back to the situation of teenagers drinking with their parents and grandparents, which I first did along with many others, at the age of about 15, rather than in the teenage ghettos created by parties and the crackdown on pubs.
It’s the same old story. The government have to be seen to be doing something and anything will do, regardless of whether it works or not. As always the symptoms and not the cause are the target of those politicians whose primary concern is being re-elected. It doesn’t matter that the many have to suffer the consequences of their failure.


  1. Why is drinking the apparent sole recreation of today's yoof?

    There are sports clubs, and libraries, and cinemas, and music venues and the countryside etc etc.

    And the voting and marriage age should be put back to 21, so there!

  2. With such disillusionment, why not make Marriage,Voting,Car Driving,and the Drinking Age 65, then the youth would be complaining that the sole recreation of the over 65's was drinking!

  3. Young people drink because Cider costs a quid a litre or less and even Skunk costs a fiver.

    You also do not need to be CRB checked to buy alcohol and give it to kids (or sell them drugs for that matter).

    There are drug dealers, however, who will GIVE drugs f.o.c. to school kids to get them "groomed" for when they are older.

  4. Not disillusionment but common sense - look back to yourself at 16, how rational were your judgements?

    And I don't think you should be able to stand for Parliament until you're 35 (yeah, yeah, Pitt the Younger, blah blah).

  5. Jawal1,
    all the more reason to expose young people to "adult" activities in a sensible way as they are growing up so they don't fall victim to such pressures.

  6. Judith,
    Let's look at it another way. Instead of asking at what age does one become fit to make judgements for oneself, let's ask at what age does one become unfit to make judgements for oneself.

    i.e. at what age does senility set in [60? 65? 70?] and should all people over that age not be allowed to drive cars, stand for parliament, get married, vote, open a bank account, buy alcohol, cigarettes etc etc.?

    As I said in the post, adulthood is not an event, it is a process. We should judge individuals on their merits not on their age - as we should not judge people on their sex, faith, colour or ethnicity.

    What we've got here is blatant age discrimination from a State that pontificates against such practices in the outside world.

    The word HYPOCRICY springs to mind!

    We trust our children to look after us when we are old, we should trust our parents to look after us when we are young.

  7. There is no perfect system, B21, but I still maintain that anyone under the age of 21 (no matter how intelligent) has not had enough experience to, for instance, get married or vote.

    And just because some elderly or very elderly people are sprightly, both mentally and physically, does not mean that ALL over 65's, say, are capable of doing heavy manual labour, or a full week of intensive intellectual work.

    So given the size of modern populations, certain arbitrary limits have to be introduced.

    There is one other factor: why not enjoy your youth instead of wanting to take on heavy adult responsibilities? Why not enjoy your retirement years instead of harking back to your youth?

  8. The reason that “anyone under the age of 21 has not had enough experience” may be because we [the nanny state and society] do not allow them to gain that experience and refuse to potty train them early enough?

    We look at the teenage pregnancy statistics in horror as if it is something new, but in fact it was considered normal not so long ago. It is Nature that decides when our bodies are capable of reproducing. If we refuse to develop young people’s minds and intellect to an equivalent timeframe we are asking for trouble – and that’s exactly what we are getting.