Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Curious Incident of Hazel Blears' Car

Hazel's car was vandalised by persons unknown, and a debate rages: Was she targeted by angry voters, or was it, as she claims, just young hoodlums?

I will leave the speculation on the answer to this conundrum to others, because there is something else that bothers me rather more - Hazel's casual assumption that the perpetrators were young despite, as far as I can tell, no evidence whatsoever as to their age. Blears' windscreen-smashers could well have been middle-aged hoodlums, anti-social fifty-somethings or feral pensioners for all she knows.

This sloppy blame of the young is now such an accepted practice in society that it goes by without remark. When I lost my eye to a sideways-flying firework nearly four years ago, I constantly had to correct people - journalists, well-wishers, even friends - who simply stated as though it were fact that the firework-firers were "youth". They have never been identified, they were over 100 metres away, it was dark, I could not for the life of me tell you how old they were.

The solutions to genuine issues of youth crime are complex. But casual, groundless assumptions of youth perpetration of every bit of vandalism is no part of any solution.

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