We have a duty to curb yob minority
Harry Bell’s article about Dane John (Crusading against our freedoms, Gazette, August 10) is off the wall. It ignores evidence.
It attributes views to locals who don’t hold them.
And it advances a role for the state which almost no one except 19th century Liberals would agree with today.
Let’s start with the offensive. It says that the squalor in the Dane John is a generational issue where aged locals moan about the appalling behaviour of youngsters.
It says that residents are “mercilessly trying to control the activities of people”. Plain wrong. In Canterbury, sensible intelligent, industrious young people work their way through degrees, serving in our shops and bars.
Young people drink less and use fewer drugs than previous generations.
Drug usage by young people is declining. Good.
We’re not going to hell in a handcart. Young and old are more sensible than he suggests.
There isn’t an out-of-control army of yobs terrorising locals.
There is a tiny minority, many school age kids, smashing windows, climbing scaffolding and attacking those who live there, nicking money and assaulting cafe workers and tourists, trashing the bandstand, and distributing drugs.
Some congregate before and after school and smoke dope. In this situation, let it all hang out laissez faire isn’t an option.
This is a failure of public policy. The authorities all say they have processes in place to deal with these problems.
But they’re not measuring the outcomes. Anyone visiting the Dane John can see the results.
Harry Bell also has a go at those who say pollution should be tackled.
He says do-gooders want to change the lower class “populated by dissolute and feckless morons incapable of thinking for themselves or seeing the bigger picture”. Remarkable phrases.
Apart from the Trump-style language, he is spectacularly wrong about the origins of pollution and its effects.
The deaths of about 40,000 people each year are brought forward by pollution. Mr Bell, get a grip. You can’t ignore public health, or let minorities make life a misery for everyone.
Changing behaviour isn’t easy. Interventions are intrusions on the individual.
But some change behaviour: there are thousands alive who have benefited from the seat belt law and