We have a duty to curb yob mi­nor­ity

Kentish Gazette Canterbury & District - - Letters And Opinion -

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

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