Are family values not progressive?


by Sunny
16th February, 2007 at 3:26 pm    

A couple of weeks ago I was on Sky News discussing news stories when the subject of installing respect amongst youngsters came up. The presenter asked if it wasn’t the responsibility of teachers to make sure young kids respected authority. I disagreed. It should be the parents with the primary responsibility to ensure their kids have a healthy respect for authority and be provided a stable environment at home so they don’t become criminals. Somewhere along this line I was accused of being on the authoritarian right! Hold on a second, does espousing a stable family make you part of the conservative right? Not in my view.

Writing in the Guardian today Joseph Harker similarly says the problem of violence amongst young black youths isn’t of guns but a breakdown of the family. I agree.

In some ways this also applies to Asian families. A respected writer recently said in a conversation that one of the reasons why there are problems with Asian boys (in Southall, Tower Hamlets, Oldham) is because of the breakdown in communication. 1st gen Asian parents find it difficult as it is to communicate and understand their children. Feeling helpless and bound by their traditional bias towards males, they end up focusing on controlling the girls while turning a blind eye to what the boys are doing.


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  1. Leon — on 16th February, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    Interesting discussion about the figures and causes here.

  2. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 3:57 pm  

    Are most of these shootings black kids shooting black kids?

  3. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:01 pm  

    Respect for authority!! I’d hope all children would be raised to question all aspects of the world they see irrespective of subservient attitudes to authority. I fundamentally disagree that two parent families are needed to provide any kind of balanced upbringing, and was pretty dismissive of the recent UN report for similar reasons. Part of their analysis centred around family and peer relationships and by implication single parent families.

    The problems faced by young men irrespective of their socio-economic or cultural background are largely a result of, or exasperated by statism. I cannot find the article so forgive me for referring to it, but the guradian interviewed a young man from the ghettos of london, and asked how and why he got involved in crime. His answer unsurpringly was boredom and money. We’ve created a society where every individual is forced to attend school till the age of 16 irrespective of whether they want to or not. I personally think its a far better idea to split secondary school days up between education and employment. Giving children of 11, 12 and above the opportunity to interact with adults on a professional level is far more likely to increase maturity and behaviour than vaguely saying ‘its the parents fault’

  4. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

    Well Sunny, you can’t say it’s not an issue of guns and is only about family breakdown, clearly the cheapness and availability of guns has something to do with it, probably related to the drugs trade. The breakdown of the family and absent fathers may be the primary catalyst and cause but other factors come into play, including things that may be intangible and spoken about in general terms, things like hyper-masculinity and the elevating of the importance of ‘respect’, where to lose it over something is enough to make you shoot someone dead.

  5. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:08 pm  

    Incidently theres a degree of snobishness towards ‘bling’ and the vulgarity that goes with it. I can’t remember the exact quote but Jimmy Goldsmith himself said words to the affect ‘vulgarity is a sign of vigour, of new money’. Crime is not nor has it ever been the first resort of anyone. Children want money, they want bling, let them out into the workplace to earn.

    I’m not saying every child should be made to work (i liked my books), but those that do should be allowed to, at least on a part time basis during school hours. If you want the kids to behave as adults treat them as adults.

  6. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:14 pm  

    I fundamentally disagree that two parent families are needed to provide any kind of balanced upbringing

    You see, I can understand why we should strive not to stigmatise single parent families — I have cousins who have been raised by single mothers due to the tragic early deaths of my uncles. However, what I don’t understand is how this obverse happens, where people grandstand and declare what Kulvinder says in the above quote, implying that two parent families are a pre-requisite to providing a balanced upbringing. They don’t guarantee it, but they do help and give the kid a chance of a more balanced upbringing. Ask a child who is missing a parent if he or she wants a mother AND a father and you will get the answer that is in the basic soul and need of every human being.

  7. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:25 pm  

    Ask a child who is missing a parent if he or she wants a mother AND a father and you will get the answer that is in the basic soul and need of every human being.

    I’m always a little weary of taking those kinds of sentiments from children at face value. Theres probably a degree of ‘the grass always being greener’ in their thought process. They take whats ‘wrong’ with their life and frame improvement around a mythical figure. If you’ve never grown up with a father or a mother you’ll only ever associate the positive aspects with their existence.

    To give you an analogy I was pretty certain whilst growing up that my life would be better if i had an older brother to help me sort things out. As i grow older i realised that i was basically projecting a fantasy and nothing more. I have a close relationship with my older sister, and i wouldn’t want anything else.

    I do agree that day-to-day interaction with adults is needed, my point is its far better to find that in the work place.

  8. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:26 pm  

    It’s almost as if people are too frightened to actually say, yes, this is the norm, this is the standard and ideal, two parents in a secure long term relationship is the best situation in which to raise children. And it comes down to a kind of petulant rebellion, that this should be castigated and stigmatised because it fits into our need to constantly strive to deconstruct authority for the sake of it. It’s just juvenile. As a six year old orphan or child of a single parent what they want and they’ll always say they want a Mum and a Dad to look after them, whilst the Kulvinders of the world stand in the background, sneering and swinging their mace of permanent revolution and rebellion.

  9. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:32 pm  

    There is no ‘norm’ society is an artifical construct. Polygamy and Polyandry are seen as perfectly normal in other parts of the world.

  10. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:34 pm  

    I do agree that day-to-day interaction with adults is needed, my point is its far better to find that in the work place.

    But why ‘better’? Why not ‘achievable’ and ‘possible’, should the circumstances apply? Why the need to privelige it over two parents in a stable relationship as the norm?

    And delegating rearing outside the family is the wrong attitude. Socialisation is naturally about the family and the rest of society. Not one or the other (and it proceeds in the prime instance and MOST IMPORTANTLY from the family outwards)

  11. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    There is no ‘norm’ society is an artifical construct. Polygamy and Polyandry are seen as perfectly normal in other parts of the world.

    See, that’s what I mean, it’s a juvenile and immature impulse.

  12. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:42 pm  

    But why ‘better’? Why not ‘achievable’ and ‘possible’, should the circumstances apply? Why the need to privelige it over two parents in a stable relationship as the norm?

    Because state authoritarianism is completely deluding itself if it believes free individuals want to permanently associate with one another. The divorce rates in this country are testament to that. It is far better for children to find interaction with adults in the workplace than put ‘moral pressure’ or worse on the parents.

    And delegating rearing outside the family is the wrong attitude.

    Actually i believe that its perfectly fine for institutions to exist that raise children ‘better’ than their parents could. The english public school system (especially boarders) is founded on that principle.

  13. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    No disrespect Kulvinder, but when you have children of your own you might get a different perspective on things. I think about these things alot these days.

  14. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:44 pm  

    See, that’s what I mean, it’s a juvenile and immature impulse.

    I’d be happy to read the ‘big book on how society should be by mother nature’ in the meantime ill carry on accepting society as nothing more than an abstract concept.

  15. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:48 pm  

    You’re actually quite cute sometimes Kulvinder. Like a benign version of Rick from ‘The Young Ones’, remember that? Might have been a little before your time.

  16. Leon — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    but when you have children of your own you might get a different perspective on things.

    This old chestnut…why is your perspective any more valid because you have them then those who don’t? If I’m shot tomorrow by a teenager whether I have kids or not it makes very little difference to my opinion that kids shouldn’t have guns.

  17. Laban Tall — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:50 pm  

    “does espousing a stable family make you part of the conservative right ?”

    Yup. You want to deny women and men the freedom to have children then abandon them while leaving the State to support them – a basic human right for every sexually active being.

    If your ideas caught on we’d be back in the dark days of the 1950s when admittedly fewer kids were shot, but where it wasn’t half so easy to get laid – and if you did get laid you’d have to marry her and stay faithful while you both raised the kids.

    What kind of a Nazi would want to live such a dreadful life ?

  18. Laban Tall — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:53 pm  

    Am I banned ? Or do comments just take some time to arrive ?

  19. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 4:56 pm  

    Wasn’t Rick a commie?

    Oh and in direct answer to sunny

    Are family values not progressive?

    Not if they’re looking back in rose-tinted glasses at ye olden days of victorian values they’re not.

    The problems in society are a direct result of an impotence within the political system; which is itself a direct result of politics becoming light-weight and anti-intellectual.

  20. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:00 pm  

    This old chestnut…why is your perspective any more valid because you have them then those who don’t? If I’m shot tomorrow by a teenager whether I have kids or not it makes very little difference to my opinion that kids shouldn’t have guns.

    Relax Leon, I wasnt talking about kids having guns or not, I was referring to the debate Kulvinder and I were having regarding socialisation and the family. Don’t get offended by nothing.

  21. Leon — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:02 pm  

    Don’t get offended by nothing.

    Heh don’t worry I aint. I don’t think it’s a fair debating tactic though to pull that one…

  22. Arif — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:04 pm  

    Jagdeep, there are also children who long to be rid of a parent. There are also children who want to run away to their aunt or uncle. There are also children who never want to leave the immediate family and don’t want anything to change. There are some who don’t want a father or mother to come on to the scene when they feel they need all the attention they can get from their single parent without sharing it wider… I think there is a point that Kulvinder is making which isn’t stigmatising two-parent families, but challenging giving it too much status and idealising it.

    On Sunny’s point – I think respect should be general rather than respect for “authority”. Authority (in my view) should be the outcome of having earned a lot of respect, not an excuse to expect everyone to respect you. I might decide to respect someone because others do, or because they wield a stick, or they are good with words, or they got a job in the police, or other people voted for them, etc. That’s where parents might have a role in challenging me on how I judge who to respect, and by showing me what they respect and why. But the word “authority” can hide a multitude of sins.

    I tend to feel that societies that stratify or segregate by age make it harder to grow up. If we didn’t go to schools, or schools did not segregate by age, then we would have more casual influences from older people, and more readily feel our responsibilities towards people younger than us. We would more immediately feel our stake in having a respectful society, where people can see how they form each other.

    But apart from schooling, maybe there are also other influences from wealth which means we feel we don’t need each other so much, and don’t need to care about the quality of our relationships. Some parents might be just as caught up in that as their kids without realising – they give them toys and tutors, trips and treats, time to meet their friends and a TV in their rooms, while working to make it all possible and going to bed too tired from making dinner to do much more than sit with their children in front of the telly.

    A suggestive thing about the report for me was that more egalitarian economies seemed to correlate with better outcomes for young people. Maybe economic anxiety has an impact on the upbringing of children…

  23. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:05 pm  

    The problems in society are a direct result of an impotence within the political system; which is itself a direct result of politics becoming light-weight and anti-intellectual.

    I thought you didnt believe in society except as an abstract concept? And if politics is nothing but abstractions, how can anything it does be quantifiable? And if you don’t believe in normative principles in society, how can politics have any normative ideals and basis on which to proceed?

    Viva la revolution!

    You’re harmless when you are a set of letters on a message board, when your type makes policy it is catastrophic.

  24. Sunny — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:09 pm  

    Laban, funny – but I don’t see how social responsibility is not part of leftist discourse.

  25. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:09 pm  

    It’s not a debating tactic Leon, just an observation.

    I think there is a point that Kulvinder is making which isn’t stigmatising two-parent families, but challenging giving it too much status and idealising it

    No, he really is stigmatising it. Read his posts carefully Arif. He thinks the state is better placed to rear children than two parent families are.

  26. Laban Tall — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    “Somewhere along this line I was accused of being on the authoritarian right! Hold on a second, does espousing a stable family make you part of the conservative right ?”

    Yup.

    You appear to feel that man and women do not have the right to conceive children then abandon them, leaving the State to support them – surely a basic human right for any sexually active adult.

    If your ideas were adopted we’d return to the dark days of the 1950s, where admittedly fewer children were shot but where it was much less easy to get laid – which is what’s really important.

    Amd if you did get laid you may well have ended up having to marry her – and stay faithful while you were raising children together in an oppressive patriarchal institution ! What kind of fascist would want to see that !

  27. Laban Tall — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:14 pm  

    Bloody hell. I post it again and the original turns up. Sorry.

  28. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:17 pm  

    Laban, funny – but I don’t see how social responsibility is not part of leftist discourse.

    Well, the point he’s making I think, Sunny, is one of categorisation. Just look at this thread to see the loops and petulance of part of the left when it comes to ‘the family’. The very fact that you had to tip-toe around this and ask with a *gulp* if even raising this issue makes you less of a progressive shows how this whole debate is debilitated by such categories. If stigmatising two parent families makes you ‘progressive’ then the definition of progressive needs changing.

  29. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:18 pm  

    I thought you didnt believe in society except as an abstract concept? And if politics is nothing but abstractions, how can anything it does be quantifiable? And if you don’t believe in normative principles in society, how can politics have any normative ideals and basis on which to proceed?

    I’m unsure what you’re trying to say, but i believe ‘politics’ should all be based on philosophy which unfortunately it really isn’t anymore?

    Society is an artifical construct, and im only saying the one i desire is ‘better’ than the one that exists in that it would allow more (if not all) people to do what they want.

    No, he really is stigmatising it. Read his posts carefully Arif. He thinks the state is better placed to rear children than two parent families are.

    Eh? I believe any kind of state emphasis on two parent families regardless of whether its tax breaks or moral pressure is a bad thing. I’m not against two-parent families rather i believe politics should face the reality that an increasing number of people aren’t living in nor have any desire to live in two-parent families.

  30. Arif — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:20 pm  

    Well, Jagdeep, I disagree with him on that point, but I thought he was supporting boarding schools because he abstracts child upbringing as a process that can be achieved in a lot of ways, without it mattering who does it. I think that is consistent with not stigmatising two-parent families.

    Maybe I want to stick up for Kulvinder out of a sense of cybersocial responsibility. Or out of respect for his authority (he is very good at expressing himself!)

    I don’t agree with Kulvinder that workplaces or schools are better places for socialisation, because they are often cocooned from wider society and responsibility to the very young and very old.

  31. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:29 pm  

    Or out of respect for his authority (he is very good at expressing himself!)

    You won’t be saying that when i upload the scottish nationalist piece. At the moment im stuck somewhere between geographic arbitraryness, social trends in the 19th and 20th century, the failure of british politics and its impact on scotland, and that failure in terms of political institutions.

    It reads ‘yeah but…so but…if but…then but’

  32. sonia — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:29 pm  

    Ha! I’m not suprised you got accused of being an authoritarian. ( left and right be damned) why should we ‘automatically’ respect authority? just because it is authority? well that’s authoritarian if you ask me. the whole premise that adults ( whether parents or teachers) can ‘install’ or ‘teach’ authority is ridiculous. goodness – no wonder it never works! kids learn by example – in the screwed up world it’s hardly suprising they don’t ‘respect’ authority ! given adults are going around creating wars why should kids think about their own ‘anti-social’ behaviour. Puh-leese.

    and about the title ‘family values’ being progressive – well it depends what the hell the values are. there is no such blanket thing as a ‘family value’. i would have thought we asians know very well the range of things that pass for ‘family values’. do we think the girls who got forced into marriages didn’t hear the phrase ‘family values’.

    And what is a stable family – i think it’s easy to go on about ‘stable’ families. Parenting is a difficult thing to do. people mean an awful lot of different things by ‘the breakdown of family’ – some refer to single mothers and divorces. if you are talking about communication sunny – then that is a specific issue – well worth pointing to. but i don’t know that a family with two parents is necessarily going to be good at communicating, more than a single parent. hence the reason why the words ‘stable family’ is a bit of a red herring.

  33. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:30 pm  

    Society is an artifical construct

    Is it? And even if it is, so what? You are applying normative principles to an ‘ideal’ society yourself (outlining what kind of ‘artificially constructed’ society you want to see) and investing it with a normative power, and you expect and demand ‘politics’ to artifically construct this from a set of abstract philosophical positions.

    I’m not against two-parent families rather i believe politics should face the reality that an increasing number of people aren’t living in nor have any desire to live in two-parent families.

    The state is fairly responsive to changes in societal behaviour and patterns. But the basis of your antagonism towards the two parent family lies less in a desire to see a certain kind of society than to play out a particular kind of anti-authoritarian posturing and politics.

  34. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:41 pm  

    Is it? And even if it is, so what?

    Then no method of child rearing or family construct should be emphasised above any other since they are all equally valid.

    If the interaction between children and adults is of importance then its ‘better’ (ie less authoritarian) to find ways in which that can be done without telling parents you should have a father figure.

    The state is fairly responsive to changes in societal behaviour and patterns.

    Nah it isn’t the state and its organs are clueless about what to do. The majority of crime is based around illegal narcotics and the desire of individuals to obtain said narcotics. If the state had any sense they’d allow people to use drugs and in doing so eliminate the blackmarket.

    than to play out a particular kind of anti-authoritarian posturing and politics.

    Chicks dig that, right? right??? :(

  35. Sunny — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:53 pm  

    in the screwed up world it’s hardly suprising they don’t ‘respect’ authority ! given adults are going around creating wars why should kids think about their own ‘anti-social’ behaviour.

    That’s a really crap argument Sonia, sorry. kids don’t base their arguments around Tony Blair’s foreign policy, whatever hope tyou might have that they are so political.

    How is the world screwed up in the first place? Because traditional lack of respect for authority (of teachers, parents, police etc) has broken down. On top of that you say because the world is so screwed up kids don’t get guidance.

    In fact I plan to give my kids, if I have some, plenty of guidance and make sure they respect authority. Is that screwed up? That doesn’t mean they’re not taught to challenge authority in circumstances but the two are not incompatible.

    There is a difference between being an anarchist and being criminal. I think you’re conflating the two. I’m interested in preventing the growth of the latter.

  36. Jagdeep — on 16th February, 2007 at 5:57 pm  

    Then no method of child rearing or family construct should be emphasised above any other since they are all equally valid.

    That’s an artifical construct — you want the state to artifically construct that. A pretty authoritarian thing for the state to do, I must add. How ironic!

    If the interaction between children and adults is of importance then its ‘better’ (ie less authoritarian) to find ways in which that can be done without telling parents you should have a father figure

    Better?

    You just said that there is no ‘better’. ‘All equally valid’.

    For someone who claims to be an anti-authoritarian you certainly invest the state with alot of responsibility to undertake social engineering and preference in, well, an authoritarian way.

    As I said, the politicisation of the family, where it becomes the microcosm and crucible in which ‘anti authoritarianism’ can be played out.

  37. Arif — on 16th February, 2007 at 6:01 pm  

    Kulvinder, crime and narcotics are one thing, but there is another preoccupation that politicians are trying to grapple with as well. Threatening behaviour, short tempers, fear of one another, that sort of thing. Some of them crimes, some of them drug-influenced, some not.

    The broader issues are addiction, greed, lack of opportunity in some directions, too many opportunities in others, anger, self-discipline, joy in life…

    Things the politicians are just not equipped to deal with. But on a personal level we do all make choices, and why do some choose x and others chhose y? If choice y impacts on other people, even liberals see a reason why it is justified to intervene (self protection). But if the state doesn’t intervene, who should? Can the state help them, even make them intervene? If so, should it, or does it cause more harm?

    In a way, politicians are trying to deal with spiritual questions, and even the supposed spiritual experts (religious leaders) aren’t often very good at moral uplift of that kind. But I see it encouraging if people think about these things and work on making more enlightened choices.

  38. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 6:08 pm  

    That’s an artifical construct — you want the state to artifically construct that. A pretty authoritarian thing for the state to do, I must add. How ironic!

    The terminology is getting a little confused. In a democracy the state should really be a reflection of the people to the highest percentile possible.

    But to reiterate

    Society is an artifical construct, and im only saying the one i desire is ‘better’ than the one that exists in that it would allow more (if not all) people to do what they want.

    Better?

    You just said that there is no ‘better’. ‘All equally valid’.

    I did qualify ‘better’, but ill stop using it now as its confusing.

    For someone who claims to be an anti-authoritarian you certainly invest the state with alot of responsibility to undertake social engineering and preference in, well, an authoritarian way.

    To echo above id rather the state recognised what there is in reality rather than ignoring it.

  39. Leon — on 16th February, 2007 at 6:15 pm  

    That’s a really crap argument Sonia, sorry. kids don’t base their arguments around Tony Blair’s foreign policy, whatever hope you might have that they are so political.

    That’s not strictly true Sunny. I’ve spoken to plenty of kids over the last four years that say basically why should we follow the law etc if our leaders don’t? Children do learn by example (and it’s not specific to FP so let’s not narrow the framework of discussion here) and part of that example comes from us adults and they way we conduct ourselves.

    Even when I was a teenager virtually all the people I knew who were, shall we say, up to no good cited the rules of the game were stacked against them (i.e. the ruling class had stacked the deck) and they were just playing the system with the options open to them. It’s a familiar story I see played out today with these youths.

    My idea of child rearing is to encourage them to develop creative, inquiring and critical faculties and that respect is something earned not deserved and all authority has to be justified and challenged if found to be abusive etc.

  40. Kulvinder — on 16th February, 2007 at 6:18 pm  

    Things the politicians are just not equipped to deal with. But on a personal level we do all make choices, and why do some choose x and others chhose y? If choice y impacts on other people, even liberals see a reason why it is justified to intervene (self protection). But if the state doesn’t intervene, who should? Can the state help them, even make them intervene? If so, should it, or does it cause more harm?

    Yeah the impact of individual choice on others is a pretty interesting area. Broadly id say the role of the state in such matters would be no more than off setting the cost against the product; not banning the product. Id even be in favour of state monopoly to begin with!! ie the state controlled the supply of drugs and taxed it to a level appropriate in rehabilitating those that couldn’t handle the drugs. The crucial first step is illiminating a black market.

    To be fair though, alcohol causes far far more anti-social behaviour than ‘drugs’. The problems with legalisation wouldn’t be in tripped out people causing havoc, but rather those who were addicted – and as i said the cost of treatment can be offset via tax/state monopoly.

  41. Chairwoman — on 16th February, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    Ha ha ha – Sorry, funniest thread I’ve ever read here.

    I will be interested to see if our free thinkers are still as free thinking when they are bringing up their own children.

    Will they all be knocking themselves out to earn the children’s respect, or will expect them to go to bed/do their homework/not argue about everything, just like every other parent.

    Children aren’t only young minds and bodies to cherish and mould, they are often sticky, tricky and hard work.

    And doing it alone must be difficult in the extreme. As a widow, I know how difficult it is not to have a partner to discuss family/day to day problems etc., with. The thought of chosing to bring up a young family alone is truly fightening.

    It is of course different if one has a supportive extended family to help you. It’s not a partner per se one needs necessarily, but ‘partners’.

  42. Leon — on 16th February, 2007 at 7:02 pm  

    I guess family values depends on what type of family you have…

  43. ZinZin — on 16th February, 2007 at 7:03 pm  

    Family values are left-wing. The social individualism promoted by the left accompanied by economic individualism has led to the current malaise. The Left with its support for abortion and the pill has undermined the family, the backbone of its collectivist policies. The sexual revolution that they promoted have undermined the family and social solidarity. The rise in single-parent families is due to the sexual revolution which have set men free and left women struggling with the baby.

    This is the result of the sexual revolution with its focus on pleasure and abandonment of responsibility.

  44. Don — on 16th February, 2007 at 7:26 pm  

    I blame Thatcher.

    In cases where a child is raised in a family (however constituted) that is not overwhelmed or chaotic or feeling under threat, then assuming the parent(s) to be reasonably decent and caring, which most people are, the child will generally be a decent and caring kid. Up until about the age of six the only thing that matters is the family. After that other factors come into play.

    Respect for authority is maybe a little misleading. Respect for the integrity of others is perhaps a little closer to the mark, with a clear distinction between respect and subordination. But can you expect a young person to give respect if they have no apparent route to gain respect for themselves?

    When a youngster left school at 15 or 16 and took an apprenticeship at the foundry or shipyard or whatever, the respect they gave the gaffer was not based on arbitrary authority but upon the clear message that by gaining skill and a good reputation, respect would follow for them too. That is no longer the case. In my neck of the woods, some of the most problem ridden communities are former mining villages where social breakdown is horribly visible, yet the same villages with the same families were once exemplars of self-help, mutual respect and community pride. What changed? The deliberate and spiteful destruction of that way of life, reducing whole communities to dependence and hopelesness.

    (I will concede that certain liberal attitudes were taken a little too far, but I think that is a more minor factor than some would make out. On the whole the principles were admirable and the changes overdue.)

    And now they talk of raising the school leaving age to 18. If you are not academically inclined, spending your days wedged behind a child’s desk while others outshine you and exhausted teachers, with the best will in the world, sometimes let slip their despair at what they are expected to actually do with you, is a sure recipe to erode self respect and consequently respect for anything.

    The word ‘respect’ is everywhere now, from a crappy polical party to a keynote speech to a reason to murder a schoolmate. Kids are desperate to have respect, but also to give it. And if no better candidate presents then they will give it to a vapid celeb or a local thug who can at least inspire fear.

    It isn’t the kids. The kids are alright, it’s us. We seek respect without the long, lifelong, slog of earning it and we deny it to those who have. We sneer at bling, but worship wealth.

    as nick Cave put it:

    O children

    Forgive us now for what we’ve done
    It started out as a bit of fun
    Here, take these before we run away
    The keys to the gulag

    O children
    Lift up your voice, lift up your voice
    Children
    Rejoice, rejoice

    Here comes Frank and poor old Jim
    They’re gathering round with all my friends
    We’re older now, the light is dim
    And you are only just beginning

    O children

    We have the answer to all your fears
    It’s short, it’s simple, it’s crystal clear
    It’s round about, it’s somewhere here
    Lost amongst our winnings

  45. Sid — on 16th February, 2007 at 8:28 pm  

    Brilliant, Don.

    This ska classic goes out to the kids.

  46. justforfun — on 16th February, 2007 at 8:29 pm  

    Well said Chairwoman – it is a funny thread and I agree about the children bit.

    Just been on a course for parents of dyslexic children – I would recommend it for all parents, even if their chilren are not dyslexic. Brought home to me how the young mind learns. There are all sorts of techniques to get dyslexic children learning, and they really really work and are great fun, and the tantrums, lack of confidence etc have all fallen away. Normally I am cynical about all this new age child centric stuff – I suppose Kulvinder, my childhood was subcontracted out to the great British public school, so what was good for me is good for them. Is it too late for me to sue my parents for sending me away? I haven’t got all my inheritance yet and knowing the longevity of Parsis , I won’t get it till I’m 70 and then whats the fun in that. It would be nice to get it now even if I have to give half to a lawyer.

    Did I read some comments correctly – we need to bring back child labour!? – I would actually suggest bored children at school are in classes that are boringly taught because either the teacher is disheartened or has only 20p per child to fund the exciting chemistry experiments that were the highlight of my school days. Perhaps Chemistry is now banned as part of TWAT.

    Respect/behaviour is positive feed back loop. Where did the first nudge occur to start the down spiral? Who knows and is it relavent to solving the problem?

    What is the solution, demand respect? – or actually set an example as individuals. These days we are reliant on systems, systems for everything because we are afraid of approtioning blame on individuals. Its always a system error. The Unions protect their members from personal culpability because there was not enough management control etc. Management protect their arses by claiming it is contractual etc. Governments blame civil servants, Civils servants blame ministers – etc etc – ( you fill in the other examples) all protecting themselves, too scared to move outside the “system”

    Heard Al Aynsley-Green give a talk – A point he made if I remeber correctly – The only man who helped Victoria Climbie was the minicab driver who was outside the law. Outside all the ‘systems’ we thing we have set up that make us safer. As a recent immigrant/asylum seeker ( can’t remember which) he knew nothing of our ‘systems’ and just used his common humanity. A man more ‘educated’ than all the doctors , nurses and social workers , civil servants etc involved

    Some children have noticed these things, and while too young to have developed personal responisbilty and restraint, they like to push the boundaries as far as they can. Adults retreat because we don’t know where our person responsibilities lie. We flounder around, hoping there is a “system” available to back us up —

    Hey – am I actually responsible for any thing I do? – probably not , because no matter how bad my ‘actions’ there will, I have no doubt, be some advocate out there who will justify/excuse/explain my actions. And the media will give them air time, and so indirectly legitimize my action in certin people’s eyes. So the positive feed back cycle is perpetuated and amplified.

    What shall I do this evening? – nice moon out. I think I’ll go out and see if I can bag me a cat – I need a new hat. mmmm cross bow or pistol? Decisions decisions. I’m out of practice making up my own mind.

    Justforfun

  47. soru — on 16th February, 2007 at 9:06 pm  

    ‘Then no method of child rearing or family construct should be emphasised above any other since they are all equally valid’

    Would that include parents who rape then eat their children?

    If not, at what precise point does your abstact argument stop being applicable to a real world case?

  48. justforfun — on 16th February, 2007 at 9:43 pm  

    Sorry Chairwoman – I Have a vague memory that you’re cat lover – have no fear – it’s started to rain and there’s no sport when all the cats huddle for shelter under my car. Their safe for another month or so :-)

    Justforfun

  49. Chairwoman — on 16th February, 2007 at 9:47 pm  

    Yes, Justforfun, and dogs too, but I don’t remember posting about it.

    Do you only hunt them at full moon?

  50. justforfun — on 16th February, 2007 at 10:31 pm  

    Pets came up sometime ago and you once advised me not to buy a beagle for my daughter or something like that – Strange but I’ve developed a memory for trivia, but lost my memory for the important things or that’s what I think.

    Justforfun

  51. William — on 16th February, 2007 at 11:22 pm  

    I blame the 60’s. Were there so many one parent families before then. Also gun culture is so often part of drug culture. Was there so much drug taking before the 60’s no except with some jazz musicians. Unfortunately what came with the freedom to go against the status quo of a stuffy old set of often purposeless morals was a swing to irresponsibility. It was ok to ask what is wrong with sex before marriage or what is the point of just being married for the sake of it but this led to an inability to stick it out and work on a relationship. If it turns out that this present partner is not my soul mate then just leave and find another. Often however it seems that it is mostly the men are doing the leaving the women in the lurch so to speak.

    Don’t get me wrong it would be awful to go back to the dark ages of the 1950’s where a young woman could be incarcerated in a mental hospital for getting pregnant or it was a sin to live together. However it seems that the ethics that produced the onus to marry and stick it out came from the church. It was in the 1960’s that church attendance really plummeted. How many people would want to return to the old days. Very few, me neither.

    It seems it is better to have a secure family with both a mother and father for children to grow up balanced. But how do we get back to where this is the universal situation. Surely there has to be some return of the sticking together ethic. But how do we do this or if not what is the alternative.
    Maybe what held people together before was the fear of shame. Not good maybe but is the present culture of shag and go really any better.How to we inculcate responsibility in men for example. Just tell them at school that good “guys are there for their kids“. Put adverts on buses or TV “you make your bed you lie on it”. Sounds all contrived doesn’t it. Is it really possible to have some kind of alternatives where there is a community of carers for children while at the same time having a mainstay with one mother or father. To rely on a voluntary experiment towards this is insecure. To socially engineer it could seem dodgy and totalitarian. How to get change without it being regressive!!!that is the question.

  52. Kismet Hardy — on 17th February, 2007 at 12:11 am  

    “The presenter asked if it wasn’t the responsibility of teachers to make sure young kids respected authority”

    Absolute bollocks. I teach my children to respect people that earn it. It doesn’t matter if someone is their elder, someone in a uniform or a parent even, unless that person can justify why he/she is right and they are wrong, they have my blessing to tell that person in question to go spin

  53. douglas clark — on 17th February, 2007 at 12:18 am  

    William,

    I’d exonerate the sixties! Did you live through it? I did, as a young man. Obviously I started my life at minus 40 if my publicity is to be believed, and it’s not.

    You have to get some sort of perspective on it. It was in the sixties that women could take reponsibility for whether sex was a reproductive or recreational thing. Y’know, the Pill?

    It was in the sixties that folk like Germaine Greer wrote the Female Eunoch. It was in the early sixties that I went for a piss up with a woman who had become pregnant, whew, within wedlock, and who’s job had just been terminated, as it was clearly right that a woman should devote herself to her child. I believe the Bank gave a small settlement.

    Drugs come and go. If I remember rightly, in Victorian London, working class folk got pissed on gin. Those that couldn’t afford that went to the Chemists for laudinum, which I believe was heroin in solution. Very popular it was too.

    So, on your final paragraph, I’ve been through a divorce. Once the decision is made by whichever partner, there is no road back. Believe me.

    And, no, I do not think that children brought up with two folk that hate each other, but are staying together for the tax breaks, makes any sense whatsoever. Seperately, you can both care about your kids and help them even though you think your partner was Beelzebub.

    On your basic point, that a child brought up in a stable, loving environment is the best possible option, who’d disagree? Show me that man and I’ll show you a fool.

  54. William — on 17th February, 2007 at 12:43 am  

    douglas

    Sure there was a lot of good stuff to come out of the sixties. That is why I made points about trying to solve problems without regressing. In fact although I was only reached 13 in 1970 the mid sixties marked a boundary between an old world and a new one. I still wonder was there a price to pay however.

  55. Kismet Hardy — on 17th February, 2007 at 12:49 am  

    I’m with douglas. Most people worthy of admiration did things their own way, which necessiates being a rebel, which generally indicate their parents were kinda dicks

  56. Amir — on 17th February, 2007 at 12:56 am  

    Sunny,

    “Are family values progressives?”

    Family values are conservative values first and foremost; they always have been and always will be. “Progressives” have shifted emphasis from the communal to the individual, from the future to the present, from virtue to personal gratification. The results of which are deeply depressing. Increasingly secular, we pledge allegiance to poisonous toxins and twenty-four hour television. We are less likely than our forefathers to ask ourselves whether we serve a greater social purpose; we are more likely to ask if we are sufficiently satiated. We shun values such as self-sacrifice, gumption, patriotism, honour and duty. We give little thought to the perpetuation of lineage, culture or nation; we take our heritage for granted. Progressives are ahistorical. They are not aware that civilization is a thin and precarious crust erected by the individual choices of private citizens, and only maintained by rules and conventions skilfully put across and guilefully preserved. They have no respect for traditional wisdom or the restraints of custom. They lack reverence. Progressives, in short, are opposed to both manners and morality, and they repudiate the need for careful cultivation of the social bond, for public authority, and of virtue in public life. Conservatism is the only philosophy, in my opinion, which can cater to both the creative needs of talented individuals and the communal needs of humanity.

  57. Amir — on 17th February, 2007 at 1:01 am  

    Basically, all progressives are anti-human. They love criminals and illegal immigrants, but hate law-abiding citizens and unborn babies.

    “Progessivism” is a cancer – let’s be clear about this.

  58. douglas clark — on 17th February, 2007 at 1:40 am  

    William,

    To quote you, if I may:

    “I still wonder was there a price to pay however.”

    “Maybee aye, maybee naw.” To quote Liverpool Football Clubs profoudest philosopher. (K Dalgleish, for it is he)

    Here’s what I think. But despite being almost ancient, I’d be willing to reconsider.

    I think folk forget too easily. I lived with Australians who thought their policy towards Aboriginies was absolutely fine and Dandy. After many a drunken session, one at least admitted error.

    I recall my own attempt at agnosticism being met with a “Well, he’s too young to decide” by the Cleric, and an appeal to my parents. I am quite bitter about that. Think I was about 18.

    I met some liberated women. They seemed quite happy.

    I remember arguements that ended up in, a sort of, agreement. Like the world isn’t perfect, and we should do something.

    Maybe it’s just me.

  59. douglas clark — on 17th February, 2007 at 1:51 am  

    Amir,

    That was some crazy, mixed up post. I consider myself progressive. I love unborn babies, I am not afraid of, indeed welcome, immigrants. Under what banner would you think I hate law abiding citizens? “Progressives for Crime?” I think not.

  60. Don — on 17th February, 2007 at 2:14 am  

    Amir,

    #56 was so overblown and substance free that I resisted the temptation to pick apart it’s nonsense.

    But #57 is just ranting.

  61. Leon — on 17th February, 2007 at 3:21 am  

    Basically, all progressives are anti-human. They love criminals and illegal immigrants, but hate law-abiding citizens and unborn babies.

    “Progessivism” is a cancer – let’s be clear about this.

    Er I’m starting to view you in the same light I now view Madonna…

  62. Amir — on 17th February, 2007 at 3:27 am  

    #57 is a bit of piss-take. ;-)

    #56 is prescient. I reaffirm every-fucking-word of it.

    British people are sick and ‘effing tired of “progressive” values.

    The rise of the far-right testifies to that fact. Ignore it at your peril.

  63. Amir — on 17th February, 2007 at 3:33 am  

    I’m serious.

    The rise of the Far Right is inevitable and inescapable.

    There’s nothing we can do about it. Democracy is failing across Europe. France is going to be the first casualty.

  64. Leon — on 17th February, 2007 at 4:01 am  

    So I guess you’re arming yourself to the teeth and stocking up on tinned food then?

  65. Amir — on 17th February, 2007 at 4:10 am  

    Guys, I’m only taking the piss. ;-)

    I mean….

    How are “progressive values” going to quell the increasing popularity of Le Pen in France?

    Ya know,… “celebrate diversity”, and all that crap..? Coz, ya know, people have multiple identities, etcetera, etcetera.

  66. Amir — on 17th February, 2007 at 4:11 am  

    Leon,

    “So I guess you’re arming yourself to the teeth and stocking up on tinned food then?”

    I have my own nuclear bunker and tin-foil cap. ;-)

    LOL!

  67. Amir — on 17th February, 2007 at 4:29 am  

    LIZARDS!!! LIZARDS!!!

    EVERYWHERE!!!

    DAVID ICKE WAS RIGHT!!

    LIZARDS!!! LIZARDS!!!

  68. El Cid — on 17th February, 2007 at 8:48 am  

    Laban, funny – but I don’t see how social responsibility is not part of leftist discourse.

    A-ha! Sunny, so you are New Labour after all! Welcome back.

    I reckon absent fathers who bequeath problem boyzzzzz on to society should be named and shamed.

    The distinction between adult and juvenile in law also needs to be looked at (again). Tougher sentencing, end of. I’m not overly happy about that but needs must.

    And here’s one that is a bit leftfield: People convicted of crime as kids/youth should be given greater incentives to reintegrate into society and retrain once they grow up. We need to have a discussion about whether people’s criminal records — unless persistent — should be CLEARED if the crimes were committed as youths. Life is long and we should forgive and forget and give people a second chance, assuming we are convinced that any anti-social behaviour was the result of immature transgressions.

  69. El Presidente — on 17th February, 2007 at 9:51 am  

    This is also a bit leftfield, probably needs a bit more refining:

    Tax those who profit from violent lyrics and entertainment.

    Mandatory life imprisonment for those in the gun trade.

    Hard-hitting Chav-bashing TV campaign (Note: Chav has no colour IMO but is a pitiful state of mind).
    “Do you think reading to your kids at bedtime is soppy? Then that’s because you are a chav. Do you think the fact that your son is a ‘bit tasty’ makes up for him doing poorly at school? Then that’s because you are a chav. Do you think it’s ok to throw litter on the floor, whether or not there’s a bin around? Then that’s because you are a chav. Do you think being a good father simply means buying your son presents at Christmas/Birthday time and standing shoulder to shoulder with him against his school when he is disciplined? Then that’s because you are a chav. Are you happy that your daughter aspires to be a hairdresser or a young mum and that your son wants to be a rapper or gangsta? Then that’s because you are a chav. Do you pride yourself on having children by different mothers who you rarely see? Then that’s because you are a chav, etc”

    Maybe we could have Ray Winstone or Ian Wright doing the voiceover over some Kanye West or maybe Fatback Band’s “Is this the future?” and have the campaign on children’s TV, blaring out of strategically installed speakers, and and .. have competitions like Moron of the Month.

    I’m getting a bit mental. I think I’ll stop now.

  70. Sid — on 17th February, 2007 at 10:12 am  

    The estimable Clive James on Point of View (Radio4) last night:


    Regularly now, we hear about young men shooting each other and sometimes shooting their own girlfriends as a response to what they call “disrespect”. The misuse of the word “disrespect” is just a pitiful sign of the vicious stupidity by which young men demand to be respected when there is nothing to respect them for.

    But when the upmarket newspapers run worried articles about what they call “the gun culture”, that is something else.

    Calling it “the gun culture” not only solves nothing, it actually compounds the offence, by tacitly conceding that the responsible authorities can’t be expected to confiscate the lethal weapons from the individual boneheads waving them, but should wait until a complex sociological phenomenon has been explained in the appropriately elevated words.

    But you can’t blame the responsible authorities for waiting: actually to do something about a young crackhead fidgeting with a gun takes more than high flown language – it takes bravery, but that’s another subject.

  71. El Jimmy Cricket — on 17th February, 2007 at 11:13 am  

    And there’s more:
    Improve social mobility and create more mass market urban role models by 1) having more regional accents such as scouse, brummy, and cockney a chance to read us our news on TV as long as it’s clear (give it another generation before we give the current cockney-west indian patois ali g hybrid a chance — at least until they sort out that ‘is’ and ‘are’ ting) 2) create mandatory comprehensive school quotas for oxbridge/london/top unis to counter the social aparthied that dictates people’s UK career prospects from a young age 3) i just had jehovah’s witness knock on my door and i politely told them to leave it to ‘god’ to decide who is good or bad and who will go to hell, but thank you very much. They went away smiling.

  72. El Jimmy Cricket — on 17th February, 2007 at 11:18 am  

    We also need to do something to help boys with single mothers find alternative father figures/male role models in the absence of a dad — maybe through sport

  73. William — on 17th February, 2007 at 11:44 am  

    Kismet

    “I’m with douglas. Most people worthy of admiration did things their own way, which necessiates being a rebel, which generally indicate their parents were kinda dicks ”

    I agree with this. I wonder if you think I woudn’t.
    Rebellion, questioning, even subversion is often the way to progrss.

  74. Amrit — on 17th February, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

    El Cid, El Presidente and El Jimmy Cricket (the same person?!) make some excellent points. El Presidente, that was hilarious (#69).

    I think family values are neither progressive nor conservative, or whatever, and people should stop trying to label them accordingly. It’s how they’re transmitted, so to speak, that’s conservative or progressive.

    Teaching your children to question? Good, and I would say, progressive. Expecting them to be carbon copies of you? Bad, and I would say, conservative. What do you do when you have both of these things at once?

    I definitely think respect should be earned, that is ironically something I learnt from not being able to respect my parents. The thing is, as highlighted in post #70, people really don’t want to think for themselves any more. Maybe the dumbing-down culture needs to be dealt with before the respect issue.

    To go back on-topic, maybe the way family values are transmitted is what we need to worry about and / or criticise.

    I’m probably not helping the debate any, but this is my sad little attempt!

  75. Sunny — on 17th February, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    I think family values are neither progressive nor conservative, or whatever, and people should stop trying to label them accordingly. It’s how they’re transmitted, so to speak, that’s conservative or progressive.

    That’s a brilliant point – I didn’t think of it in that way.

    I don’t have a problem with rebellion. Hell I went on the May day protests myself plenty of times (and probably still would). I’m against criminal behaviour, carrying guns, ganga bravado and that sort of stuff. There is a line between the two.

    #68 / #69 was funny. Although I’m not sure I want to be called New Labour.

  76. sonia — on 18th February, 2007 at 1:18 am  

    Don – brilliantly said.

    “How is the world screwed up in the first place? Because traditional lack of respect for authority (of teachers, parents, police etc) has broken down.”

    well sunny i think you’ve just contradicted yourself there – the traditional ‘lack’ of respect has broken down? :-) or did you mean the traditional respect for authority? im not going to be ridiculously simplistic in trying to pin down why the world is screwed up. but i can say that if everyone had ‘traditional respect for authority’ you won’t get very far in too many of your campaigns today – i.e. the ‘progressive’ ones. you can’t see the contradiction in what you’re saying – and expecting young Asians to challenge the ‘communal leaders’ ? Really, you surprise me.

  77. sonia — on 18th February, 2007 at 1:37 am  

    i think a lot of people have forgotten what it was like being a kid. thanks for your point up above leon – yeah fuck the foreign policy thing – there are plenty of other ways kids can see how hypocritical adults are. on a daily basis! oh yes, too many adults are so condescending about kids -> ‘political’ they might not be per se, but they sure haven’t been as brainwashed as they might become later on – they’ve got a bit of common sense about them. any parent knows kids ask a lot of ‘uncomfortable’ questions. you can’t pull the wool over their eyes so easily. personally i cant understand why humanity insists on having kids then treating them as if they are the problem and ‘demonising’ them. it’s enough to make one ask well why the hell did you have me then.

  78. sonia — on 18th February, 2007 at 1:43 am  

    i didn’t say it’s screwed up what you want for your kids sunny – but if you want them to respect authority for authority’s sake i think you will have to accept that some of us will think that is authoritarian! and who cares about what some of us think? if that’s what you want – good for you. who thinks what is authoritarian or right-wing – is all very subjective and in degrees.

  79. Leon — on 18th February, 2007 at 1:44 am  

    i think a lot of people have forgotten what it was like being a kid.

    There’s something too that.

  80. sonia — on 18th February, 2007 at 1:45 am  

    but seeing as you have set yourself up as ‘progressive’ i can see you might think it is a bit of a problem! ah well goes to show – labels can come back to bite you in the ass..:-)

  81. douglas clark — on 18th February, 2007 at 2:16 am  

    Sonia,

    I think ‘family values’ can be a good thing, a bedrock on which you build an identity, or a bad thing, a set of prejudices. Depends on the family, I think.

    But children do break free of even the most ‘conservative’ childhood. For conservative, you might prefer to read “stuck in the mud”.

    The daughter character in AbFab was a classic example of rejection of parental world views, was she not?

  82. sonia — on 18th February, 2007 at 3:14 am  

    oh douglas i didnt say family values wasn’t a good thing – ‘family values’ as a blanket term can refer to anything really – so i dont see how i can say ‘it’ is a good thing or a bad thing – as someone up there said, it depends entirely on how they’re ‘transmitted’. arguing whether family values are progressive seems to me a bit like saying morals are good. in any case i have no bugbear with ‘family values’ – everyone has ‘family values’ to some extent or other! it’s the issue about ‘respect’ that i have a big problem with. when i was a kid, my parents were like you’re so disrespectful – you ought to respect us. and you know what – i was probably a really bad kid cos i was like -yeah right – to that statement. I OUGHT to resepct you? that pretty much did it for me – the OUGHT to bit. i would have respected them so much more if they hadn’t said it in that way. thing is – i was about 8 then. later on in life i tried to see it from their perspective and i can understand. but you know what – i remember it really clearly – that kind of line just doesn’t work on kids. well it works on some – my sisters were docile – but for feisty kids – it really riles them up and makes it worse. completely the wrong approach.

  83. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 8:47 am  

    The above interaction between Jagdeep and Kulvinder perfectly illustrates (to me) exactly WHY real respect within the black community (and some parts of the Asian community) is going down the pan. It also illustrates what happens when people of all political persuasions, think too much and do too little.

    I’m a 41 years old bristish born and breed black man and along with most of my friends was raised by a lone parent, living mostly on benefit on a council estate in Wolverhampton. I went to school, attended church and was a member of a notorious street gang called The Posse. Thirty fours years later not much as changed, apart from attending school, I still (somtimes) go to church and I’m still a honourable member of The Posse (MP to you boys and girls).

    We (my friends and I) were lucky because my generation were the last to be allowed to be raised by the whole community in partnership with one another. Everyone, every adult that I came into contact with played their part, safe in the knowledge that they wouldn’t be second guessed or worse still accused of some political incorrectness or other. From both of my parents (because even though my parents divorced, my father was never absent), to my wider family and friends, to the some of my teachers at school (Mr Colligan, Ms Jones, Mr Stangroom to name a few), parents of my friends (Mrs Ruddock, Mr and Mrs Liston) to my Sunday school teacher (and football coach), Father Patrick and others did what they HAD to do for me to become a full viable adult. Take it from me that SOME of the things those adults had to do wasn’t pretty and today would be considered illegal. Even then I knew (and was taught) that not everything adults did or said was necessarily right or correct but that was never the point.

    I used to walk the dog of an elderly Jewish lady and in return she would tell me stories of what happened to her at Belsen Concentration camp. My local corner shop owners Mr and Mrs Pal would fill my head with tales from India that would have given Rudyard Kipling a run for his money, my best mates dad from Ireland taught me about the true meaning of boycott. The good book taught me that I couldn’t walk on the other side of the road.

    One way or the other this process replicated itself time and time again along with my siblings and peers. I was brought up in a “COMMUNITY” which shared and promoted basic values such a honour, love and respect which seamlessly transferred itself my immediate peer group, that of my gang. First and foremost “The Posse” did not exist in a social vacuum. Even though we had our occasional runs-ins with the police (there was one good cop whom I will never forget), the Posse never set itself against the community in which operated in and boy did we “operate”. I learned life skills within the Posse that I couldn’t have learned elsewhere, skills that have remained with me to this day. I cannot stress the importance of being a member of the posse has had on my life, the Posse was in fact my second family, my home away from home, a group of people of my own age whom I could turn to, without question or reward. The Posse was so much more than a band of feral children running around Heath Town causing trouble and mayhem. It was a organisation based on rules, law and discipline. Even though respect was beaten into us by our parents and elders it was practiced and made flesh on the street. Respect for me and my contemporaries is something almost organic in nature. It informs, reflects and effects everything we say and do and is a million miles from the “disrepect” that is practised today by most our youngsters. I spent my youth earning my respect and as a result I had it returned form ALL who came into contact with me. Nowadays respect is not earned, it’s ripped off by bling, rampant commercialism and the labels on your clothes, sneakers and mobile phone. Respect today is not measured by the worth of the man but rather by the size of his gun and that’s a fact. Well Sonia I want you to listen and listen up good. The day I give repect to some swotty nose fuckwit kid totting a gun is the day, I’m dead. What really riles me is that these little Hitlers feel say that they can do anything to anyone without no consequence to themselves because they have no fear of facing any consequence and that dear Sonia is like running up a steep hill backwards, because where I come from NOTHING happens without consequence. There were lots of things that I didn’t like about my parents but the fact that they provided me with food, clothes and shelter meant that they deserved my respect. The same went for my teachers at school, the owners of the corner shop and that little ole jewish lady. These people gave something to me and I was honour bound to give something back in return. Yet all I hear today is people both young and not so young demanding respect for nothing and as a absolute right. Well I say fuck em! Fuck all the gangbangers, fuck em all to hell.

  84. Chairwoman — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:28 am  

    John Christopher – May I give you the respect you have so obviously earned, and congratulate you on having summed up so correctly and succinctly.

    ‘There were lots of things that I didn’t like about my parents but the fact that they provided me with food, clothes and shelter meant that they deserved my respect.’

    Parents owe their children food, clothes and shelter, but children owe them respect in return.

    When Katy was a child and used to ask me why she had to do what I said, and not the other way around, I used to tell her because it was my turn. When I was a child, I had to do what my parents said until I was old and experienced enough to make my own decisions. At the time in question, it was my turn to make the decisions for her, when she was older she would make the decisions for herself, and when she had children, it would be her turn to make the decisions for them, etc.

    A good parent will have the wisdom to listen to and consider the child’s views, and reject them when they are not appropriate. The child should know this is happening, though obviously there are times when one person has to make a quick decision without consultation, but that happens in the adult world too. Parents should also be willing to tell their children if they themselves have made an error of judgement, then the children won’t grow up thinking that all decisions they make are going to be the right ones.

    This is how people learn what true respect means.

    The result of children not understanding these lessons have been seen this week in South London.

  85. Amrit — on 18th February, 2007 at 12:55 pm  

    Chairwoman, I totally agree with you and I think you’ve only illustrated the point I made above. It’s about HOW you instil the values in children.

    I think maybe people should stop calling Sunny authoritarian or whatever – who cares? It doesn’t have anything do with family values. I still don’t think ‘family values’ has any real political meaning in itself. How you raise your children, and the way you teach them to think – that is what is important!

    I do agree with Sonia that people have forgotten what it feels like to be a kid. You can have respect for your parents, and then you can have admiration for your parents, and it’s not so easy to reconcile the two. Often, I would say the lack of the latter taints the former so that respect is nothing more than obedience to a child, and even that begins to break down eventually.

    I think all the bling rubbish is not about ‘respect,’ but about identity. People slot themselves conveniently into that existing system of bling, guns and etc. because it’s something that seems to be everywhere and ‘unites’ people (in the sense that you have ALL RACES, not just black or Asian or white kids) promoting it. It’s really really EASY.

    There is a really disturbing cynicism behind that that needs to be addressed. As highlighted in Sonia in #82, the relationship between parents and kids needs to be more real and less contractual.

    That is, of course, just what I think. I could say so much more on this topic of family values, from personal experience and because so many excellent points have been raised in this thread. :D

  86. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 1:38 pm  

    I’ll go further Chairwoman, it’s NOT enough to be just a good parent (especially a good lone parent). My mum was a great mother and provider for her family but if she didn’t have the help of her immediate family, friends, community and government, she as a lone parent trying to bring up four children on little or no income, would have been up shit creek without a paddle. If my mother hadn’t taken the wise decision to allow my father access to HIS kids, I have no doubt that I would now be writing this e-mail along with many other black men from within the confides of a prison celll. What I was trying to say was that it took a community, a whole community to bring me where I am NOW. That community has now been destroyed through self-interest, greed and political correcetness gone mad. My mother was the very opposite of Thatcher’s (there is no such thing as society) Britain. She was a fully signed up member of the social contract and kept up her end of the bargain for getting social security, a council house and free education and health care for herself and her kids. Today ALL of her kids pay their full whack in income tax (one even works for the Inland Reveue) and none are in are in prison. If my mother taught me one thing it was this. There is no substitute for common sense. She would beat me morning, noon and night to teach me that lesson but only now with South London knee deep in bullet casings do I fully understand what she meant. Our kids are now paying the price and we only have ourselves to blame.

  87. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    We have abandoned common sense in favour of a social revisionism which says that nothing is wrong and everything is right, that’s why Sunny is being labelled as some kind of right-wing fascist for saying what I think is plain common sense……The family matters. But Sunny was wrong, deadly wrong, to suggest that children are not influenced by the actions of adults. I would go as far to suggest that there is a direct link between the illegal invasion of Iraq and the current spate of nigger on nigger shootings in London and Manchester. Blair and Bush are the two Biggest gangbangers on the planet and they are the ones who have taught our kids the way of the gun.

  88. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 2:19 pm  

    “direct link”.. JC you speak my language and have a similar upbringing to me but that particular bit don’t make sense. I think you mean “indirect” link, which I would still disagree with but others might not.

  89. Sunny — on 18th February, 2007 at 3:32 pm  

    But Sunny was wrong, deadly wrong, to suggest that children are not influenced by the actions of adults. I would go as far to suggest that there is a direct link between the illegal invasion of Iraq and the current spate of nigger on nigger shootings in London and Manchester.

    See although I agree with most of your post John, and a very strong post it is, I’m not sure if I go that far. Yes kids are influenced by the actions of adults but to what extent are the two corrolated? The influence my parents had in having some respect for the law far outweighs the impact of foreign policy. Kids may use that as an excuse, but I don’t think that is the main reason they’re motivated into violence.

  90. Nick Kasoff - The Thug Report — on 18th February, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    In fact, the problem is even broader than just parental influence. Many cultural influences, from Bart Simpson to gansta rap, tend to drag down children’s tendency to submit to authority and conform to cultural norms of human decency.

    As far as guns go – they are a powerful tool by which people can act on their personal values, for better or for worse. The guns themselves do not create those values.

  91. Chairwoman — on 18th February, 2007 at 4:36 pm  

    John @ 86 I agree with you that children are best brought up by a community. when I was a child, I not only had an extended family who never missed an opportunity to admonish or give advice, but also neighbours who didn’t think twice about telling other peoples’ children how not to behave. And we didn’t think twice about not disobeying them. That would have been a very bad idea. The political and social climate these days does, however, not allow people to step in and chastise a child not belonging to them any more. Give a child a telling off, or take it home to its parents and ‘report’ it, and it is more likely to be the responsible stranger having his/her collar felt than the child being remonstrated with in any way at all.

    A young lawyer of my acquaintance used to appear in the Youth Courts. Initially said young lawyer was surprised how often children appeared before the bench without being accompanied by a parent or appropriate adult. What does this tell the child? Their behaviour is bad enough to merit an appearance before the Justices, but not important enough for someone to take the morning off work, or even to get out of bed, to accompany them.

    I can’t in all honesty go along with #87 however. Foreign policy seems to have become the catch-all whipping boy for bad behaviour. Every ill from suicide bombers on public transport, through demonstrating against cartoons published abroad in a previously unknown newspaper to, now, black on black gun crime.

    I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. It’s not the reason, it’s the excuse. And not even that in most cases.

    I do agree with Nick Kasoff about cultural influences.

    My ward Dmitri is in 20s and suffers with Aspergers syndrome (as do those who live with him). The result of this is that he takes things very literally. He spends hours in his room listening to gangsta rap and watching television. His ambitions vacillate between wanting to be a ‘wide boy’ (when ‘Minder’s’ running), a Sicillian mobster (Al Paccino/Robert de Niro season) or live like 50 Cent (‘Cribs’). And I constantly have to explain to him that (a) is just not a good idea (b) he can’t be Sicillian just because he’d like to be, and (c) you have to have earned the money to be able to afford to live like that, and most people wouldn’t want to even if they could.

    While he is an extreme case, because of his condition, I am convinced that younger boys feel the same. I recognise the problem, know how it should be dealt with in the future, but wouldn’t know where to start with the children who already have guns and knives in their arsenals.

  92. Katy Newton — on 18th February, 2007 at 4:43 pm  

    I would go as far to suggest that there is a direct link between the illegal invasion of Iraq and the current spate of nigger on nigger shootings in London and Manchester. Blair and Bush are the two Biggest gangbangers on the planet and they are the ones who have taught our kids the way of the gun.

    I disagree. I work in the criminal justice system and I can tell you that there has been a serious problem with gun- and knife-related crime in this country since long before Bush and Blair went anywhere near Iraq. It’s time people in this country took some responsibility for the way their kids behave and stopped trying to pin it on foreign policy, the government or political correctness gone mad. The problems start with parenting.

  93. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 5:30 pm  

    To Sunny, Chairwoman, El Cid, Nick and Katy.

    Until about two weeks ago I would have agreed with you all that there was no causal link betwwen what is currently happening in Baghdad and the on the streets of South East London. That was until I happened to earwig on a conversation between two gangbangers in Tottenham. Now I’ve got to be real careful in what I’m about to say but the intelligence on the street is saying that weapons from Iraq are finding their way onto the streets of London. Now I can’t verify whether this is in fact true or not but what really scared me was that these niggers actually admired Tony Blair for the way he went to war and I quote directly: Nigger One “Tony Blair is a bad motherfucker.You got to give the man respect!” Nigger Two: ” He don’t care about anyone. He shoots first and doesn’t ask no questions.”. So I’m sorry folk but I beg to differ.

  94. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    Are you a windup merchant?
    What’s with the “niggers” again and again and again? It’s tiresome, so stop it please.
    “the intelligence on the street” Is this Huggy Bear or something.
    In Tottenham you o-ver-heard what exactly? A conversation between two kids or something in your own mind. I went to school in Tottenham, just by Broadwater Farm funny enough. I know the place is rough, first hand. I even hear some people want to move to Hackney to escape the violence. But yoof talking about Tony Blair!?
    Enuff already.

  95. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 5:58 pm  

    Please everyone understand this, it is not important in the grand scheme of things what I may or may not think about Blair and Bush, Iraq or Niggers shooting each other on the streets of Peckham. But it isimportant what those niggers think because they are the ones holding the guns and pulling the triggers. We ignore them at our peril. And if anyone here thinks that I’m making excuses for the actions of a bunch of no-good worthless fuckwits, then think again. I’m just saying it how I see it and if you happen to disagree that’s cool just remember I’m only the messenger and it’s black people like me who are the ones currently living in fear. This is just one more example of the law of unintended consequenes. And Katy , you are wrong. I’ll say it again. You could be the best parent (parents) in the world but you are fighting a uphill battle if the world you are bringing your children up in, is itself fucked up.

  96. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 6:21 pm  

    El Cid

    If you want to underestimate these “kids”, go right ahead (from the safety of your living room) and knock yourself out because here in Tottenham you’ll wind up dead for your troubles and if you don’t like a black man calling a nigger a nigger then that’s just tough. I don’t like niggers. Like I said, I’m only the messenger, I can’t stop you from sticking your head in the sand. A windup merchant you call me. What will it take for you people to get message? Do I have to die first at the hands of some teenage cretin holding a uzi before you people finally understand? I’m not prepared to die to illustrate a point not for you and not for anyone.

  97. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 6:43 pm  

    I still think a black man calling other black men “nigger” is pathetic, whether it is a term of endearment as in American gansta rap or a classist profanity. I know you use it in the same way as white people might use ‘trailer trash’, but it is a derogatory term historically used to put down all black people nonetheless. “We’re claiming it back for ourselves” — cojones!
    I still reckon you are are probably a wind-up merchant (Sunny can you check the IP address). You’ve certainly irritated me, which is a shame because we may well agree on a number of things. I direct the gentlemen to posts #68, 69, 71, 72 for a taste of the man behind the moniker. But I refuse to chat to you while you persist with your “nigger” talk. I also don’t think that references to foreign policy do anything to advance you arguments. They are a ridiculous distraction.

  98. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 7:13 pm  

    El Cid

    Why don’t we agree to disagree because we could blah, blah blah all day and you still wouldn’t get it. Niggers are NOT black (that’s my point) and IMHO in fact they are barely human. They are the scum of the earth and the lowest of the low. They are evil made flesh. The fact that we are having an arguement about semantics while children are shooting each other in their beds just shows that you have learned nothing and the petulants you show in refusing to engage with me because of my use of language is an demonstration of the same. I’ve just spent the last half hour watching the national news on TV and if the niggers didn’t know who Tony Blair was before, they do NOW! Sorry please accept my apology. I should have said “very bad people”.instaed of “Nxxxxxxs”.

  99. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

    I agree that we ought to call them something nasty — maybe something less American and less black-only eh? chav has potential. What about Gangsta Chav?
    There has been a tendency to use chav to insult poor white anglo-irish people in general, but it has greater and more positive potential as a cross-cultural label for all anti-social and violent yoof who embrace mediocrity, ridicule hard work and study, and then fail their children.
    Some white chav are into random drunken thuggery, some black chav might prefer guns — it’s the same thing, whether they wear Burberry or not.
    It’s an idea

  100. ZinZin — on 18th February, 2007 at 8:02 pm  

    Mr Christopher
    Are you using the N-word in a Chris Rock context?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_q8LxO4wnCQ

  101. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 8:37 pm  

    Zinzin

    I could kiss you. At long last somebody has got it! El Cid I besiege you to search out a DVD copy of this legendary Chris Rock sketch. I’ve just noticed the you tube link, so now you’ve got no excuse. Now you can laugh your guts out and learn something real at the same time. Go for it!
    I love you Zinzin.

  102. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 8:45 pm  

    Thanks for the dvd tip, but I saw the aforementioned a long time ago, probably when it was a video — very funny it was too. Who the fuck do you think you are talking to? Some liberal country gimp?
    It’s beside the point. This is the last time I’ll say it — stop embarassing yourself.
    P.S. I wouldn’t trust zinzin if i were you.

  103. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 8:55 pm  

    JC, we should be allies, so jus’ seckle eh?

  104. William — on 18th February, 2007 at 10:19 pm  

    John Christopher

    You seem to be saying that it is the family or community that is responsible and that it was the community networks and the fact that you could see your dad that prevented you from ending up in prison like your friends.
    The problem is how do we get back to family and community values.
    What made parents stick together. What made communities mutually caring and why have we lost that. Is it upward mobility, change of location for jobs, or what.

    I must admit I am a bit curious about the Heath Town Posse. I have looked at your website and I in the 60’s and 70’s I lived a couple of streets away from your schools. I knew some members of a gang from Heath Town who called themselves the heath town mafia, although I wasn‘t one myself. Some of them were imprisoned in approved school for attacks on people. They seem to have existed before your gang existed so I am wondering how it all adds up considering you say the loss of community seems to be a later development. Maybe these particular gang members did not have the social network you had.

    Chairwoman

    I agree that at one time other adults in the neighbourhood could take responsibility for admonishing children and even report back to the other parents. I remember this well. Neighbours did know each other and did pop around for a cup tea, borrow a cup of sugar, couple of slices of bread (cliché but true). People often married from their locality. My uncle married a girl from across the road my other Uncle someone from the same estate. As kid I remember at one time just being able to knock on a neighbours door and saying can I/we come in for a bit to just be there or can we come in and watch tv (even if we had our own tv).

  105. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 10:28 pm  

    Wait there a second. I want to get this straight. El Cid, we have been doing this merry dance since 2.19pm this afternoon, with me assuming that you didn’t know what the fuck I was talking about because my constant use of the “N” word. Now you inform me that you knew EXACTLY where I was coming from having previously seen the Chris Rock sketch years ago in the distant past. This being the case, why have you been wasting my time on an irrelevant issue of language and the use thereof, when instead we could have been spending our time trying to find solutions to far greater problems. If you don’t want me to treat you like “some liberal country gimp”, then you should do us all a favour and stop acting like one. Then we can all be friends, as long as you are not a nixxxer!

  106. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 10:36 pm  

    Remember the film “Crash” JC?
    Remember when the TV director blows his top with the police, goes back to his car and spits out with contempt “You embarrass me” to the guy played by Ludacris?
    I guess you are like the TV director and, you know what, I agree with you completely — just so there’s no misunderstanding.

    Remember “Boyz in the Hood” when the psychotic self-hating black copper beats up one of the protagonists to a pulp? That, as I’m sure you will agree, is something else.

    Anyway, I hope to see you back on these pages soon. Nice photos btw.

  107. ZinZin — on 18th February, 2007 at 10:51 pm  

    Criticize me all you want El Cid but do not make it personal.

  108. Chairwoman — on 18th February, 2007 at 10:58 pm  

    John C – It’s OK for you to use the N word, but I think the rest of us are not happy with it. There’s been a concerted effort on this site to ban people who use racist language, primarily the N, P, and Y words.

    I would not allow anybody to use such words around my daughter when she was a child, and 50 odd years ago, my parents wouldn’t allow what my mother called ‘language’, which were racially perjorative or swear words in my presence.

    As you’re black, I assume Sunny is reluctant to say this to you, but I’m not, so here goes.

    Young man, you’re free to use whatever language you like elsewhere, but the majority of us are offended by it, so please humour us and find another way to describe the young criminals.

    Apart from that, it’s good to meet you.

  109. Chairwoman — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:10 pm  

    I’ve always wanted to say ‘Young man’ to someone, but Margaret Rutherford rather than Harry Enfield :-)

  110. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:22 pm  

    William, let me put some flesh on the bones of the story of The Posse. First the membership of the posse came from a large catchment area which included Deansfield, Wednesfield, Park Village as well as Heath Town. Where we all came together was at St Stephen’s Junior School and a teacher called Mr Edwards. No members of the posse have ever been to prison and you are wrong in assuming otherwise. One member of my gang did however get expelled from the group for using the Posse as a cover and front for selling drugs. We gave him up to a real band of nasties called the Subway Army after a very bad deal fell through and he came looking for help. Like I said the posse was a loose collective of individuals, held together by both social and cultural ties and firmly based on the rule of law, our law. The timeline would start from about the early 1980′s onwards. Hope this helps.

    As for the solution, let me suggest this starting point. Liberals of all colours should keep their noses out of the business of how black people grow up their own children. It is a sad fact that I can’t think of a single adult of my childhood who if they had been doing now what they did then, wouldn’t have ended up in the in dock and more likely in prison for the offence of child cruelty. That’s really scary!

  111. El Cid — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:36 pm  

    that’s a reasonable starting point. but then i wouldn’t call myself a liberal (now I’m off to bed)

  112. John Christopher — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:39 pm  

    Chairwoman

    OK! I’m really sorry for offending anyone on this forum, it’s just that my people are dying and in some cases innocent people are dying and dying for nothing. Make no mistake about this. The black community is at civil war. There are two sides. I love black people and I hate with all my heart the “other”. So please forgive me. By the way, I love Margaret Rutherford. I can’t think of Miss Marple without thinking of her. She was one cool cat and British to the core. What I wouldn’t give for more like her.

  113. William — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:44 pm  

    John Christopher

    “No members of the posse have ever been to prison and you are wrong in assuming otherwise. ”

    I wasn’t assuming that, I was assuming that the Heath Town mafia were a different gang to yours and was wondering about the different factors as to how why the behaviour of different ones could be different.
    You say you are 41, I am 49 and assume it was earlier.
    Some of those who were imprisoned came from park village and I still remember their names one of them lived in the same street as myself.

    Incidently my sister went to Prestwood Road School and Heath Park. Was Mr Watkins still there when you were there.

    Oh no the subway army! many people had heard of them and their reputation.

  114. William — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:50 pm  

    John Christopher

    Glad for you to comment and stuff. It is good when people come up with stuff that’s also part of their experience and willing and able to tell it.

  115. William — on 18th February, 2007 at 11:54 pm  

    By the way for anyone else please do not get the idea that Wolverhampton is rough place ridden with gangs etc. It is a place with different people and different
    areas. I live in a very nice place.

  116. John Christopher — on 19th February, 2007 at 7:48 am  

    William you wrote in your first paragraph in your posting No: 104 the following:

    “You seem to be saying that it is the family or community that is responsible and that it was the community networks and the fact that you could see your dad that prevented you from ending up in prison like your friends.”

    Now if you had wrote……”prevented you and your friends from ending up in prison” instead of the above, then I might have given you the time of day. What you wrote gave the clear implication that some of my friends went to prison. I’ll put it dwn to a misunderstanding and move on.

    I visit Wolverhampton on a regular basis and still have many family and friends who still live there. But I also know this. A black man living in Wolverhampton won’t have to dig too deep to find the dark underbelly of a place still ridden and governed by the politics of fear. I know Wolverhampton not only “as a very nice place” but also as a very nasty place as well. I still remember the murder of Clinton McCurbin.

  117. Chairwoman — on 19th February, 2007 at 8:23 am  

    John – My friend is a black woman from Barbados brought up partly there, and partly by a strong extended family in NYC, and her opinions are very similar to your own.

    When she moved here getting on for 30 years ago, to get to know her father and half-siblings better, she was shocked and appalled by the youth culture in the British West Indian community.

    Her mantra was ‘What does the UK do to West Indian boys?’. Well, we both knew. The UK had got so soft and politically correct that it had the affrontary to assume that the bad boy culture was one that was normal and acceptable in the West Indies, therefore, in the name of the great god Multiculturalism, it must be allowed.

    She did her best, living in SW London, she became a Mentor, and toured local schools talking to and encouraging young black people to aspire to more than a BMW and a vast selection of expensive trainers.

    With young women, she had a good deal of succcess, but the ‘respect’culture was ingrained in too many of the young men by the time they were twelve.

    My daughter, Katy, works with several young men of WI descent. They all have one thing in common, they adore their tough West Indian grandmothers who weren’t afraid to put them right in no uncertain terms.

  118. vt Das — on 19th February, 2007 at 9:34 am  

    chairwoman u make me horny.

  119. Chairwoman — on 19th February, 2007 at 9:58 am  

    vt Das – that’s just weird.

  120. John Christopher — on 19th February, 2007 at 11:34 am  

    Dear Chairwoman

    It was only when I came back from my first trip to South Africa that I fully realised just how bad a state black males were in the UK. That was in 1994 and things have gone from bad to worse. Last year I did an events photography assignment for a youth christian group and spent all night taking pictures of beautiful single black and asian women with no man in sight. All the girls sang the same song. Black males in the most part were a waste of their time. We have to start to turn around this juggernaut called social progress because the last thing this represents to the average black male is anything but “progress”. There are some seriously complex social issues in play at the moment which I can’t see being dealt with anytime soon. If left to fester, I see no hope for the black man in this country. That’s why my wife and I are already making plans to move and emigrate to South Africa.

  121. William — on 19th February, 2007 at 12:53 pm  

    John Christopher 86

    I have just re read this

    “I have no doubt that I would now be writing this e-mail along with many other black men from within the confides of a prison celll.”

    Sorry it is my mindunderstanding!!

  122. sonia — on 19th February, 2007 at 1:08 pm  

    :-) it’s funny old world. so now im in favour of gun-toting kids? ! “listen up good” – oh my dear friend that doesn’t sound very respectful – perhaps you should consider your tone young man …

    anyhow to some extent we’re all talking at cross-purposes. some of us mean different things by the one word respect, and have different views about then how it works and how to get there. some of us have views that parents automatically ‘deserve’ respect and others are of the persuasaion that it is not automatic but earned.

    but i think there is a lot of overall agreement despite all that. about the complexity involved and that it’s not an easy straightforward thing. ‘connecting’ with young people in a way that they don’t find overwhelming.

    if the focus is how to achieve good end results i suggest there’s not much point focusing on the ‘authority’ question – we clearly all have very different views on that. everyone has their own perspective based on their own experience and they’re entitled to those viewpoints. we’re all adults here and we can choose to disagree.

    what is important to take away i think is that if we have different opinions, it is probably the case that different approaches work with different sets of kids. they aren’t a monolithic block- they are individuals. we need to respect that. and there’s one thing people often overlook – some children can be ‘well-behaved’ on the surface and big trouble underneath. docility is not in itself a particularly indicator.

    let’s face it, there is a big problem with crime, and with young people getting involved. question is what do we do about it, what can we do about it. there are so many different intersecting factors.

    chairwoman had some good points about the difficulty of being a good parent and how being able to admit when you’re wrong is important. see i think she has a really crucial point there – kids pick up on stuff like that and it’s that kind of thing that makes a big difference, especially in effective communication. i think that what sunny said about ‘communication’ is a key part of this conundrum – the question is how one goes about it. i think we all know that you can ‘respect’ someone, but not feel that you can necessarily communicate with them, truthfully.

  123. sonia — on 19th February, 2007 at 1:11 pm  

    ..particularly..”good” indicator. i meant..oops

    and the other thing about communication is it’s a two-way process. so if it’s a “i speak you listen” situation, chances are that won’t really encourage good communication.

  124. Jagdeep — on 19th February, 2007 at 3:45 pm  

    Chairwoman said:

    Ha ha ha – Sorry, funniest thread I’ve ever read here. I will be interested to see if our free thinkers are still as free thinking when they are bringing up their own children.

    Jagdeep says:

    Word up Chairwoman.

    Big shout outs (as the ghetto youth dem say) on this thread to Soru and John Christopher for his first post too.

  125. El Cid — on 19th February, 2007 at 5:27 pm  

    I will be interested to see if our free thinkers are still as free thinking when they are bringing up their own children.

    Hmmmm. I hadn’t seen that. Ain’t dat the truth.
    This generational thing goes to the heart of why human beings are essentially hypocrites at heart, me included.

  126. John Christopher — on 20th February, 2007 at 12:34 am  

    Sonia, we have a problem. All my life I’ve listened to people like you, spouting a variety of degrees of nonsense while at the same time watching the prison population of this country grow ever larger with the wasted lives of black men and I ask myself “how do I square this circle?” I would love to live in this Utopian, fluffy, fairytale construct of the wet liberal left but everytime I’ve come near it, all I see a mirage, an illusion, a jelly mold construct that implodes on itself constantly, so weak are it’s foundations. Sonia , as a thoery what you believe is all well and good and even sound but when tested in the REAL WORLD on real people, simply doesn’t stand up to the test of time. In our rush to be clever, we sometimes forget (or are blind to) the obvious, like learning to walk before we run and never placing your hat where your hand can’t reach. Teaching a child the difference between what is wrong and what is right is not a multi-choice questionaire and neither is it democratic, it is in reality, one-way traffic of an adult instructing a child. I already know that what I am saying will be greeted with derision by the politically correct but i don’t care because I know from the long experience of my fore-fathers that what I am saying is not only correct, if applied today, it works and at the end of the day, my dear Sonia, that is the omly thing that matters..

  127. Chairwoman — on 20th February, 2007 at 8:27 am  

    John – May I assume that you are a parent?

  128. John Christopher — on 20th February, 2007 at 9:19 am  

    Assumption is the mother of all fuck up’s! You would assume wrong. In fact my wife and I are thinking about adoption but I can’t see the social services letting us through the front doors. Their loss I suppose but eventually we will all pay.

  129. sonia — on 20th February, 2007 at 9:43 am  

    Houston..we have a problem!

  130. Chairwoman — on 20th February, 2007 at 10:38 am  

    I didn’t say I did assume, I asked if I might assume :-)

    It’s rare to find a non-parent that actually understands the responsibility that bringing up a child entails.

    I see what you mean about social services, you seem far too sensible to meet with their criteria.

  131. El Cid — on 20th February, 2007 at 11:42 am  

    #126 — very well put

  132. bananabrain — on 20th February, 2007 at 12:11 pm  

    so if i understand this correctly:

    progressive = good, right?

    two-parent families are also, apparently, better if we are looking to prevent family breakdown.

    but “progressive values” say we shouldn’t enforce conformity, so we must prevent the stigmatisation of those families without two parents.

    the trouble is that family values are traditional and tradition is inseparable from a certain level of group identity and conformity, which can become repressive and authoritarian. it’s a spectrum – and when we reduce it to buzz-words and nostrums we actually fail to help anyone, because it becomes a battle of slogans and banners: “FAMILY VALUES” against “PROGRESSIVE PARENTING”. the trouble is that “bad thinking drives out good”, in that “family values” instantly gets hijacked by the birch-single-mothers brigade, whereas “progressive parenting” instantly gets hijacked by the we-mustn’t-oppress-multicultural-norms brigade. both are equally wrong.

    the same thing happens with the spectrum which exists between “you’ll think differently when you’ve got kids” (which can equally well mean either pragmatism or dogmatism depending on who’s talking) and “i want the kids to have strong values and role models” – which can either mean “respect should be a given” or “respect must be earned”. in reality, the process of becoming an adult is learning to discriminate between deserved and undeserved respect.

    if you ask me, we must steer well clear of words like “progressive”, for a start; they’re nothing but dated but effectively value-free labels nowadays. and we should appreciate that there are spectra for all these things and there is a time for children to explore (e.g. when they’re in the playground or discussing ideas) and a time for children to shut the hell up and do as the parent says (e.g. crossing the road or going to bed). it was the same when we were making our parenting choices – there are things we’d do exactly like our parents and there are things we’d do completely differently. the point was that we are responsible, mature, thinking adult citizens, whereas all you actually need to reproduce is working genitalia.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  133. sonia — on 20th February, 2007 at 12:41 pm  

    nice one banabana brain! quite.
    as you say – it’s an entire spectrum.

    the thing about the ‘oh you’ll see when you become a parent’ was the standard thing parents who hit their kids used to say to people who refused to do the same to their kids.

  134. Chairwoman — on 20th February, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    No Sonia.

    It’s not about violence.

    What you’ll see when you become a parent is: that you can’t have a debate about everything; someone has to be in charge and it’s unlikely that the five year old is the right person; you are also entitled to have a life; children are intrinsically sticky and messy and have to be cleaned up; homework has to be done, school has to be attended, and you are the person legally responsible; some things are too dangerous to be attempted; there are times when medical assistance must be sought; it’s not appropriate to go to school wearing mummy’s high heels and lipstick….

    Need I go on?

  135. El Cid — on 20th February, 2007 at 1:25 pm  

    the thing about the ‘oh you’ll see when you become a parent’ was the standard thing parents who hit their kids used to say to people who refused to do the same to their kids.

    come off it sonia.
    1) there’s no causal link between the two the statements
    2) and what you mean “hit”. a slap round the back of the legs or something else?

    actually don’t feel you have to answer that, this could be one of those classic but stale dividing lines between naive and destructive middle class liberals and those of us who see ourselves as progressive but who know only too well the harsh environment that most people in Britain inhabit

    echoes of an education rift methinks

  136. Leon — on 20th February, 2007 at 1:26 pm  

    Terry Pratchett had this great line in one of his books, that when a woman has a kid suddenly everyone she meets then had a small badge which said “child” on it.

    Sonia 133, yep have seen the same plenty of times too…

  137. Jagdeep — on 20th February, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

    El Cid and Chairwoman you are both hitting sixes on this thread.

  138. Chairwoman — on 20th February, 2007 at 1:39 pm  

    Thank you Jagdeep :-)

  139. sonia — on 20th February, 2007 at 1:58 pm  

    chairwoman i don’t understand why you keep taking what im saying to mean that the adult shouldn’t be ‘in charge’ and that the kid is ‘right’. precisely because the parent is the adult and has the responsibility ( in charge as you – that they need to think about how to discharge that responsiblity responsibly. All that people are debating are about how to best achieve that – that’s all. it’s how to get there – which is the question. there’s no need to get all heavy emotional blackmail -y about it, which is the tone i’m hearing from john christopher. which incidentally rather amusingly reminds me of the tone of a resentful teenager! parents have the responsibility – absolutely. in fact it’s such an enormous responsibility i’m surprised so many people are willing to enter into it. I myself have serious concerns whether i would be able to be a parent.

  140. sonia — on 20th February, 2007 at 1:59 pm  

    i meant to say – ‘in charge as you point out’

  141. bananabrain — on 20th February, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    and it’s the same with breastfeeding. there are the breastfeeding nazis and there are the “i want my body back” brigade. both of them have a point and both of them are completely unable to empathise with opposing points of view. realising it’s ideological is the first step to realising you have your own opinions, based on both reason and emotion.

    @leon: yeah, my sister got one of those a while back. fortunately, mrs bananabrain has held off for the moment.

    @chairwoman: i will have a lot of questions for katy next time we chat. hur hur hur.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  142. sonia — on 20th February, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    there are so many ‘righteous parents’ out there so its’ hardly suprising there are so many disturbed teenagers.

  143. Leon — on 20th February, 2007 at 2:17 pm  

    yeah, my sister got one of those a while back. fortunately, mrs bananabrain has held off for the moment.

    My sis, the sweety that she is, hasn’t thankfully. She’s a first time mother (my adorable niece Amelia-Rose) and manages to be a mother and lack a patronising attitude I’ve seen in others when they have kids…

    there are so many ‘righteous parents’ out there so its’ hardly suprising there are so many disturbed teenagers.

    Heh heh heh not sure it equates but you made me laugh all the same! :D

  144. El Cid — on 20th February, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    there are so many ‘righteous parents’ out there so its’ hardly suprising there are so many disturbed teenagers.

    no it doesn’t equate — the exact opposite is true.
    go check the stats about single parent fatherless criminals and school dropouts
    yeh, i too have serious concerns whether you would be able to be a parent

  145. sonia — on 20th February, 2007 at 2:39 pm  

    not to worry – i would think twice about being one. i would hate to have a kid – who has no choice in coming into this world – then expect them to keep up their end of a bargain – one they didnt enter into – and be resentful when it doesn’t happen automatically and kids aren’t ‘grateful’. kids expect to be taken care of. they don’t realize – they’re just kids, what do we expect? i don’t want to spend my time being resentful…

    and it’s a bloody difficult job – and frankly i don’t feel at all maternal – and most people i know still think that’s weird and i ought to anyway. eh? shows how seriously most people take parenthood. “but what else would we do if we didnt’ have kids.”

  146. sonia — on 20th February, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

    shouldn’t you be spending your time parenting el cid instead of talking about it? it’s all right for the childless amongst you know..we can afford to sit around and theorize.

  147. El Cid — on 20th February, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    like mrs cid, i gotta earn the bacon to pay for da toys and da food and da endless number of shoes..

    anyway, i’m sure you’d make a great mum, and if you’re sure you won’t, well don’t have one
    (they were your words, not mine)

  148. Chairwoman — on 20th February, 2007 at 4:33 pm  

    Sonia – I too didn’t feel maternal. When I was pregnant (btw people assume that a full uterus means an empty head), and strangers would accost me in the street and ask what I wanted, I always replied ‘an Irish Wolfhound’. Katy knows this, so it’ll be no surprise.

    I always considered it a bonus and a wonderful surprise that I loved her immediately.

    I also think that you’d make a good mum, but being one is not obligatory.

  149. Don — on 20th February, 2007 at 4:54 pm  

    Most of us in a position to make choices about how to raise a child will generally make roughly the same ones; some things are forbidden, some compulsory and the rest negotiable. There will be variations about where the lines are drawn but that’s the basic formula.

    Am I right in guessing that CW and I are the only ones here to have raised a child to adulthood? Without false modesty I can claim that mine is a dazzling success, and without unctuous flattery I’d say CW could make the same claim. We may not define our methods as the same, but I suspect that in practice they more or less were.

    But not everyone gets to make a choice, a woman of limited education, self-esteem, and means who has to raise a child in a rough area without a partner or a support network isn’t going to be making choices. She’ll be trying to cope with today. And she will most likely be drained, demoralised and exhausted by the time her twelve year old is mixing with a crowd that isn’t conducive to good conduct.

    Shuggy, as usual, has a good common-sense take on this;

    http://modies.blogspot.com/2007/02/reason-354-for-never-voting.html

  150. William — on 20th February, 2007 at 6:11 pm  

    There are differing views on discipling children and stuff and I am not sure exactly where the truth lies.
    However I have known families where there was never any corporal or physical punishment of any kind and the kids turned out to be model citizens. Of course they were also given unconditional love.

  151. Chairwoman — on 20th February, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    Thank you Don, I don’t know what we did, but it seemed to work :-)

    I have always said we were just lucky.

  152. John Christopher — on 20th February, 2007 at 7:04 pm  

    Sonia

    Don’t go selling yourself short, not even for me. Like the song says “Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone”and you have no need to be fearing for tomorrow. I can’t tell you that I’m the greatest parent in the world because I’m not but I can tell you that there are two little boys (one on Telford, Shropshire and the other in Hounslow) whom I would willingly lay down my life for. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my boys, even though I am not their biological father. I just love them and I wish to God I knew why it hurts so much for me not to? Alas both Kirran and Issac occassionally push their luck with me, boys being boys and as a result sometimes they get a clip around the ear in return. But whatever happens we ALWAYS made up and we never went to bed angry. I haven’t clapped eyes on Kirran for almost three years now (because his mum went all native with some dude from Bishop Stortford) and it’s pains in ways I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy because when I think of those two boys, I always end up thinking about my own childhood and it’s like it was just yesterday, it all comes flooding back. Most everything I’ve said in this thread wasn’t coming from John Christopher the Man but rather John Christopher the Boy. I’m still that little boy from Wolverhampton, eyes wide open, full of potential and hope irrespective of the daily beatings. My life was so much more than the leather belt. It was filled with wonder and adventure and a life like that never comes without pain. I wouldn’t have wished it any different.

  153. William — on 20th February, 2007 at 7:16 pm  

    John Christopher

    I am not sure exactly where I lie on the continuum of punishment etc but when you talk of daily beatings and leather belts that to me is an extreme and it is not right to punish kids like that it is wrong!

  154. John Christopher — on 20th February, 2007 at 9:34 pm  

    I won’t lie. I did get hit with a leather belt from time to time at hands of my mother. On reflection it was like what Don said ( in his post No:149), when my mother was emotionally drained and exhausted and other times it was when quite frankly I deserved it and there were other more sinster occasions when she did as some kind of power trip. Either way I’m NOT going to excuse the actions of my mother but neither will I blame her. She did what she had to do in difficult circumstances and she did her best. She also loved us. All her children are NOW testiment to that fact. Yet, there are those of us both then and now, who if they had the opportunity would happily have sent my mother to jail for child cruelty. I leave it up to you to choose which sin is the more wrong.

  155. John Christopher — on 20th February, 2007 at 9:38 pm  

    I’ve just re-read my last post. Please accept my apology for my terrible grammar and non use of english.

  156. William — on 20th February, 2007 at 9:58 pm  

    ” Either way I’m NOT going to excuse the actions of my mother but neither will I blame her. She did what she had to do in difficult circumstances and she did her best”

    That is a similar view to myself. I was caned by my mother and my father at least threatened me with the belt (but don’t remember much). My Father was tied to a bed and belted by his dad. My mom said this was just being strict.

    Neither would I justify it, but they did not know any better so I am not going to shout “the monsters” or anything like that.

  157. El Cid — on 20th February, 2007 at 10:00 pm  

    Bernie Grant’s mum used to teach at my junior school.
    She used to rap us on the palm of our hands with three rulers if we were out of order. We used to laugh about it but there was order in her class.
    I remember crying when she left, which was something my mates never let me forget.
    Still, she was unable to stop Jeffrey stabbing Turkish in the cheek with a pencil. Oh, the joys of inner city reality.
    If memory serves me right, I think the cane and slipper were banned when I was about 10/11 due to European law. Not that I think it made any difference in encouraging the classroom anarchy. For that you have got to look at the home and at well-meaning but deeply flawed topdown education reforms. Some kids already had no respect at all for any kind of authority. There were good reasons for that in some respects — bent and racist coppers mainly. But we reap what we sow.

  158. El Cid — on 20th February, 2007 at 10:03 pm  

    maybe it was a pen….

  159. William — on 20th February, 2007 at 10:17 pm  

    A sikh freind of mine told me the following. His father was a Sikh in the British army stationed in the far east. He was also a strict disciplinarian as he put it. Wolverhampton has a large Asian population which is mostly Sikhs. He told me that whenever he used to see a turban he would become anxious for a few seconds being reminded of his dad.

    I returned the following anecdote.

    My father was also in the British army. He was also someone I feared. Whenever I saw even an army beret I would become anxious for a while, being reminded of my dad. true!

    Form is powerful. I guess for a few minutes we related through the common culture of our anxiety.

  160. sonia — on 23rd February, 2007 at 11:40 am  

    “Don’t go selling yourself short, not even for me” :-)

    don’t worry john, what i think about has nothing much to do with what you’re saying or will say. it’s not selling oneself short – if i feel that i might end up being one of those stressed out mothers ( which i can totally see how that happens, but again – that’s not an excuse)- that really makes me think twice, three times, four times about motherhood.

  161. Nyrone — on 23rd February, 2007 at 10:26 pm  

    what a great thread

  162. The Dude — on 23rd February, 2007 at 11:56 pm  

    That’s why I love writing for picklers. Last year got kicked off a black forum after I was accused of being a racist. Rave on Sunny, rave on!

  163. Monty — on 17th March, 2007 at 1:07 am  

    i suppose that it is not as clear cut as that at all.
    it is not only parents to blame, or teachers. it is society as a whole. cultural freedoms are greater than ever before.
    while parental influences have dwindled over generations, and teachers may be, for a variety of reasons, unwilling to assert themselves on kids, the kids themselves should ‘kop a little of the stick’ so to speak. at around the age of adolescence, i would have to say that i feel a person should be smart enough to realise the ramifications of at least some of their decisions. having a rolemodel who’s been shot a number of times might not be remotely smart, but “50cent” fans might be inclined disagree. most advertising is used to manupulate the thught processes of teens. things that could not happen 20 years ago are commonplace today. EU regulation forcing parents to stop disciplining their kids; magazine articles stating that you’re not cool unless you wear your pants ’round your thighs L.A. gangland style; music that is all about being a gangster. how is any one element of society (parents, teachers, police or anyone else) going to be able to compete against such an onslaught.
    in my opinion, the moral rules of society are changing and this is more under the control of the newer generations than the aghast people of the past. what is ‘wrong’ today will probably be perfectly acceptable tomorrow.

  164. Innit — on 18th March, 2007 at 6:10 pm  

    As a teacher, it is infuriating to be thought that it is our job to instill values into their children.

    Infuriating that parents are looking for the easy way out, and belief that they don’t have to do it.

    It makes life very difficult to control children when there isn’t good support from parents and other members of staff.

    Support from parents is invaluable.

    But, it is very worrying to realise that children have very little fear of authority. There have been children from my school who have gotten into trouble with the law, and laughed at the judge in court.

    What does this say about the current state of affairs?

    Parents, really need parental education. We need to be taught on how to be good parents, otherwise things are just going to get worse.

    It’s incredible knowing that where I come from, parents are mainly young teens and lone. They know very little themselves.

    These are the people in which that should be targetted first.

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