This week Hazel Blears floated the idea of putting young offenders in US penitentiary-style boiler suits and making them pay back their debt to society by picking up litter, like giant orange Wombles with a bad attitude.
The next day this headline-grabbing idea was briefly defended by Number 10, then quietly left to fade away. It was never clear what specific value the boiler suits would add to punishing offenders, except for promoting the message that Labour is tough on crime. And crime is indeed Tony's next crusade, which is fortuitous, because the national press has been going mental over teenage yobs, booze-related violence, 'hoodies' and gang culture.
Blair said he wants a 'culture of respect', and yet again seems determined to prove he's a bit naff. Most of us have heard enough about 'respect' to last a lifetime - mainly courtesy of rappers and UK garage types. If Da Street had a creed, one of its central tenets would be 'respect'. In the words of Chris Morris' Fur-Q:
'You've got to kill people to have respect for people. You've got to kill some people anyway. You can't kill everybody. 'Cos you wouldn't have anyone left to respect you if you did.'
Given the obvious confusion and contradictions surrounding youth crime, maybe we need to take a whole new look at the issue. To this end we have produced a policy document that we will be sending to the Home Office. We'll keep you updated with their response.
>> THE TFT CLAMPDOWN ON YOUTH CRIME
* Da mobiles, innit?
Ban mobile phones. Mobile phones could easily be made illegal for the simple reason that they're deeply annoying, but they're also clearly the cause of crime, ie:
- Being mugged for your phone,
- 'Happy slapping'
- Filming fire crews being barraged with missiles while they try to put out a fire in the same benighted area the local chavs/neds/wannabe gangstas live in.
Thus it makes sense to make mobiles illegal - with a punitive sentence. People found using a mobile phone would be strapped to a bench inside a sound-proofed room and forced to listen the Crazy Frog - 24 hours a day for a year. Let's see how amusing they find it when they emerge, completely insane.
* The role of schools
Extra geography lessons: There appears to be some confusion in the minds of many schoolchildren as to where they live. Many seem to believe that Leeds is actually a part of South Central Los Angeles. Still more appear to believe that Wandsworth is a borough of Kingston, Jamaica. Fields trips to Compton and Kingston could serve to effectively illustrate this distinction. Surviving pupils would almost certainly have a more realistic view of gangsterism, courtesy of a bullet lodged in their spine.
Street sociology lessons: For example:
- The Ghetto is NOT an inherently good place to be;
- Successful rappers do not live in The Ghetto. They live in Da Gated Community;
- LA street gangs do not survive by stealing sweets from the local Londis.
* The criminal justice system
It's a radical idea, but why not make sure petty criminals get punished for committing crime? If you've racked up 100+ offences, maybe it's time for a '101 strikes and you're out' policy. Since enforced bumming in prison is mainly a fantasy in the minds of idiots who write prison dramas and screenplays, the SAS could be drafted in.
Give us 20 good men with secateurs, and we reckon we could prune every hoodie in Bluewater in one fateful afternoon of sportswear GBH.