The ‘Broken Britain’ Hoax

We received a letter from TeenH’s school yesterday complaining about behaviour: not hers in particular but her year group in general. The complaint, however, had nothing to do with events at the school.

The issue is, it would appear, that students from her school and a neighbouring school tend to gather outside the local take-aways after school and members of the public are complaining about it. The essence of the letter was that students should go straight home after school.

I often have cause to pass these groups on my way home from work and while they do tend to fill up the pavement I find a simple “excuse me” is usually sufficient to allow passage. I cannot see what the problem is, unless the complainants believe the nonsense in the Daily Mail or the demented ravings of Tory think-tanks and assume all groups of teenagers are feral gangs up to no good.

The Tory press has been endlessly repeating the ‘Broken Britain’ meme to scare people into voting for David Cameron’s lot at the next general election. As was recently demonstrated when a much trumpeted teen-pregnancy rate of 54% turned out to be a misread 54 per 1,000 (and thus the teen pregnany rate is falling), this meme is based on nonsense – Britain is not broken. When it comes to bashing the Government though, the Press don’t let facts bother them – as witness the fact that the likes of the Daily Mail kept banging on about the ‘risks’ of the MMR vaccine long after the dangers were demonstrated to be non-existant.

These imaginary scares have real world consequences. Just as the MMR hoax has lead to a totally avoidable measles epidemic, the ‘Broken Britain’ hoax has led to an irrational fear of teenagers which potentially has many more consequences down the line. If we treat all youth as criminals, ban them from socialising in public and put them on a 4pm weekday curfew, what sort of future society are we creating?

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4 Responses to “The ‘Broken Britain’ Hoax”

  1. zeno Says:

    It’s as if youths have NEVER gathered on street corners ever before. Perhaps you should ask the teachers whether they ever gathered outside the chip or sweet shop when they were pupils?

    Alternatively, ask to see the complaints made by these members of the public and how many they’ve had?

    Of course, if the pupils are behaving badly, ask them why their citizenship classes are broken?

  2. Dumbass Says:

    54%?? Wow, that WOULD be something, wouldn’t it! Imagine if half the teenage girls you came across had a baby bump?

    You’ve gotta love mutant statistics. Especially ones that have mutated beyond all common sense!

  3. IanH Says:

    It’s really frustrating, I suspect, for the ‘average’ teenager. Mp ,atter what they do, everyone over 20 seems to hate them. Most of the kids I work with are great, and although the area I’m in may not be generally representative, they tend to be open-minded, thoughtful, committed to their local community in terms of voluntering, clubs and youth groups as well as bright and fairly articulate. They might not be very hard-working, but then the exams they do often don’t encourage them to work!

    As for the 54% – I teach even my 11 year old students to do a sanity check. Seems sad the journalist/political hack in this case didn’t bother.

  4. Dumbass Says:

    My father runs a business, and he always watches the teenagers extra closely when they come in. Some people are just really suspicious of the young.

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