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Is it anarchy

21 August 2007

Anthony Barnett (London, OK): Speaking of headlines and following up Jon's recent post on the Financial Times, since OurKingdom started I've been on the lookout for stories about what kind of country the UK is. So picked up yesterday's Sun which splashed across its front page: ANARCHY IN THE UK Yobs rule streets Knife Crime soars.

Inside it quotes Norman Brennan, a serving policeman who is also a director of the Victims of Crime Trust. The officer tells the Sun:

Violent crime has reached epidemic proportions. we are experiencing anarchy on the streets of Britain. There is no other way to describe it. If the government doesn't get a grip soon I predict outbreaks of civil disorder within three to five years

He also told the paper that what the Sun describes as "Labour's election-winning tough-on-crime slogan" was "the biggest deception in British history". So much for weapons of mass destruction.

Brennan and his organisation help victims of crime and he once told the BBC that the police force was once "almost like family - all looking out for one another. But now we have a lot of targets, it's a different job... a sense of togetherness had been lost...It's a very much more lonely occupation than it was in the past."

It is clear there is an increase in youth knife crimes, they are utterly detestable and frightening. As all political parties are saying, the causes must be addressed and the crimes punished. But Brennan calls for a crackdown on "feral youngsters". Might not this also be a genuine example of the feral media, out to frighten us, could the Sun have encouraged this "furious cop" as they call him, to go over the top?

I could not find the story on the Sun's website - even though it was the paper's lead 'news' item. However there was a 'Have Your Say' link to its theme which asked:

Have Yobs Taken over the UK?

And here are the first four responses:

  • I blame the media, they've made it seem like it's cool and acceptable to be a chav
  • I don't think things are any worse than they've ever been the past. The press is trying to make out there's a "yob crisis" because it helps sell papers. And as for crime figures they are notoriously unreliable.
  • It's sensationalist rubbish.
  • I believe the problem lies in two areas.
  • A) Poor parenting

    B) Poor policing

    So faith in some Sun readers has been restored.

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