Wednesday, 26 August 2009

"Make sure you bring your bats and don't bring your kids"

Reportedly one of the prematch messages send between hooligans before last nights match between Millwall and West Ham.

Britain is getting beat up everywhere these days - the NHS's dirty laundry is being aired across the Atlantic, London is under heavy scrutiny after Scotland released the Lockerbie bomber, football hooligans are attacking police and stabbing each other outside matches, and the Tories are comparing the streets of Britain to scenes from The Wire.

Often when Brits want to illustrate how bad something is they throw out the phrase "it's like America," and this is when you can expect to hear the most passionate responses - because there is nothing that makes Brits angrier than being compared to Americans. Unfortunately many are so blinded by their passionate distaste for America that they are unable to take an honest look at what is really going on in this country. While comparing an entire country to The Wire (set in Baltimore) may be a bit dramatic it is an image that people can identify with and I do believe that it has merit. My job puts me in contact with young people in the city of London, often kids from terrible homes who have no respect for authority, for their peers, or for themselves. Heroin addicts, dealers, thugs, thieves, violent men - kids in the city are dealing with these things, and sometimes are participating in them, not unlike scenes from The Wire.

When a politician compares Britain to an American city as portrayed on tv people go wild - they write letters, their are dozens of articles covering the statements, it is being talked about on newstalk shows; people are up in arms. Broken Britain is the phrase thrown around on all sides of the political spectrum - yet few here seem willing to have an honest discussion about the serious problems this country is facing, and there are many.

They say the first step on the road to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Sadly not enough people here are willing to do that - and by the time they do it will be too late, if it isn't already.