2 November 2010

Street kids

Last night's Channel 4 Dispatches was a jolting piece of unsentimental reporting about kids who are driven to live on the street by intolerable domestic circumstances or by adolescent revolt. It showed, pretty clearly, that the kids had made a bad situation for themselves - or a bad situation much worse - by their personal choices, even though in some cases those choices were conditioned by deep psychiatric problems

Despite being invited to do so, they bravely refused to claim the status of victims, prizing their autonomy above offers of help and shelter from the Welfare State apparat. Yet right at the end the programme makers threw in a  line about "savage cuts" in the welfare budget that will make the kids' situation even more hopeless. There was no evidence given or even suggested to indicate that the money is currently being well spent. 

That was followed by Coppers, an equally unsentimental piece of real life as seen by the police. I know in principle that they are social garbage collectors, but it was humbling to see how they preserve their sanity and even a modicum of cheerfulness when dealing with an endless procession of self-destructive human jetsam. 


  1. Our cleaning lady/dear friend told me today about her son's recent local police experience in retrieving two early teens from a ditch-style sexual encpunter which the drunken fourteen-year-old girl had complained about to the authorities. This sounds much like touristi in the US SW parks asking for ice water to be helicoptered in so that they can continue on their aimless wanderings.

  2. Theodore Dalrymple was driven into exile by the sheer hopelessness of the situation created by the Welfare State.