ALL DUE RESPECT
A chance fare leaves our driver wondering if there will always be an England
A week doesn’t pass when my cab radio doesn’t issue broadcasts warning of youths throwing rocks at passing cabs, usually in the housing commission areas of Redfern and Matraville.
Indeed the nightly bus runs out to La Perouse don’t operate without security aboard anymore. The vicious attack I wrote of last month was not an isolated incident in that part of the City, where similar attacks occur on a regular basis. For many of these youths violence is fun. Where once kids were content to get drunk, these days a night out is not complete without proving oneself by smashing someone who can make the simple mistake of looking at them. And in a disturbing portent of things to come, such public violence in Britain has now graduated to sinister new levels, namely, the targeting of the weak and vulnerable in society, in particular the elderly. Labelled low level urban terrorism it has led to the Government instituting a legal instrument called Ant-Social Behaviour Orders.
Recently I picked up a visiting British Labor MP Frank Field, who has been championing the fight against this urban scourge and was in Sydney to deliver a series of lectures for the Centre for Independent Studies. Field says anti-social behaviour stems from the collapse of functional families, the unions and the church, adding that the issue was once taken up squarely by the Left, which ages ago stressed personal responsibility and self-improvement.
Field had just been interviewed on radio when he hailed me outside the ABC in Ultimo. Having listened to the interview I sought to ascertain the extent of the problem. A talkback caller had confirmed it by likening it to A Clockwork Orange, a film which depicted a society spinning out of control. ‘Is it really that bad in your electorate?’ I asked. ‘Absolutely’, Field replied, ‘Pensioners are constantly coming to my office reporting how young lads run across their bungalow roofs, pee in their letterboxes, bang on their windows or jump out at them in the dark’.
Wondering how youth arrived at this point I asked, ‘Do you think it’s to do with the fact many parents simply don’t know how to parent, or won’t parent?’. ‘Most definitely’, he replied, ‘Those parents are failing to nurture their young, to teach them what constitutes civil behaviour’.
When I commented that some parents aren’t fit to breed he replied, ‘Well, you know what the saddest thing I’m seeing is the amount of grandparents forced to raise their children’s children’. ‘Well mate’, I told him, ‘obviously we don’t have the same problem here, yet. But there are certain areas around town I prefer to pick up young adults, such as the Bible belt in the north-west of Sydney where the kids are better behaved than other areas’.
Field noted his seat of Birkenhead was traditionally a Catholic constituency but had now changed to a secular seat. He noted the decline of religion in society had also coincided with the rise in yobbo behaviour. Just then he spotted St. Mary’s Cathedral and requested I drop him off there.
I pulled into the Domain to write up our conversation whilst it was fresh in my mind. Some 15 minutes later I looked up to see Field briskly striding past, heading for the Art Gallery. He saw me and as we exchanged a wave I noted he carried a pained expression. A man on a mission. It seemed as if he bore the hopes of the civilised world. Or at least Britain. Good luck to him.
Read more of Adrian the Cabbie at www.cablog.com.au