This is how authoritarianism is ushered in and personal responsibility is abdicated.
There was a story in the media over the weekend about a party in Farnborough, hosted by two teenagers in adjoining houses which got a little out of hand after being publicised on Facebook and resulted in around 50 coppers with a helicopter and dog handlers turning up to control the crowd of around 150.
1 copper for every 3 teenagers and a helicopter and some land sharks seems a little OTT to me, but that isn’t the point.
I will say that I love the Daily Mail, no-one does indignant righteousness like the Mail, if it involves the young, the police, alcohol and technology then the shrieking gets ramped up past 11 and well into 12.
It is no wonder in their article that young Jordan is ‘giving it large’ he’s the centre of attention and is loving it. Just like the Sex Pistols with Bill Grundy he’s going to say whatever he thinks is going to cause most controversy. I’ll bet he was actually quite relieved when the old bill turned up and sorted out his mess, he’s just a kid and what seemed like a wild old time in prospect perhaps didn’t seem quite so appealing when it dawned on him that it was his house and his stuff that was in the firing line.
It is the comments on the article that intrigue me most. They have in the dead tree version a section called ‘Straight to the point’ or something similar, and it is full of fantastic Blimpish bon-mots akin to ‘My grand-father spent many happy years in Africa shooting darkies, and old sambo was grateful for it. We should send them all back there.’
The comments on this article have a similar feel. Although their scope is much more diverse and representative of people in the county. They range from the almost Libertarian: ‘Make the hosts of the party pay for the police time and any damage done and it will certainly cure any further self promoters from doing it again.’ – You made the choice, you deal with the consequences.
To the predictable but incisive: ‘And the parents were where exactly?’
To the almost apologist: ‘I thought the police were meant to close parties advertised on facebook. looks like they messed up here!’ – Yes, it was the police’s fault for not calling around at 6pm, kicking the front doors in and shouting ‘don’t even think about it, sonny.’
To the mildly alarming: ‘In fact more control over facebook could help.’ – Yes, but by who? Daily Mail readers?
And the downright mad: ‘Time to get rid of the internet. It's far to dangerous. We survived long before it was around and will long after it's gone.’ And ‘ban the internet! its the only way to make britain great once again.’
To the barely literate ‘This world has lost all a control in the name of demcracy and freedom’
Ban the internet? What? Of course last year there was probably a similar story about party publicised on MySpace, the year before it would have been on a message board, a few years before that, it would have been by SMS.
Three predictable things: 1- Kids will organise parties when Mum and Dad are away. Sometimes they’ll get out of hand. 2 – It will make headlines because it is summer and silly season. 3 – The dead tree press and their righteous attack dogs will blame whichever medium of communication was used to publicise the event as the end of our civilisation.
Kids do silly things. Make them take some responsibility for themselves, learn that their actions have consequences, make them face those consequences. It’s all part of the learning process. Banning the internet and democracy because some kids got a bit pissed up and rowdy, well, it’s as OTT as the kids at the party, isn’t it?