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Arabstrap
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Fri 16th Feb '07 11:05AM
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Another day, another teenager shot dead.

British youths named 'most socially deprived of the 21 richest industrialised nations'.

Pot-smoker of the hour Dave Cameron blames a breakdown of fundamental family values.

What's the shizzle? Is society broken, or merely divided? Does the answer lie in parenting, or is that an convenient scape goat for politicians who promote the Western ideals of wealth, capitalism and blind consumerism? Are those ideals adding fuel to the fire of the ever-growing social rift between those with lots of money, and those with little? Could comunism ever work in a race of hunter-gatherers bound by materialistic desire? Is it all just a load of old cobblers? Anyone fancy a pint?

Diziet
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Fri 16th Feb '07 2:36PM
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dude, our society is screwed...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/6366255.stm


Clara
Even red onions have a silver lining
Fri 16th Feb '07 2:52PM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:
dude, our society is screwed...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/devon/6366255.stm





That is just so shocking. Speechless.
 

Trad. Anon.
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Fri 16th Feb '07 3:17PM
"I didn't see any harm in toughening them up. I done the same with my own children."

Good lord.

All are punish'ed... all are punish'ed.

Diziet
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Fri 16th Feb '07 3:46PM
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Trad. Anon. was bold enough to comment:

All are punish'ed... all are punish'ed.



lets hope so in this case.

working for social services in two of manchester's most deprived areas i hear about this kind of parenting all the time. for example, there was a guy who happy slapped his 4 year old son and then circulated the footage around the east manchester area. he kicked the kid off his toy bike and then proceeded to beat him, filming it all on his phone.

cameron's viewpoint seems to focus on the lack of a father figure contributing to teenagers joining gangs. this may be partly true but its not the whole cause of the problem - sometimes these kids are better off without the father they were unlucky enough to be lumbered with.

its an idealistic and, i think, ultimately hollow statement cameron has made. how the hell do you 'compel' men to be better fathers? i think good parenting is essentially the most important factor here, but its not the only one. the police have no power over children these days and teachers are victims of their pupils....victims who can be screwed up and tossed away if the pupils decide they don't want the teacher any more....

http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/education/s/236/236407_struck_off_after_120_complaints.html

Demian*
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Fri 16th Feb '07 5:02PM
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I'm not sure it's broken, just more cynical, jaded, selfish and less compassionate than it used to be. People don't see any reason to care about the random strangers around them the way we're always told they used to (though I'm not sure it's changed all that much).

Maybe it's to do with living in increasingly overcrowded cities - I've always noticed that the smaller a place is, the more friendly the inhabitants are towards strangers. When you spend your life in a swarm of human beings, you have to isolate yourself to some extent in order to retain some feeling of control over your own life and surroundings. In small rural or island communities, seeing a stranger on a street is a pleasure, whereas in a city it's just one more possible obstacle in the throng of people to get through.

Maybe it's just that we only have so much care and attention to spend - if we took time to consider the feelings of everyone we come across in a city, we'd have no time to think about or do anything else, and perhaps this depersonalising of other people leads to a general reluctance to extend care to others.

How we get from there to deliberately hurting others, though...
  

General*
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Fri 16th Feb '07 9:25PM
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I forward the motion that the world is fekking marvellous and it's just rubbish media types and politicians trying to frighten you into doing and thinking what they want you to.

There are lots of horrible things in the world but then again there always has been and to say the world is going to rack and ruin requires thinking of a time when it was any better and you don't have to go very far back before women couldn't vote, being gay was against the law and black people were kept as slaves.
    

Diziet
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Fri 16th Feb '07 10:37PM
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General was bold enough to comment:
I forward the motion that the world is fekking marvellous and it's just rubbish media types and politicians trying to frighten you into doing and thinking what they want you to.




testify!


Malcolm*
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Fri 16th Feb '07 10:50PM
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General, I think you're marvellous.

I can't really think enough to put forward any supporting or contradicting comments (and in any case, it seems such an inherently subjective point that it's probably impossible to do so), so all I can say is - General, I think you're marvellous.
   

Spanners*
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Mon 19th Feb '07 3:52PM
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You the man General!
Why can't the news report on something happy for a change? I've long since given up watching it.
    

General*
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Mon 19th Feb '07 5:16PM
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Wow so much love, I think I'll go and pet some kittens

I know what you are talking about Spanners. I don't really like reading the papers anymore as the Mail/Times/Standard/Telegraph seems to be focused on making you afraid of Muslims/ASBO kids/Gays/etc and the Guardian and the Independant seem to be focussed mainly on feeling guilty for not living some kind of utopian low eco footprint lifestyle that wouldn't support the worlds population and you could only afford if you were a very wealthy newspaper columnist with a city trader husband.

I don't really mind if news is mamothly depressing (Tsunami etc) as long as it is a clear staement of facts, but when I see headlines like "Racist Bully Jo OMera is an Anorexic Recluse" I can't help, but wonder if that is due to the fact that when she steps out of her door every shop has a picture of her face next to the words "Racist Bully"!

I also tend to think that headlines like: Lag in tot slasher pedo horror romp (What a scorcher!) just serve to trivialise important issues and are there really to titilate rather than report.

I mostly get my news from BBC/Guardian online and I do like to read the New Statesman and New Scientist from time to time.
    

Clara
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Tue 20th Feb '07 4:12PM
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I agree with General. There's also my pet hate of 24 hour news services desperately trying to fill their time by repeating stories that, not that long ago, would maybe have warranted a couple of minutes on the 6 o'clock news. Now, you get a bird flu outbreak followed by Natasha Kaplinsky traipsing around neighbouring villages, desperately trying to find someone who is worried that they are about to die, failing, so making the point of her report somewhat redundant and ending by asking why locals appear to be unconcerned about a negligable risk. Maybe because it is a negligable risk!

Then Britney's bald head and associated psychobabble...

Then back to bird flu!

And if I hear one more story about young professionals being priced out of the housing market on the Saturday morning breakfast news as if it is a bold new statement (Really? Tell me something I don't know!) I may throw my television out of the window of my (very much rented) house.

Basically, it would be fabulous if, instead of predicting what may happen, or trying to find stories where there aren't any, we just got the news reported to us. The world isn't such a bad place, it's just that things change and we get new problems (or new versions of old problems) to deal with. It's the constant bombardment of what ifs and reiteration that makes them seem worse (in my opinion!).

End of rant.
 

Trad. Anon.
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Tue 20th Feb '07 4:36PM


General was dull enough to comment:

I mostly get my news from BBC/Guardian online and I do like to read the New Statesman and New Scientist from time to time.



WTF?! Who cares? I get my news from gossiping teenagers on the bus (yes, I use the bus as a part of my utopian low eco footprint lifestyle) and i do like to read Razzle from time to time, the social commentary of it's photo-stories is unparalleled.

I believe there is a genuine problem here with (and I thought I'd be a lot older than I am now before I used these words) 'the youth of today'. No, General, this is not some media-induced anxiety about ASBO kids, this is the honest experience of someone who lived for 18 years in what is - according to the national stats website - one of the UK's most impoverished and socially deprived areas. I wont bore/depress you all with stories of what I and others used to get up to, that's not the bone of contention here.
The area is what used to be referred to as an 'overspill estate'. Purpose built, uniform, clean, new houses and high-rises constructed in green belt as a solution to spiraling inner-city populations, a boom in immigration and new laws to prevent people living in slums. The modern 'council estate' was born.
My newlywed grandparents were moved to one such estate with their then 6 year-old son (my Dad). I always hear stories from my gran about what a great time it was for them and other families and what a great area it was then.
14 years later, I was born and crime had already taken a foothold it the area. Needless to say, it got worse, and continues to. Today the area is home largely to OAP's who have lived round there sice the 60's, people living on the breadline and bored kids - some of them barely teenagers - who have no interest in 'the system' and are quite happy running errands for the local dealer in exchange for a bit of soapbar. By the time they are 20, if they have not sorted their shit out, they will be dealing and/or commiting other crimes, and so the cycle continues. I'm no social anthropologist, I'm speaking from personal experience - if I hadn't got out of there, it would've happened to me. It's the same and worse up and down the UK, this is just one example.
This is the problem i think mr/ms strap was hoping to debate, General, not your taste in newspapers. If poor journalism rials you so, why not start a thread about it rather than - as you state in the 'rules' of this free-thinking soapbox - derailling a thread.

This problem is not a fallacy invented to sell newspapers or fear of the Mail's ASBO kids. It's happening and it's getting worse. Fair enough, what i'm talking about is nothing compared to the atrocities commited by us Brits in the past, but by and large, we're over that.
I think what we need to work on now is the abominable class divide that is so prevelant in this country, the inflated sense of entitlement that people posess and the undeserved sense of accomplishment. If I knew the answer to that, i definately wouldn't be sat ranting on an internet forum to people who care more about the best format and bit rates to download music than they do about what is happening in their own back yard.

I mean no offence by what i say and i'm not usually prone to ranting, but a nerve has been touched.

General*
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Tue 20th Feb '07 7:28PM
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Trad. Anon. was bold enough to comment:


General was dull enough to comment:

I mostly get my news from BBC/Guardian online and I do like to read the New Statesman and New Scientist from time to time.



WTF?! Who cares?
....

This is the problem i think mr/ms strap was hoping to debate, General, not your taste in newspapers. If poor journalism rials you so, why not start a thread about it rather than - as you state in the 'rules' of this free-thinking soapbox - derailling a thread.



Blimey, I seem to have caused a bit of upset there!

Ok first off having re-read the thread I think you've probably got me bang to rights on derailing the thread (Caught by my own rules, bah). I guess I was trying to follow the theme of the 'broken' society being a product of political/media spin etc and then following up Spanners comment, but it's a fair cop.




"General was dull enough to comment:"

...

"people who care more about the best format and bit rates to download music than they do about what is happening in their own back yard."

....

"I mean no offence by what i say and i'm not usually prone to ranting, but a nerve has been touched."



I think I would like to address this before replying to the body of your post.
I accept that as you say I touched a nerve, but typically the policy on TDDO is to refrain from personal attacks etc and I think the "General was dull enough to comment" and claiming that our members are more interested in bit rates than children being murdered was a bit of a low shot. That said I'm a big boy and I'm not really offended so shall take your claim not to mean offence at face value.

I thought it would be worth explaining my stance somewhat as I can see how it could easily be missconstrued as "I am doing quite nicely thank you so sod all you poor people I'm off to play polo" or similar. This wasn't my intension as though I am happy to say that I am both well educated and in a well playing white collar job. I do come from a working class family where my generation were the first to have had the opportunity of going to univerity rather than working in a coal mine.

By saying "I think the world is great", or whatever I said in my earlier statement. I didn't intend to insinuate that there aren't some really horrible places in England nor do I think that gang culture in UK cities is in some way "made up" and not a very serious problem which the government should deal with. All I meant to say was that ultimately there are some really horrible things going on in the country, but if you go back through history there has always been somthing really unpleasent going on (miners strike, cuban missile crisis, NI Troubles, Race Riots, fuel shortages, child labour, the British manufacturing industry collapsing)
I don't believe that anyone can realisticly say on balance that the world is any worse, or any better than any other time in history (Though the people feeling the shitty end of the stick changes from time to time).

My point was broadly that what has changed in the past few years is the way that politicians and journalists talk about things. My world view was changed somewhat by watching the series The Power of Nightmares ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_of_nightmares) In it they postulated that in the past people followed politicians policies because they trusted them, but as times have changed and respect for political figures is almost non existant the only way to push through a policy is to make people afraid of the concequences of not doing so, a tactic mastered by the Neo Cons in the US and New Labour in the UK.

One of the ways of doing this that currently seems to be in vogue is to take a case study like "woman makes kids fight", or "old woman waits 3 years for opperation" and twist them to make it appear to be some kind of antisocial pandemic sweeping the nation. In science you are not allowed to get by with that kind of reasoning. If we base our judgement on that one old lady then for all we know she is the exception and everyone else on the waiting list might have been seen in a week. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but this kind of lazy, soundbite spin doesn't really serve to do anything other than frighten people and give mail readers there famed "Daily Hate"

When it comes down to it I am an Athiest and all I'm going to get is whats in this world and I can't help but focus on all the fantastic things in the world and think that overall the world's pretty bloody fantastic.
    

Diziet
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Tue 20th Feb '07 8:02PM
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General was bold enough to comment:

One of the ways of doing this that currently seems to be in vogue is to take a case study like "woman makes kids fight", or "old woman waits 3 years for opperation" and twist them to make it appear to be some kind of antisocial pandemic sweeping the nation. In science you are not allowed to get by with that kind of reasoning. If we base our judgement on that one old lady then for all we know she is the exception and everyone else on the waiting list might have been seen in a week. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle, but this kind of lazy, soundbite spin doesn't really serve to do anything other than frighten people and give mail readers there famed "Daily Hate"




i have to say that i disagree with this statement. not because it lacks truth. it doesn't. the media does try to focus on particular 'flavour of the month' crimes, issues etc - in much the same way that the NME will focus on a particular 'scene' (New Rave, anyone?) or New Scientist will report stories of particular relevance to the time. the media has always done this, its not a current vogue....its the nature of media. and those issues have probably always existed in one form or another. however, i think the world has changed for the worst.

i work for social services and i live in an area of manchester where gun crime is prevalent, rapes occur regularly and random acts of violence are part of day to day life. working for social services in particular has taught me that there IS an antisocial pandemic sweeping this country (or something very similar). the important thing to remember is that the woman encouraging her toddlers to fight is not the only parent doing this around the country. i already posted another example from my work life (GF
had this on her caseload and she saved those kids lives, i kid you f***ing not!).

i also, like trad.anon, come from a council estate (one of the worst in leicester - the place made beirut look like a holiday destination). perhaps this makes me more inclined to focus on these kind of stories....maybe i would just prefer to know whats going wrong with the world so i feel more prepared for whatever may be coming next.

i think your earlier comments were nice but not fully grounded in reality. i think what trad.anon was trying to point out (albeit in a very aggressive way) was that if you choose to pick only the news you want to hear, effectively burying your head in the sand, then thats your choice. i know, and clearly trad.non knows as well, that the world can be shit and is full of shit people. ignoring them won't make it go away.

reading this back, it all seems a little negative. but it is a thread about the trouble our society is in so i'm not going to change anything.

one last thing i will say is that it seems a shame that trad.anon didn't register first. if he or she had registered, got to know the forum and the forum users a little better, maybe they wouldn't have reacted so angrily to general's post.


Forum Admin Team
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Wed 21st Feb '07 9:59AM


Trad. Anon. was bold enough to have an unjustifiably harsh and personal rant at General


OK we really don't stand for personal attacks on this Forum. I know threads in TBQ are often rather more heated than in other boards but this crossed the line.
Let's keep it friendly ok, no-one here deserves that sorta treatment. Arguments should be put forward in a constructive and friendly manner or not at at all.

Clara
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Wed 21st Feb '07 2:22PM
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Totally agreeing with Spanners there - I'd hate to feel like I couldn't express an opinion on here without risking personal attack. Argue back at me by all means, but personal comments should be left out of it.

Going back to the thread, I'm still of the opinion that the world in general is no better or worse than in previous times (workhouses, slums, three year olds working in mills, anyone?). That said, the way the media chooses to report what is happening worries me - general paranoia can't be good.

The story that started this thread genuinely shocked me. What now occurs to me, and shocks me even more, is that I wouldn't have known about it had I not seen it on the forum. It was buried on the BBC website and I didn't see it on any bulletins on TV that day. Can't remember what else was reported, but I bet some of it was way more trivial, built up to seem very important. This isn't me picking the news I wanted to hear - this is someone else doing that for me. That's the nature of media reporting.
 

Jog_Eerie
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Wed 21st Feb '07 6:00PM
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Just thought I'd add my two penneth...

The media, from my experience, reports news. What is news differs from paper to paper, but generally it is a combination of that which is unusual, shocking, engaging, interesting or entertaining. These elements will vary in importance (to be seen as entertaining is perhaps more important to the Sun, than it is to the Financial Times) but, ultimately, all these aspects are needed because papers need to sell.

But, the majority of papers are owned by corporate giants who have substantially underinvested in order to maximise shareholder value. They no longer have the staff or the budgets to unravel complex stories, however much they are in the public interest.

So simplicity + need to keep people buying papers often = sensationalism. "Easy" to report stories "bird flu found in Norfolk", "schoolboy shot", "Muslims arrested in terror raid" are jumped upon and made the most of. They are immediate, engaging and, let's face it, we're more likely to pay attention to that than "man helps old women to cross road".

There is often, when jumping on such a bandwagon the danger that it comes across as an epidemic. When a story hits, say "schoolboy shot", it is usual practice for the news editor to start asking journalists to look into the following: how many schoolboys have ever been shot? what was he shot with, how common is it to get hold of? is there anything to indicate that schoolboys will be shot again? what makes people shoot schoolboys? and so on.

And, obviously, if you go out to find answers to these questions, you will probably find someone willing to give them to you and you will probably write a story about it. It is not good journalistic practice to turn to your editor and say, "well, I think this is just an isolated case and I think we should just write 500 words on it and not bother with the other stuff." At the end of the day, if it is shocking then it has to be made a big deal of in the paper. It is what news is about.

This, of course, is then exacerbated in television media. Often even more of the context of the story is lost because there is only so much time that can be dedicated to a topic on a TV bulletin. Therefore, we become a headline culture - we only absorb the most shocking aspects of a story and have no context in which to put it.

I think that, apart from the odd documentary, TV, as a rule, is also generally less investigative. I am frequently horrifed to see stories I know have come from three-day old press releases being used on our local TV news (both BBC and ITV).

I'm not saying that I agree that this is how the media should be, it just is.

But to return to the original debate - human beings can be a cruel species and the things they do to each other are, quite simply, horrific. I agree that there is a shocking problem with a rising number of children who have been abandoned by both their parents and the education system.

Is our society going to the dogs? I don't know. I agree that there is a rising sense that something has gone horrbily wrong in some of the most impoverished parts of the UK.

I also know, however, that the UK homicide rate during parts of the Middle Ages was greater than in modern day LA. People were desperately poor, life was cheap and people killed for food. So, from that, I'm inclined to think that every period in history suffers different problems.

I was talking to a friend about this the other day and he believes that the tipping point was the 1950s. He talks from an environmental perspective and blames much of the problems of the UK on the Western drive for consumption. I reminded him that pre-1950s the UK was at war, but he believes from a society point of view, life was better. Nostalgia for a past he doesn't know? Perhaps, but he put forward a good case. It shows that people engage the world in different ways and observe its problems differently.

This doesn't answer any questions. But I suppose I'm inclined to agree with General's theory that if you want to claim that our society is going to the dogs, then you have to prove that it wasn't worse at any other point throughout history.

There is still fantastic compassion and goodness in the world (look at all the wonderful things that many forummers do for work). And as I believe that we're about to face the biggest challenge our society has faced (the fact our planet has been irrevocably changed by our actions) - I need to think we're strong enough to cope.
 

Diziet
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Jog_Eerie was bold enough to comment:

Just thought I'd add my two penneth...




and what a damn good, well informed, enlightening two penneth it was!

edit: however, i think your personal life impacts on your view of this issue. i think this is where the main argument lies in this thread - those who claim to have seen the increasingly awful state of the nation first hand (myself included in this group) and those who think that the state of the nation is being made into some kind of imminent apocalypse by the media.

maybe things were as bad back in the day, but this is MY time. this isn't the 1950's or the middle ages - i wasn't born then. you can throw as many statistics at me as you like but i can tell you from first hand experience that when kids threaten to kill you these days, they actually mean it. not all kids (obviously) but enough of them to make it a very real, very dangerous threat. adults are being kicked to death on their doorsteps in Tameside by gangs of 15 year old boys, teenagers are shooting teenagers, parents are being referred to social services on a scale never seen before. in my 33 years of life i've never been so concerned about what is happening to this country.

i follow these stories closely. its partly a product of my work life but also, as i said before, a defense mechanism to make me aware of what is going on around me.

i would be the first person to tell you there are many wonderful things in the world. i'm not a natural cynic. there are many wonderful, exciting and joyous things happening in my life RIGHT NOW. but this social decline is not a media construct. the world IS going down the toilet.

i think the only way to combat it is, as jog said, remain strong and try to see the good things in life. this is what i do. this is what the Ginger Fury does. this is how we get through daily life knowing the things we know and seeing the things we see.

hats off to all of you. the forumers on here are some of the nicest people i've ever met. i hope i haven't ruined anyone's day with my ranting.


General*
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Wed 21st Feb '07 8:04PM
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Jog_Eerie was bold enough to comment:

Lots of clever stuff



Excellent Post Jog
It's really great to get a perspective from someone who works in Journalism.



Diziet was bold enough to comment:

if you choose to pick only the news you want to hear, effectively burying your head in the sand, then thats your choice. i know, and clearly trad.non knows as well, that the world can be shit and is full of shit people. ignoring them won't make it go away.



Diz I think we are in full agreement about this.
I realise that my first post to this thread was slightly flippent, but I want to make absolutely clear that I don't ignore unhappy news stories, I also agree that the deprevation/violence in inner city areas is amongst the most serious that the country faces and it should be one of the governments top priorities to sort it out along with climate change and getting our troops out of Iraq.

I also am in awe of people who work f**king hard for crap money in our badly paid social/care/nursing industries (Including my mum and several people on this forum) because I know it is somthing I could never do.

The things I would assert and absolutely defend are as follows:

* There are lots of really shit things going on in the country/world, but there are also lots of other good things.

* To my knowledge there has never been a time when things have obviously been a lot better than they are now. For example I can't honestly say I would rather live in the 1930's than now having read The Road to Wigan Pier. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road_to_Wigan_Pier )

* If I can't think of a time when society was better than it is now then I can't reasonably say that society is in decline or 'broken' as Cameron would put it.

* I am an atheist. As far as I know my world will end upon my death. No heaven waits for me and this world is all I'm going to be getting. This leaves me with the question is the world a fundamentally good place to be, or is the world not worth living in. I know some people who don't want children because they think that the world is too evil to bring them into. I honestly think the world is a wonderful place with so many amazing people and places in it that I just can't see it as anything other than a privilage than to be alive to experience it. I do understand that I probably wouldn't think this way if I lived in a rough estate in Liverpool (Though I do live in a fairly deprived part of London).

* I honestly believe that the government/media is using fear as a weapon in a quite deliberate way to get support for: Starting wars, Introducing ID cards, Putting up CCTV cameras. Not to mention selling a stack of papers.

* The concept of a 'Broken' society was dreamed up by a marketing consultant on a fat pay packet to make David Cameron look caring and improve his standing with Middle Class Middle Englanders who like to use the term 'Family Values' rather than because of any legitimate social phenomenon he has discovered, or because he actually gives a toss (Poor people don't vote and when they do they don't vote Tory).

An interesting thing that this post has highlighted to me is that one of the best ways to get news these days is to cut out the middle man and get it from the man on the street via blogs, forums etc. Ultimately people working close to the ground can give you a much better impression of how the world really works than the papers or politicians ever can.

On that subject can I recomend this blog to you http://randomreality.blogware.com/ It's by a guy who works as a paramedic and gives a very interesting take on what is going on in the ambulence service vs how it is spun in the press.
    

General*
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Wed 21st Feb '07 8:14PM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:

edit: however, i think your personal life impacts on your view of this issue. i think this is where the main argument lies in this thread



I totaly agree. In the last 50 years my families quality of life has improved hugely where as it would seem that the oposite is true for several other forumers. I guess this fundamentally shapes your world view in one direction or the other.



i think the only way to combat it is, as jog said, remain strong and try to see the good things in life. this is what i do. this is what the Ginger Fury does. this is how we get through daily life knowing the things we know and seeing the things we see.



Again AMEN sista!



hats off to all of you. the forumers on here are some of the nicest people i've ever met. i hope i haven't ruined anyone's day with my ranting.



Hats off to you as well mate. This forum is pretty singular on the web as far as I know for being a place where people can completely disagree about things, but talk about it like adults without getting into a slagging match.

Right I promise that is all for today!
    

Diziet
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Wed 21st Feb '07 8:25PM
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General was bold enough to comment:

I know some people who don't want children because they think that the world is too evil to bring them into. I honestly think the world is a wonderful place with so many amazing people and places in it that I just can't see it as anything other than a privilage than to be alive to experience it. I do understand that I probably wouldn't think this way if I lived in a rough estate in Liverpool (Though I do live in a fairly deprived part of London).




this is a very interesting point. those people who say that the world is too evil to bring a child into it most likely aren't ready to have children. even though i know that there is a lot of horrible stuff in the world i can't wait to see my own child's face light up the first time i teach him / her to play football or ride a bike or comb a doll's hair...ermm.. or other girly stuff (GF, help me out here!).





Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Thu 22nd Feb '07 4:34PM
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It occurred to me today at work that a part of my job actually involves monitoring and quantifying this sort of thing. So I did some digging for y'all and can reveal the following facts, although they only stretch back 2 years (the length of time we've had a specialised Assessment Service for dealing with incoming cases). These figures will eventually be Home Office figures once they bother collating them:

- Manchester's population has remained relatively stable for the last two years. According to which sources you take, the population change has been between -0.4% and +0.9%.

- In this time, the amount of referrals to what you knew as 'Social Services' has risen by approximately 15%.


My first thought was that this may just reflect a rise in the reporting of incidents, rather than actual incidents, but in fact the converse is more likely to be the case - as society declines and/or media hysteria increases, people's fear of retribution actually makes them less likely to report crime, abuse or antisocial behaviour to the authorities.

So there you go, according to soon-to-be-official figures, society is on the decline, at approximately 7.5% per year, roughly three times the rate of inflation. In Manchester, anyway

EDIT: I've just been pondering these figures and it occurred to me that it may represent a flattening of the bell curve rather than a general downward shift in the numbers. I.e. it may be that people as a whole behave less like the average, so the amount of people falling far enough short of average to be involved with 'Social Srvices' has increased by 15%, but a similar amount would now be the same amount above the average standard of behaviour.
  

Spanners*
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Thu 22nd Feb '07 4:38PM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:


General was bold enough to comment:

I know some people who don't want children because they think that the world is too evil to bring them into. I honestly think the world is a wonderful place with so many amazing people and places in it that I just can't see it as anything other than a privilage than to be alive to experience it. I do understand that I probably wouldn't think this way if I lived in a rough estate in Liverpool (Though I do live in a fairly deprived part of London).



this is a very interesting point. those people who say that the world is too evil to bring a child into it most likely aren't ready to have children. even though i know that there is a lot of horrible stuff in the world i can't wait to see my own child's face light up the first time i teach him / her to play football or ride a bike or comb a doll's hair...ermm.. or other girly stuff (GF, help me out here!).



There was a time when I was very much of the mind that I wouldn't be happy to bring a child into the world, not entirely because the world is 'evil' but because with my own child I would have to guarantee that I could keep him/her completely safe 100% of the time and I couldn't do that with the dangers out there.

However the world is no more dangerous than it has ever been, indeed life expectancy has rocketed. Sure action should be taken on the apallingly deprived areas of the country and the crime, violence and drug taking that often results, along with global warming, troops in Iraq etc but there is such a high proportion of fantastic kind, generous, loving people out there that we need to keep our perspective straight.

There are two women in my department who are both married but have decided never to have children. I can't help but think that they will wake up one day when they're in their sixties and suddenly think "aww bugger".
    

Diziet
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Fri 23rd Feb '07 2:02PM
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mr cameron was in manchester yesterday.

look out mr cameron, i think that hoodie wants to give you a hug! or shoot you!

or, even more worryingly, show you his wanger...

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6389277.stm


Ginger fury
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Mon 26th Feb '07 12:41AM
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I live on a coucil estate in greater manchester litterally on the side of saddleworth moors with the national park at "thend o roaaaad", it is an area of outstanding beauty and I'm glad my children were brought up in this area. If I walk to "top o thill" I can see darbyshire, cheshire, Lancashire and Yorkshire. Really it is lovely.

However the whole place is blighted with the hooded ones (my own son being one of them). They can be an absolute nightmare and they travel in packs. Most of them smoke excessive amounts of weed and some of them look like they might need a good bath. Some of them also have a tendency to excessive violence however luckerly those ones spend much of there time in jail.

I have abivelent feelings as to the state of the nation.

When I speak to the powers that be as in the Big cheeses at SServices they tend to put the decine down to the preventitive servces making extra reports such as Sure Start and Children's Centers who are atuned to noteing issue of concern. However I have to say that I feel that there is a certain decline in peoples behaviour and this is especially noticeable in certain areas where the norm is to be abusive and neglectful. SS tend to have hot spots where certain roads or areas have many incedents. I do feel that the gun and drug culture has a lot to answer for and I also feel that we have disempowerd our points of authority namely the Police and the Schools. I an concernd that the level of PC this county is adopting is problematic as the youth feel that there is no consequense to there actions. I do not however feel that that is the fault of our youth. It is a child's job to "try it on" or see just how much disruption they can cause, it is the adults who inform them just how far they can go. The problem comes when the adults have lost there way and neglect is a norm or violence etc or the poititions decide that they are going to crucify single parents or hoodies. For the love of god whats so wrong with a hoodie? I used to dress like adam ant and my boyfriend wore more make up than I did, a crime against fashion I'm sure youd agree!

However when I see kids getting royaly done over as in Mr Caneron's escort It concerns me that this type of thing has always gone on with our youth. In the 60's we had pot smoking youths who would have sat wearing flowing gowns giving the peace sign, then we had the whole mods and rockers thing, and not forgetting the punk movment who would have given Mr Cameron the V's no doubt followd by a bit of pogoing.

I really do feel that as a society we do viliefy our youth, further exclluding them from a society that they feel rejected from. Young men in Britain are the most likely to commit suicide and to be victem of assault. I just feel that the demons Vs angels aspect of our youth massively over simplyfies the whole issue and that people are buying into it.

In response to the question is the world to bad a place to have children? Hell no! Have you not seen that movie where all the dumb people have children?! The sheer joy of seeing a child learn how to draw, ride a bike, become an individual is an amazing process. The pride a parent takes in the simplest of jobs is astounding. A simple walk with a picnick that you enjoy, teaching them how to cook, basically teaching them how to be an adult is a joy to behold and nothing else in your life can come close. Each trasition is difficult and takes you by surprise, it must be the most difficult and rewarding and sometimes thankless task any individual can ever do, and yet it is still worth every minute of it.

My 16 year old hoodie never ceases to amaze me with his humanity (in spite of him trying to be a badass), and my 13 year old daughter (on the turn I may add (becomming an teenager)) are the most preciouse individulas I have had the pleasure to meet. I can not garentee there safty in the world but I can arm them with all the knowledge at my desposal to keep them safe. Ulitmately the decision is theres if they take the safe road or the not so safe. All children make mistakes and at times make the wrong decisions but as long as I'm there to pick up the peices then with a bit of luck then they should come through there teenage years OK.

Sorry if I got a bit mushey or evangelical there


Jog_Eerie
All this thinking has gone to our heads
Mon 26th Feb '07 11:59AM
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Flippin' excellent post GF.

I totally agree with the disempowering authority thing. I have a friend who is a policeman and, although he has to keep his arrest numbers up, the whole process is so time consumely it takes him about 2 hours to fill in the monitoring forms. Crazy. He feels as if nobody trusts him to do his job.
 

Amanshu*
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Mon 26th Feb '07 1:50PM
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Jog_Eerie was bold enough to comment:
Flippin' excellent post GF.



Agreed. Very much so.

I've been reading this thread avidly, but staying away from it on the grounds that I really don't know. On some level I guess I disagree with it fundamentally in that I don't think any society can really be 'broken', just as it can never be 'ideal'. People are such a huge and varied lot that no society can ever really cater for all of them. After all if everyone was the same life would be rather boring. Also you'd all look like me which would be rather unfortunate since you'd never pull it off with my style and panache .

Anyway my point is that in many ways it all comes down to perspective. The ready availability of news from all over the world means that you can find pretty much any story out there. Given enough time anyone can justify their actions by it ("it's what everyones doing") or act in a way to protect themselves from this weeks fear mongering.

Personally I'm of the view of seeing the good. For instance about ten years ago I was unlucky enough to see two close friends get hit by a pick up truck while on holiday. It was an absolutely horrible experience that took me many years to "get over" however now we get together on the anniversary with as many other friends as we can manage and celebrate the fact that they're alive. It's probably one of my favourite nights of the year, and one I always look forward to, because it's such a positive event.

Teenagers will always try and stretch the boundaries of what they can get away with. It's a time where they're trying to define themselves outside of their parents and starting to work out who on earth they are. Generally that means trying to break the rules and be noticed. Although I do remember reading an interesting story a few years ago about the children of some hippies. It basically said that since these children had been brought up with very few rules they were rebelling by creating rules for themselves. They were basically conforming, because it was the one thing that would upset their parents!

Finally, as for bringing a child into the world - well I discovered yesterday that I'm going to be an uncle (finally, I'm the youngest of four and I've been waiting years for one of the other three to get on with it ). I know I'm not really ready to be a parent myself (for a start I believe a second parent is generally considered necessary) but I do know that I've been wanting to help raise the next generation for a while now. The whole idea of seeing another human being grow and evolve seems amazing and magical to me, and I really can't understand how anyone could not want to. (I also accept that I might just change my tune when I can't give the screaming brat back afterwards.)

Yes there are bad and scary things out there, and no you can't always protect children from them. But I also had parents that couldn't protect me all the time and I think I haven't turned out too badly.

Well, apart from the occasional drooling, obviously.
   

Ginger fury
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Mon 26th Feb '07 6:15PM
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I was a bit worried that I may have upset someone, but cheers

Mrsham
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Fri 31st Aug '07 11:55AM
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Ginger fury was bold enough to comment:
The problem comes when the adults have lost there way and neglect is a norm or violence etc or the poititions decide that they are going to crucify single parents or hoodies. For the love of god whats so wrong with a hoodie? I used to dress like adam ant and my boyfriend wore more make up than I did, a crime against fashion I'm sure youd agree!

....

I really do feel that as a society we do viliefy our youth, further exclluding them from a society that they feel rejected from. Young men in Britain are the most likely to commit suicide and to be victem of assault. I just feel that the demons Vs angels aspect of our youth massively over simplyfies the whole issue and that people are buying into it.



Thought I'd try and revive this thread with a quote from GF's most excellent post - some of the reporting of the recent Liverpool tragedy was - it seemed to me - somewhat reactionary, and GF's words seemed timely.

It's clear there's a persisistent and serious problem with guns/knives and youth gangs - like others here I'm not yet convinced it's a growing problem necessarily - but there seems to be a complete failure of understanding amongst the "powers that be" in how to deal with it. Nothing I've heard from politicians on this has struck me as realistic or substantial (maybe others have heard more constructive reaction?) I don't have much to offer here: I was wondering if those with social services experience - or indeed anyone else - could give some insight, or some hope that there are things that can be done at the grass roots that actually work.
 

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