So what, actually, is the proposal?

Aditya Chakrabortty has a piece about how terrible living in Tottenham is. OK, fair enough, Tottenham is terrible.

So, what do we do about it? The thing being that absolutely none of it is economic nor even government. What makes the place so vile – in the telling of the story – is the other people who live in Tottenham.

And what in buggery is anyone supposed to do about that?

26 thoughts on “So what, actually, is the proposal?”

  1. “Giovanni knows wearing joggers and a hoodie gets him marked down as a thug – except they’re comfy, so he puts them on anyway.”

    A few lines raised a chuckle in that. That was one of them. Apparently it’s better to make yourself a magnet for crime than wear those damned chinos.

    Anyway, apparently it’s all the fault of Thatcher, Liz Truss, the Iraq War, the financial crisis (not sure that stopped the state paying for his home, education or healthcare – maybe food and heating too – but hey…).

    I do feel sorry for the guy having school shut down through Covid though.

  2. “But a democracy that can’t or won’t listen to outsiders such as him is not only missing out: it’s falling down on the job”

    But we ARE listening to him. We’ve got newspapers and other agencies that publish his poems and his opinions and take his concerns very seriously. In a democracy, he counts as one person. Are his views so important that they deserve an hour of the cabinet’s time?

    And in what sense is he an “outsider”? Good educational outcome, off to study Maths at a top university, intelligent, writes poems in spare time.

    Things look a lot brighter for him than they did for me at his age.

  3. This line
    “Where daddy left mummy and mummy’s left poor.”
    Perhaps changing society so this is not acceptable?
    I know someone who is a pro single mum – her children were bullied in school.
    Probably by the children of other pro single mums who didn’t have a father figure.

    (By pro single mum I mean she slept with people she barely knew so she could have children to get benefits. She came to the UK to this as well.

  4. ’ A 17-year-old black boy, he has been stopped and searched by the police on his local high road and off Oxford Street…’

    That’s so that you don’t have to be disturbed by the smell of ‘last night’s corpse’, sonny…

  5. “He was seven when Tottenham erupted over the police killing of Mark Duggan”
    Still talking about that?
    But not about the night they hacked a head off a copper.

  6. It’s not the job of democracy to listen to outsiders. That’s the whole point of democracy, the definition even. It’s an expression of what those *IN* the democracy think and say.

  7. Of surprise to no one with more than two functioning brain cells: Infest an area with third world shitholers and area becomes third world shithole.

  8. The news, in other words, for the country in which most of us actually live.

    Well, for Mr Chakrabortty and Mr Rose, it’s somebody else’s country they live in…

  9. David Thompson,

    There’s an old line from PJ O’Rourke’s mother, something about “it doesn’t cost anything to sweep your yard” and I see it in the estate near me. It’s a mix of private and housing association and you can tell which are which from the doors (the housing association ones are all the same), and in general, people treat their front gardens like garbage dumps.

    One thing no-one takes into account is how the hard-working, more successful people in these places get out. “Oh, these places don’t have opportunities”. Yes, they do. But you’re measuring people who didn’t seize them. There are a lot of people who just spend their days in the “community centre” enjoying cheap booze instead of finding a job or learning some skills. I see it in my father-in-law’s family where 5 siblings have very different outcomes.

  10. A 17-year-old black boy, he has been stopped and searched by the police on his local high road and off Oxford Street…

    Glad to see someone in the Met is still doing their job.

  11. There’s an old line from PJ O’Rourke’s mother, something about “it doesn’t cost anything to sweep your yard” and I see it in the estate near me.

    Well, you have to marvel at a supposedly serious report, by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, that wails about the alleged unfairness of litter distribution, but which pointedly avoids any reference, at all, to how said litter gets there. As if it has nothing whatsoever to do with the local inhabitants and their behaviour. As if it just falls out of the sky overnight, like snow.

    And likewise, you have to marvel at a Guardian columnist who links triumphantly to a report that, when read, actually undermines the point he thinks he’s making. Specifically, by reluctantly acknowledging that any unfairness, at least in terms of public spending, runs the other way, and by quite some margin.

  12. “Why do they claim they’re not racist but label the violence here black?”

    Good question Giovanni. Your maths degree should help you on that one.

  13. Bloke on M4

    Spot on – I remember working in a company with a workforce which was (At that time) 35% from Poland and people used to say ‘They’re so hard working’ – All the Polish men without exception made the point that there were plenty of ne’er do wells back in Poland but they had neither the wit nor willingness to travel hundreds of miles to a foreign country to get on.

    You can’t really force people to be ‘enterprising’ and the issue you have with someone like Aditya Chakraborrty (and indeed he is far from being the most idiotic in the Guardian) is that according to him society has an obligation to protect people from the consequences of their ‘lifestyle choices’. Strangely most working people even on lower incomes tend to feel very differently hence arguably Brexit and the collapse of the ‘Red Wall’.

  14. The point is the policies I can see that might make a difference (At least on the surface) would all be anathema to Chakrabortty

    – Restoration of Capital Punishment for murder
    – Restoration of Corporal Punishment, both as a criminal sanction and in schools
    – Taxation system and housing allocation changed to prioritise married couples over single parents
    – Aggressive policing along the lines of the ‘Broken Window Theory’
    – Reversion to a didactic teaching method and strict discipline in schools
    – Abolition of the Human Rights Act
    – Reallocation of the DFID budget to send criminals to jurisdictions like North Korea to reduce recidivism rates
    – Return of workhouses for people physically able to work but unwilling to
    – Use of offshore detention centres for illegal migration
    – Return of Bills of Attainder for people trafficking and other serious offences

    I doubt these policies are likely to find favour with anyone currently in authority but they at least might stand a chance of turning the tide and making conditions tolerable

  15. Does Mr Naughtybotty realise he is campaigning for the Ecksian solution?

    It’s too late, of course, the pass is sold.

  16. – Return of workhouses for people physically able to work but unwilling to
    You’re going to throw almost the entirety of the Tarquin & Jocasta middle class into workhouses?

  17. Jgh

    I think a lot of Public sector workers in the ‘Blob’ may very well need a stint in a workhouse. I’d envisage a lot of gnashing and wailing….

  18. I recall attending a friend’s birthday knees-up in Tottenham a week or two after the ’85 riots. A bit tense on the streets (if you were white) would be putting it mildly – but hey, back then (at that age) you’d go anywhere if there was a party in the offing. Sad in a way, given our family had been in Tottenham since the 1890s, and – at least when I was a kid in the 1950s, was still a respectable place to live and raise a family. Last of the family left in the early ’70s when the changing demographic had become compelling.

  19. The workhouse was for people unable to find work: it was deliberately made more unpleasant and less remunerative than the housing and jobs of those able to find work.

  20. Most were, of course, originally set up as ‘Poor Houses’ rather than ‘Work Houses’.

    A charitable and laudable aim. But it was found lots of people flocked to them because sustenance was provided without anything being expected in return. Not because people couldn’t work but because they couldn’t be arsed to work.

    And so the ‘work’ element was added.

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