Tuesday 25 May 2010 10.16am
My youngest daughter's seventeen year-old boyfriend was mugged yesterday evening. It was in broad daylight on Southend seafront, where he was doing some photography for a college project. He wasn't knocked about, just jostled and had a fist held hard against his face as the three of them relieved him of his Ipod and mobile phone. He had paid for these items himself out of the money he earns in his spare time at McDonalds, working long hours at weekends and often starting at five-thirty a.m.. Amazingly, the £300 camera he was using, the property of the College, was ignored. I can only assume that if they couldn't listen to music on it, phone a drug dealer for their next consignment on it, smoke it or drink it, then it was of no use to them. There were plenty of people about, but no one came to his assistance. To give them the benefit of the doubt, perhaps they thought it was just a teenage dispute. I would like to think that had it been an old lady, then someone would have piled in, I know I would have. If my dad were alive it would have brought from him the usual response: "Bring back the birch! Bring back National Service!" I used to roll my eyes at that response and say: "Come off it, Dad. We've moved on from that." Now I'm not so sure. I once read that in the Isle of Man the birch was used up until 1976. At that time the I.o.M had the lowest crime rate in the British Isles. Then the 'Human Rights' lot got involved and corporal punishment was abolished. The I.o.M no longer has the lowest crime rate in the British Isles. Draw your own conclusions. I'm all for human rights, providing it's a two-way street. The law abiding citizens of this country have a human right to go about their daily business without fear of robbery or violence. Anyone who deprives us of that huiman right should be stripped of theirs. I'm still not sure that National Service, per se, is the answer. There was a time when it would have been. Back in the mid 1960's for example, when the mods and rockers had nothing better to do on Bank holidays than to kick the c**p out of each other on England's beaches. Today, NS would be disruptive to too many fine young people who are getting ready for university. No longer purely the privelege of the rich, as it for too long was. However, if the Universities get their own way and start charging what they like in terms off fees, then I fear it will turn full circle. But that's another argument.
I still feel very strongly that instead of two years in a young offender's institute, where low-lives serve their time playing table tennis and watching DVD's, the prospect of working for two years in the kitchen of an army base in Kandahar might make them think twice. But it won't happen, because it will infringe upon their human rights. There's something wrong somewhere when this Nation's finest young men and women are risking and losing their lives in a far off country while the dregs of society are free to walk the streets and rob decent people of poseesions they have worked hard for.