May 14, 2005

Blair, Hoodies and cars

Writing about web page

Tony Blair gave his backing to the Bluewater shopping centre's ban on hoodies. And we are told that New Labour is a version of Social Democracy, which in turn is an amalgam of liberalism and socialism

Clearly having got rid of the socialism bit (private finance initiative, anti trade union laws etc.), Blair now wants to get rid of the liberal bit (id cards, banning people due to appearance, faith schools etc.)

What do real people really perceive as anti social behaviour? Top of this list

* Speeding Traffic

* Parked cars

See link

The extent to which the media, funded by motor industry advertising revenue, has succeeded in marginalising the opinions of the majority and diverted the attention of the public by demonising young people, is quite amazing.

- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. What do real people really perceive as anti social behaviour?

    What a load of rubbish! That's not a list of what people perceive as anti-social: "drug use or dealing" and "racial attacks" come several places behind "inconveniently parked cars" on the list! I think if you conducted a survery asking which of these three represented the greatest social ill, parking would be bottom of the list by a very, very long way.

    Read the title of the graph again – and then note it's a highly subjective measure based on exactly what respondents classify as a "fairly big" problem.

    The fact that the entire 45-page analysis of the survey almost completely ignores parking and speeding, shows that these aren't the types of "anti-social behavior" that make people nervous, insecure and afraid to walk alone on the streets at night. I've certainly never been afraid of a parked car.

    14 May 2005, 13:00

  2. Far more people are killed by cars than anything on the list. Certainly fear of cars puts people off cycling.

    Anyway the fact remains when people are asked "what's a big problem in your area" more say speeding than all this stuff about teenagers hanging around etc.

    14 May 2005, 15:01

  3. Sorry for the length of this reply!

    Cars? I thought your issue was with speeding (at least, parked cars don't put people off cycling, so speeding is all that's left on your list). A car driving fast does not automatically crash – only 7% of crashes have outright speed as a major contributory factor.

    The results of this survey, as I said in my last comment, will have been strongly influenced by the way the question was phrased. If people were asked simply "what is a big problem in your area?", I doubt many would answer with speeding cars as their top concern – unless they happened to live in an area with a statistically massive concentration of car-related injuries. The number of injuries per car-mile or car-hour in the UK is still tiny (and much lower on motorways, where speeds are higher – it's not speed that causes accidents). And the question asked was certainly not "which of these things do you feel is most likely to kill you?" (if it was, I doubt parked cars would have come second) – the survey is all about low-level anti-social behaviour.

    Looking at the page you linked to (specifically, the first "key point"), it would seem that the question was actually something very much like "which of the following would you consider to be a problem in your area?" In that situation, I wouldn't say yes to "racial attacks", as I have no direct or second-hand experience of it, outside of media reporting. I would say yes to "speeding", because the phenomenon of people driving a little over the speed limit is prevalent, but I have no experience of people driving at truly menacing speeds (e.g. 55 in a 30 limit) or of anybody being threatened or injured by a car driving at excessive speed. My answers would closely reflect the survey's results, but this doesn't mean I consider speeding to be a greater problem than racial attacks.

    Likewise, I don't personally observe many problems with teenagers hanging around my area – I drive to uni, and in the evenings I often to go out in the pub opposite my front door, or occasionally to the Union, which involves walking 5 minutes to the bus stop down a couple of quiet residential roads. One of the lesser reasons I don't go out in Leamington much is that fights and other anti-social behaviour do occur and are not uncommon. However, I restructure my evening plans accordingly and hence wouldn't say, if asked, that I personally see "a major problem" (which to me suggests a crisis) in the area. I do, though, think it's significantly more of a threat to members of the local community than a car doing 35 in a 30 (which, if you recall, I'd have told the survey-taker I do see as a "problem").

    The "key points" on the website also talk about people's responses: "a large proprtion" of problems "resulted in general annoyance", and a minority of people experienced medium- and high-level emotional impacts. A graph showing people's responses to each problem was not produced, which is a shame – I bet the impact of speeding (and parking) came out as a lot less severe than, say, "people being insulted, pestered or intimidated".

    As I said, though, the fact that the survey analysis completely ignores the "speeding" result suggests it's not actually of major concern to the Home Office in the context of the relative impact of types of anti-social behaviour. If you choose to interpret that as a great conspiracy on the part of the supposedly motoring-funded media (in which case why did the media rip MG/Rover to pieces for so long even while it was a going concern? Even while the company was advertising in the same media?), that's up to you.

    14 May 2005, 18:08

  4. The media may well make fun of particular car firms; encouraging rivalry makes consumers identify with the product, but they are careful not to say too much against cars in general. Hoodies don't advertise in newspapers so it doesn't matter if the press upsets them.

    Law breaking whether in terms of speeding or illegal parking doesn't get much condemnation. Despite the annoyance it creates, both to the public in general and to other drivers who are inconvenienced or put at risk, for instance by bullying tailgaters.

    Of course many people have mixed feelings, they want other drivers to keep below 15 m.p.h. past their house but don't seem to mind driving at 35 m.p.h. past other people's.

    14 May 2005, 19:44

  5. Eloise

    'Culture of Respect' is getting on my tits in a big way – i believe that this is what we'd get in an anarchist society, not one ruled by these prats.

    20 May 2005, 11:09

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