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The youth are revolting

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The new British Conservative Party Leader, David Cameron, has called for understanding towards the 'Hoodies'. These are gangs of teenagers that stand on street corners, not moving out of the way when citizens walk by. Except when you ask them. They swear loudly..until you ask them not to. They wear hoods to obscure their identity. Cameron has been moving dramatically to the left and the party that gave us social reformers such as Thatcher is bemused.

They are not all thugs he said ...even the violent ones are only nasty because the government is showing such a bad example, carrying on an illegal war against the good people of Iraq. OK he did not. But he cuts a strange youthful figure for a party of old fogeys. A generation ago these people owned both country and empire and a less wholesome bunch of misfits you could not imagine. However Blair is so much better at killing foreigners than, even Thatcher, and the Conservative Party had lost its way.

Not now. Although more comfortable when bashing some hapless 3rd World nation,
the grandees of the party see a vote winner in Cameron and words like 'young' and ' bicycle' have been touted openly at party functions. The revelation that Cameron, who cycles to work, then has his clean shirt delivered in a turbo-powered Land Rover 'Deisellee' caused comment by clean air fascists but he survived the ridicule.

Previously, he had rather bravely and assuredly, refused to deny an old cocaine-at-college story. The contrast with a rapidly ageing Blair, an impossibly clean, holier-than-thou type, who maybe like Clinton, should have denied inhaling a little, was noticeable.

However Cameron showed his true colours by supporting the replacement for Trident.. so whilst he has had windmills attached to his home to save the planet he made it clear that he was only saving it for a while.

The Conservative party will win the next election. The horrible thing is that nothing will happen to prevent this catastrophe, because a worse catastrophe has already happened. Blair has moved so far into Bush that all you can see are his boots sticking out!


Back to the Hoodies..Blair had promised to be tough on crime and on the causes of crime, but we really only see the tough on crime bit, as our bulging prisons begin to look like America's. ( Only begin to..) but how do our neighbours in Europe cope with their rebellious youth?

When a German Christian youth club visited Scotland, I was amused to discover that beer is served at their club. No one gets drunk,parents supervise and, of course, attendance is very good. There would be arrests here if that happened. Our youth clubs are empty. In the States it must be even more difficult, as you must be 21 to be served in a bar. Its 18 here.

So what must happen there, will be a version of what happened here, to me, as a younger teenager. You get an older person to buy the drink. You drink it all, whatever it is and whatever quantity, you fall over in some field. Vunerable? A little. Adult supervision? None.

Kids here do not drink whisky. No... its often cider ..that old faithful at about $5 for a bucketful. There is no fond Scottishness about youth alcoholism..when a young guy was arrested for stealing vodka I asked him why he did not steal the malt whisky next to it at 5 times the price. He said no one would buy it..he could sell the vodka easily!

Scottish whisky seems a very Scottish thing indeed and the very best drink in terms of no poisons, methanol, etc., although there are people (French probably) who say that some Cognacs can compete with the finest malts. The unacceptable fact to a lot of Scots, is that it was the English who made it so popular.

During the Napoleonic Wars, cognac was unavailable, so what on earth could our cousins from down south drink? These were the richest people in the world at the time and not used to being keep sober for long periods. Either concoct an English drink, but what's the point of having an empire and having to bark yourself, or remember what that ghillie gave you to drink during that fishing trip, when you were sure you were going to die from the cold. (Ah ..Scottish summers!)

The whiskies they had at the time, were fiercely strong-tasting and although nowadays they would be marketed as smokey flavoured etc., then, nobody apart from the desperate and the Scots could actually drink them. That is when blending came into its own and they found a way to cancel out the harsh flavours so that a soft southern tongue could cope.

It travelled the globe following British conquests everywhere, hence made a nice earner for the distilleries. It also meant that the English did not have to rely on the unstable continent, whenever they wanted to alter their consciousness. The upshot for Scotland was further recognition that they had an identity apart from being British, even if this meant an association with alcohol.

Back to the Hoodies. Moral panics are nothing new and I am sure we will invent future ways to try to spoil the lives of people lucky enough to be young. In the meantime I feel like saying relax. Children will grow up fine. The Mods and Rockers were a newspaper creation. Yes, there were fights but no, civilisation was never at risk. We will get over whatever difficulty we encounter. Our grandparents coped with horrendous warfare, our parents coped with us!!! The Hoodies will be easy..

PS Yes.. you do add water...50%. No, not ice... ever. Have an iced side glass of water instead.

 

'Hamish ' is an antiwar writer socialist- scientist and musician living in Scotland.

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