As I sit here in my jog pants (“with” its early) I am looking out of the window at the back of a school. For those of you who don’t know I live in the leafy Edwardian suburb of Bedford. Bedford if you don’t know is a small market town in the south midlands /Home Counties of the U.K. For those Americans who sometimes drop in to read we are that small country across the water to the right of you on the map. To anyone else we are that small blob on the map that still thinks it important enough to use the word great in it’s title. Now where was I oh yes looking at the school.
As I look out of the window I can see the back gate set into a substantial brick wall. The building itself was built in 1912 and has pitched roofs and large windows. The whole thing has the air of a nice traditional community school. The teachers seem informed and dedicated. And the school has a very active PTA who spend weekends organising Summer Fairs and Barn Dances to give their children all the little thing that are missing from the National Curriculum. The kids all ware a nice blue uniform and are in the main well spoken and polite when you meet them. Its a million miles away from poverty, depravity, and inner city slums as you can get. It is too all-intense the perfect example of a middle class school in a middle class, part of Blair’s modern Britain. So what’s the problem I hear you ask and why do we have to read this advert for the middle England iddle.
Well the answer to your question is, actually I don’t know what to call it. You see in my youth (Yep I had one and its now disappearing fast into the rear view mirror of my life.) I walked to school and so did all the other children. Then when I got bigger and went off to the secondary school of my choice I got on my bike. Four miles each way regardless of the weather.(Yes I can hear the violins playing too. Fuck off you gits.) If it rained I got wet. If I got a puncture and I did not have time to fix it. I had to leave home earlier and walk. And do you know what it was fun. A great big part of my growing up was done with my friend on the way to and from school. I learn to smoke, bought bangers and let them off, first saw what girls had that boys didn’t, made camps in woods etc etc. My point is that without all this time to have fun discover the world and get into scrapes. And get out of them I probably would have grown up a much different person. There are lots of social skills that you only learn on your own with your mates. And without Mummy or Daddy to tell you what to do you tend to learn the hard way. There are some vital social skills that some of today’s little darlings are going to be lacking. Its like the old adage about the driving test, you only start to learn to drive when you have passed your test and are out on your own for the first time. Same if you’re a child. You need to be allowed to grow up.
There are children going to the school opposite who are ferried to school and back by Mummy in her big 4x4 who live at the end of the road. That’s about two minuets walk away. And when Mummy does bring them to school they have to walk up to the class room door. The poor little sods can’t even walk the few yards to the door on their own. No wonder the world is getting fatter, well at least the part that is within the boarders of Britain and going to school.
Now don’t get me wrong I’m a petrol head and I like my car as much as the next bloke. But this has got to stop. Hang on why did it start. Do these do-good parents think they’re actually doing their children a favour. Kids should be allowed to explore and develop, not be tucked up in cotton wool. If that means the odd scare then so be it. If you dare to speak to one of these people about their problem, and it is a problem. They look at you as if you just dropped off the last space ship heading west. They don’t think it’s a problem. All their doing is the same as middle class parents with access to a car. It’s keeping up with the Jones’s. If you are seen to walk and get wet people might think your poor and can’t afford two cars. So why the change in such a few short years. Is it the media? There is no evidence that we live in a more dangerous world than Thirty years ago. In fact with all the new Health and Safety rules and the Nanny State looking after us, the world is so much safer. Let’s face it cars now have rounded plastic bumpers. If you dare to ride a bike you are expected to wear one of those funny helmets with the slats in. Councils up and down the land are removing pavements in favour of billiard smooth tarmac. Well it probably has something to do with the ambulance chasing culture that has come across the pond. People, organisations, government, and you and I are now so afraid that we are going to get taken to the cleaners that we have to protect our investment. It’s a pity because kids are loosing out. And if the kids loose society does in the years that follow. And why do the ambulance chasers exist? Ill tell you greed. Greed and the sudden need not to take responsibility for your actions. Lets all blame someone else instead of taking responsibility. We should act now reject the Nanny State. Say fuck to political correctness. And get a sense of reality back. Sorry it’s all got a bit serious this time, lighter next week promise.