Monday, May 09, 2011

Safer neighbourhoods: it is to laugh boo

Over at Orphans of Liberty, JuliaM has an article up about "safer neighbourhoods"—as defined, naturally, by speed cameras.

It reminded me of an occasion when, a few years ago (four, I think), I accompanied a friend of mine to The Lord Mayor's Show. It is full of your typical English pageantry with the main feature being the three mile long procession, featuring floats from the various Guilds and organisations around the City of London.

Despite the rain, all the participants and audience were in a brilliant mood, whooping, cheering and laughing.


Until the Safer Neighbourhoods float came along. The float had the no-doubt prescribed number of adults (kitted out with CRB checks, I would imagine) but it was mainly full of children—many of whom were wearing hats in the shape of speed cameras. The whole float was adorned with images of speed cameras, and was replete with signs and messages intended to leave the audience in no doubt that speed cameras were "safer neighbourhoods".

For a moment, one could hear and sense the crowds' hesitation: speed cameras are not popular, but there were children on the float and, after all, weren't we all having a good time—too good a time, surely, to spoil it by being serious? So, hesitantly, the crowds came to their decision...

And they booed.

The disapproval started with a break in the cheering, and then a silence; then a "boo" could be heard from one or two places and then everyone was booing—showing how much they hated and loathed these contraptions. The boos were not as loud as the cheers had been, but they gathered strength and pace—but the float did not, could not. The children, one could see, were becoming increasingly bewildered, the adults guarding them tried to maintain the triumphant bonhomie whilst glaring at the crowd.

And as the float went past the stands at a walking pace, the British people—against their more compassionate judgement—gave a vocal demonstration of how they hate these money-grubbing pieces of street furniture, and the people who continue to push them.

I wonder whether the "safer neighbourhoods" float has ever tried that again? Or have they watered down or changed the image?

I didn't boo.

But I did feel angry at the adults—all those do-gooders and special interest groups and lobbyists and vested interests—who had quite deliberately decided to push the children into the front-line, to persuade these young people (who surely were too young to understand what they were being made to do) face the ire and contempt of the citizens...

It was shameful.


TheFatBigot said...

The Lord Mayor's Parade is one of few events in London dominated by the presence of the silent majority. Just over a week ago we witnessed another when Chuckie's little boy made an honest woman of a very pretty girl.

On these rare occasions we see nice ordinary people enjoying a bit of pageantry and celebrating the success and happiness of others.

That's what nice ordinary people do. They are not motivated by envy, they do not seek to destroy or denigrate. They do not say "If I can't have that no one else should have it".

It takes a lot for them to boo anything, and I can't help thinking that at least some of the booing of the speed cameras was light-hearted. No doubt some was not and that is very telling at that particular event.

Michael J. McFadden said...

The speed camera people were doing the same thing the Antimokers do all the time.

They used and abused our biologically hard-wired love for our children for propaganda purposes. At smoke ban hearings I've seen classfuls of fifth graders trotted into City Council hearings to plead for "Clean Air." At one such hearing they even dressed the kids up as various "Smoking Diseases" and had each of them trot up to the microphone to say things like "Mr Councilpeople, my name is TIFFANY and I am BRAIN CANCER CAUSED BY SMOKING! Please don't vote to let me die Councilpeople. Please give me air so I can BREATHE!"

Of course the vote largely concerned banning smoking in bars and strip clubs.

If little Johnnie is taking his lunch money and saving it up to get lap dances at Bonnie's Bodacious Boobie's on the way home from school I think there are a lot bigger problems than wisps of smoke to worry about.

The speed camera thing has a slightly more reasonable connection: I guess they were trying to say that the cameras would protect kids from getting hit by cars. But still, using them in that way on such a float when they KNOW that it's a contentious issue places the adults responsible clearly at fault. If any of them are or were in positions of authority regarding children they should be removed from those positions.

Our love for children is a very precious thing: it should NEVER be abused for political ends.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains"

Suboptimal Planet said...

Superb. Wish there was a video of it.

voterc said...

We should have referendums this way.

microdave said...

Oh to be a fly on the wall when those poor kids asked their parents "Why did they boo us mummy/daddy?"

Angry Exile said...

The Righteous are practically weaponising children for political ends. They really are the most despicable cunts, aren't they?

Andrew S. Mooney said...

You fucking liar, of course you did....

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