Sunday, 29 June 2008

Another weekend, another London knife killing

Another weekend, another knife killing around the corner from me, this time 16-year-old Ben Kinsella, who’d just finished his GCSEs at our local Holloway school. Again, a bunch of cowards carrying knives stab a lone victim in the back. Again, a macho culture in which boys play at being big while cowering behind their weapons has laid waste to young lives. And again, no doubt, we’ll have some pusillanimous excuse-making from those sections of the left that try to explain everything in terms of deprivation and inequality.

Not everyone on the left, of course. Not me (see London knife killings). Not Dave Osler, who’s unafraid of talking about the extent to which the recent wave of gun and knife violence is culturally generated. Not the parents and teachers and most of all the boys and young men themselves who are the most affected by it. We know it has a cultural and often – the great unmentionable – racial dimension. It’s time we all started admitting as much and talking about how we deal with it.

And while we’re at it, can we please avoid the sort of cheap shots at Mayor Boris Johnson that characterised his – and the London Evening Standard’s – campaign against Ken Livingstone? We can do without the ‘10 gun crimes a day shame Ken’ sloganising that did nothing to help us get to grips with the 200,000 violent crimes a year reported in the capital before the mayoral election and will do nothing to help us do so now if all we do is to swap Johnson’s name for that of Livingstone.

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