were stripped of the bulk of their civil liberties. From now on, they will be unable
to go where they want, when they want, and will be under constant constraints on movement.
They must all without exception surrender to direct physical control and restraint for a minimum of two years. This is imposed without charge, without trial, without appeal, and it seems without the slightest peep of protest.
Sixteen year olds will be banned from leaving school, banned from taking up paid work and careers, banned from deciding their own futures. It appears not to have been introduced as a bill in Parliament, wasn’t debated, avoided publicity and was tagged on the end of an existing act. Both the Tories and Libdems had promised to oppose it in the Commons because of the compulsion and enforcement being applied.
True to form, Brown just brought it in through the back door without debate or vote.
Next year the law will change again, taking away freedom of movement, and work choice from seventeen year olds too. You will be 18 before the state will allow you to decide for yourself what you do with your own life.
The fact that the state can move in and remove the civil liberties of hundreds of thousands of subjects, without crime or charge or appeal and effectively subject them to house arrest and two years of close monitored supervision seems not to have impacted one bit on civil libertarians or the masses ranks of ‘the left’.
This could well be because very few if any teenagers have any contact with the left and libertarian movement these days and the aud codgers of the movement, if they even know about it, don’t see the problem. Yet the implications are horrendous.
This is nothing short of internment, for the majority of these young adults who would otherwise have chosen to leave forced education and seek their own way in life.
It is a form of social conscription aimed at restraining a new ‘enemy within’. How will it be enforced, how will big grown-up young adults be policed and constrained in the classroom?
Soldiers, fresh from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan are to be employed as ‘class room mentors’ and ‘school assistants’ as soon as their terms of engagement are over. A special crash teacher training programme, free to ex-soldiers is to be created to ensure ex-combat soldiers will be engaged in every school as teachers. Not surprisingly such a scheme was never offered to the tens of thousands of ex coal miners or dockers, since the lessons these new teachers would come with would be of a markedly different political complexion than the former SAS man or commando.
The press and government have created a social climate in which being a teenager is of itself problematic and criminalised. Just being a teenager hanging out on your own street becomes ‘anti social’ behaviour. Natural exuberance and sexuality become causes for massive head scratching research and anti crime measures. Daily the TV will find an angle to show teenagers doing something to strike the fear of murder and mayhem in the community. Being a teenager makes you automatically guilty, of something, or potentially something.
Blair in his crazed Christian moralist madness obviously thought puberty was some sort of plot by perverts to corrupt ‘children’. So this measure locks you up and puts you under close control and restriction before you do anything. At the same time as the media creates the image of the teenage terrorist and criminal, the state is ramming down everyone’s throat the notion that the poor wee things are just ‘children’.
The press true to its political masters always now refer to teenagers, 16, 17 and 18 as children, as against young adults. Childhood is now imposed by law and punishable in the courts for transgression against this designation. Smoking of course is now raised from 16 to 18.
The right to consume alcohol ,to be together drinking alcohol, to be outside drinking alcohol, buying alcohol have all now suddenly become defacto crimes and illustrative of criminal behaviour. The supermarkets now demand you look 25 or 30 to buy it, or else produce ID. The push to raise the age to 21 is clearly on.
Actually being teenagers hanging out together without alcohol is clearly deemed a crime in many areas with cops and community officers chasing young people off their own estates and demanding they stay home.
All of this is a stalking horse for ever-increasing sexually repressive laws. Until recently the age of consent in Britain was 16, but piece by piece the Blair / Brown government has been pushing this to 18 in line with most US states, by adding more and more restrictions as to who can actually have sex at this age. At present you can marry at 16 in Britain, have a husband or wife and children and a home; how will this fit in with compulsory school attendance until 18?
The two laws are clearly incompatible.
This is all to reinforce the process to infantilise young adults. American ‘rape’ laws have been steadily introduced which changed the existing laws of ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’ to ‘rape’. Consenting underage teenagers would hitherto be denied the fact of actual consent and instead be deemed ‘raped’ regardless of facts of the relationship, or indeed the fact that their partners are usually their teenage boy/girl friends.
Things have changed right enough from when I were a lad, we’d have been rioting in the street, refusing to go , and hordes of lefties of all descriptions would be taking up our cause. Perhaps resurrecting the old US slogan “Hell No We Won’t Go!” So we’ve got the cause, got the slogan, where’s the protests? None so far, and one wonders deeply why?
From an educational point of view, there are at any one time hundreds and thousands
of teenagers forced to attend school which offers them nothing and they hate. They ‘kick off’ daily at school, attack teachers, wreck schools and make life a misery for the youngsters who actually want to be there. Both groups can’t wait for the sixteenth birthday so that the dissidents can leave, and they be allowed to work without harassment and distraction.
Those who leave can’t wait to get work, money in their pocket, enter young adulthood and be free of the constraints of parents and school authority. In days gone by masses of them would enter the industrial workforce and join unions, take an interest in the world of work, and by a diverse route often discover training, education, and political involvement.
A great many mature students would take up higher education in their late twenties, thirties and older, or would develop non-vocational education discovering that education can actually be fun and not associated with having your individuality and freedom ripped out.
The alternative is what we are now being forced to have, childhood forced down your genes until your 18, detention without appeal. It will undoubtedly lead to rebellion in the classroom and real anti-social crime as acts of defiance and frustration. The presence of on site school police forces are bound to happen along with the ex squadie hard man/women, virtual classroom bouncers and door staff. The government will continue to call this part of its ‘education’ programme when actually we will all see it is part of their obsession with social engineering and control
These measures ought to have been fought as hard as the poll tax - that it hasn’t shows just how cowed and battered people have become in Britain. Although the measures don’t apply in Scotland where you can still leave school at 16 if you wish.
The SNP are not be outdone though and just to demonstrate that they too are scared shitless of these young people they will raise the drinking age to 21. Overnight it will make hundreds of thousands of young people criminals, will re-enact all the bollocks of prohibition with raids on pubs and parties, battering people, arresting people, jailing people.
But where is the mass youth resistance? A tactical alliance of all those between 18 and 21 pledged to campaign and vote against any politician who supports this measure might change a few minds. Evidence suggests a healthy movement against the proposal and the criminalisation of teenagers is already afoot in Scotland.
Far better though simple mass and united public defiance would be the best resistance to both acts of government autocracy. Tens of thousands of teenagers refusing to go to school, demanding their freedom of choice and civil liberties could stop this process in its tracks.
More generally, teenagers ought to be fighting for rights as young workers and young adults with full social and political rights at 16 and the repeal of all anti youth legislation. The right to leave school as part of paid apprenticeships and work training coupled with day release fused with standard education programmes at 14.