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Wednesday January 6, 2010

Whatever is wrong with Britain's troubled youth?

An oompah band was playing in the cavernous marquee set up in the town’s plaça to celebrate New Year’s Eve, attracting an enormous crowd of big hipped señoras, swarthy young men and hopeful señoritas. Children, grandparents, mothers, fathers, aunts and uncles sashayed around the makeshift dance floor, laughing and enjoying the free hospitality provided by the town hall.

It was then that I saw them, a gaggle of at least thirty local youths. They appeared at the entrance, surveyed the huge throng and took up residence discreetly in a corner of the marquee where they chatted, giggled and slurped on cokes from the free bar. Wine, beer and cava were on tap until the early hours of New Year’s Day so they could have tanked themselves up to oblivion but they didn’t. The girls weren’t caked in tarty makeup, neither were they falling out of tissues posing as dresses and none sported teetering heels or threw up in the gutter after midnight. The young swains were clad in jeans and jackets, didn’t break into fighting, strip to the waist or run amok in the streets like possessed orangutans. Then again, they weren’t British.

At about the same time back in the UK, police forces were doing battle with the country’s disaffected youth. Public scenes of unbridled drinking and violence were happening in villages, towns and suburbs from London, Birmingham and Norwich, to the north and Cardiff. In Northumbria alone there were 2000 incidents and 3000 police poured on to the country’s streets to deal with the public threat. While Majorca’s teenagers were being persuaded to do the conga alongside grannies and toddlers in marquees across the island, British youths were being carted off to NHS hospitals to have their stomachs pumped, or to cool off in police cells. Why?

I’m not talking about the educated middle classes. My concern is the marauding teenagers prowling the streets with rage in their heart and malice on their mind. Even on a night of supposed national celebration and glasnost, their fragile world turns ugly and trembles with violence at the slightest provocation whether it be drugs, alcohol, or interaction with other human beings simply going about their business.
The UK government should never have introduced round the clock drinking but it still doesn’t diminish the fact that other European nations have a café culture and it isn’t abused. Something is very wrong at the heart of Britain’s youth and alcohol abuse is merely a symptom of the rottenness within.

A combination of disintegrating family life, the benefit culture and lack of discipline and personal responsibility is turning our youth into a sinister and uncontrollable feral underclass. Solutions must be found and fast but is it too late? Can anything be salvaged from the wreckage?

Walking home in the early hours following our town’s New Year’s celebrations, I tripped in the dark but before my husband could help, a group of cheery teens rushed to my aid. ‘Be careful with the cava, señora!’ they giggled. They shook my husband and son’s hands and kissed me on the cheek.

Somehow I could never envisage that scene unfolding in the UK.

Source Majorcan Pearls at

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  1. In response to the ‘Britain’s troubled youth’ article, I think the problem lies in the home. The examples cited are all too often the case in the UK, however, it doesn’t appear on the face of it to be so prominent a problem in Spain. Perhaps this could be attributed to the much stronger family upbringing there that in the UK, where youngsters are balatantly accountable to their parents and other family members, even to the point of being in fear of letting them down. Clearly, well brought up youngsters do exercise one clear attribute… they understand the fundamental difference between right and wrong.

    Britain has turned into a ‘nanny state’, where health & safety and political correctness have been taken to extremes. How did we cope in the past? As a result, youngsters can’t even be looked at before they claim they’ve been abused in some way. Perhaps we should get back to basics and treat misdemeanours with a clip around the ear. Heaven forbid.

    * by Richard Lloyd | Sep 14, 03:20 pm