He didn't get where he is today by stealing somebody else's catchphrase.


Today, the BBC tell us the revolutionary news that most of Britains teenagers are complete scrotes. Cutting edge journalism, I'm sure you'll agree. I never knew that at all.

Indeed, where I live it's certainly not yet a case of drive-by shootings or the chippie actually being a local crack-kitchen, but the problem is there nonetheless. There's a group of about a dozen "yoofs" that hang around at the bridge near the bottom of the village - doing absolutely bugger all on most days. From what I've seen, they're not an evil bunch - they just need something to occupy themselves, and therein the problem lies, because there's not that much around our way for them to do.

Whilst it's really easy to scream that it's the parents fault and that they need to be shot at dawn, there are probably some more telling reasons. Let me tell you a story...

Several years ago, I used to be Cub Scout Leader. Sure, you can make pedophile jokes and say, "dyb dyb dyb", to me and I'll poke your eyes out ("dyb", was actually something that finished back in 1971, but I digress), but the truth was that kids loved it, just as much as the older kids loved Scouts. Whilst every child didn't turn out a model citizen, they knew the concept of respect, fun and that occasionally doing nice things for people was actually a good thing to do sometimes. We gave them life skills and socialised them with the adult world. Every so often, I bump into one of my old Cub Scouts. I don't think any have had an ASBO so far....

"So, why did you give it up?", I hear you cry. Well, there were many reasons, but the main one was help. There were four of us that used to run the pack of 30 kids - and it was bloody hard work.

Could we get any help? Could we shite.

In my last year as leader (I did it for six years), I appealed repeatedly for assistance - and got none. Even with threats of closure looming, nobody came forwards. And eventually, a little bit of the community died. It was a sad time.

There may have been many reasons that nobody came forwards - The lack of flexibility demonstrated by employers towards those that do voluntary work, the longer commute times in order to get to work, dysfunctional family circumstances or maybe, just maybe, people just can't be arsed. I don't know.

What I do know is that the voluntary sector in this country is very slowly declining. Soon, we'll be at a stage where there are no after-school activities left - and the gangs that hang around will slowly get bigger and bigger. We bemoan the situation we're in - but one way or the other, we caused it.
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