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Anna Smith: Shame the vile yobbos.

Byline: Anna Smith

SO off they went, the "councillors", on a fact-finding mission to Manchester to see how they deal with yobs.

Why they had to go there and spend a couple of days in the first place is beyond me. It's not as though we don't have enough raw material here when it comes to ned culture to be able to chew the fat around the table and work out how to sort it.

But nonetheless they went, led by the intrepid First Minister Jack who, it has to be said, might be one of the few people apart from me who really wants to get the gloves off and do something about thugs.

Manchester, they learned, has 480 ASBOs in force - one for every 1,000 in the population - to deal with the yobs running riot in housing estates and towns.

Manchester's approach puts our mob to shame. For they don't just stop at issuing a few orders curbing the neds' activities.

Their councillors actually name and shame the yobs. Leaflets with names and pictures of the thugs and maps so they can identify where they are banned from are delivered to shopping centres and all around the community.

If an ASBO thug strays into a banned area or is seen mixing with other ASBOs, a resident can lift the phone and report them.

Well, I'm all for that. And I'm with Jack all the way on this as he declares his determination to hang the yobs out to dry.

Yet this approach apparently met with a cool reception from the councillors who went with him on the trip.

They bristled at the in-your-face attitude of the Manchester lot and said they wouldn't be comfortable with naming and shaming.

What's the matter with these people? Who cares if anybody bleats about human rights and the psychological damage that can be done to a teenager named and shamed like that?

What do they want to do? Take them on an outward bound course to raise their self-esteem?

The last person these thugs give a damn about are the rest of us who are law- abiding and powerless as our communities disintegrate under the menace of thugs.

Every night we sit in our homes listening to the gathering teenage hoodies - and many under-12s, - outside our doors.

If you ask Joe Public how he feels about naming and shaming, I'm sure he will be up there with Jack and me.

Can you imagine the effect that naming and shaming would have on these yobs?

Initially it might be a badge of honour among their idiot peers. But eventually the shame would sink in because the finger would be pointed at the parents. It is they who should be named and shamed for not knowing what their kids are up to when they leave the house.

By naming and shaming the kids we are naming and shaming the parents and I'm all for that. Perhaps if they're embarrassed in their local community,they will do something to rein in their loutish offspring.

Councils across the country who are mealy-mouthed about handing out ASBOs are failing each and every one of us.

If they don't start acting now with the powers that the Scottish Executive gave them, they will be remembered as the councils who simply stood by as the yob culture took over.

Let's wake up, councillors. You've had your sight-seeing trip to Manchester.

Now that you're home, go out and do something to clean up your own backyard.

And start by naming and shaming the yobs.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 16, 2005
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