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We created mother of all teen monsters.

Byline: Brian READE

FROM Emily Pankhurst to 60s bra-burners, there's always been an iconic female image to sum up the state of our nation.

To that esteemed list we can add the pixellated photo of Britain's youngest female drink-driver, 14-year-old Leanne Black, arriving at Newbury Youth Court, dripping fake bling, yelling obscenities and hurling eggs at on-lookers before trashing the court and chinning a lawyer.

To complete the inspirational scene, her mum Nora waved her builder's bum at photographers, screamed that despite her court-destroying girl driving drunk in her dad's car and telling police to "f*** off" she was "proud of her". Aren't we all, dear.

Britain, Britain, Britain, where legless teenage girls happy-slap strangers into comas before swapping their babies for Westlife CDs, 'cos life's raaa-bish. Only, like Vicky Pollard, it's not funny any more is it? Because there's a Leanne Black outside every off-licence, on the top of every bus in the land - while at home, swigging Hooch in front of The Bill, lollop mum and her tattooed fella.

Neither remotely concerned that the daughter could be knifing a pensioner for the price of a ciggy, or joy-riding into a bus queue and making orphans. Well, it's society's fault, innit? And to an extent it is.

Look again at the picture of Leanne and ask: "What came first, the chicken or the egg-thrower." The answer of course is the chicken - you. And me. The cowards who elect the law-makers, who allow parents to raise kids like packs of wild dogs.

We who look at world league tables which show Britain near the top for illiteracy, teenage pregnancy, binge-drinking, childhood obesity, drug abuse, school exclusion and violence among girls - and shrug. We who allow governments to patronise us with targets and tsars. We who are always ready to blame someone else - police, teachers, brewers, Hollywood, fast-food chains, the internet, stress - without admitting that the root cause of bad kids is bad parents.

We're all guilty of it, it's just that Norah Black's mother is an extreme example of how it's tolerated. But how and why is it tolerated?

When she was 12, Leanne was convicted of drink-driving. Alarm bells should have rung at social services. But in the past two years she has been convicted of criminal damage, burglary, harassment and curfew-breaching. And now she's taken her dad's car keys while drunk, and driven again. And all her proud mum wants to do is kick the f***ing head in of anyone who disapproves.

The question is not why is her mother proud of her, but why is she still with her? Why haven't we issued an Asbo on the mother. An Anti-Social Breeding Order that protects the child and society by either taking kids away from incapable breeders or putting the incapable breeders in homes.

Why does Leanne have to serve four months while her mother is free to show her bum to the world? Who is the more irresponsible?

And are we bovvered? Well we will be. We will be.

CAPTION(S):

MUM: Nora
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 30, 2006
Words:507
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