Kevin Myers: How can Britain and Ireland reclaim the streets from yobs?
Published 31/10/2008 | 11:31
Mondays are important to us in BandIland. Because the courts are not toiling at their gruesome endeavours on Sundays, there are no trials to report in Monday's newspapers in Britain and Ireland.
Thus we get some respite from the news which fills the rest of week, as the two islands march towards their common destiny of lawlessness, abuse and violence.
This is not some part of a Europe-wide social epidemic: it is British and Irish only — BandI-land, a conjoined social polity of violence and drugs, with an underclass spiralling out of control, while privileged social groups withdraw to their ghettoes, shouting, “ME, ME, ME”.
And columnists who have compared today's gerontocratic greed — from the generation which politically tolerated a 30-year war by the IRA — with the courage of those who were prepared to die for democracy, merely confirm that there is something profoundly wrong in this country: we no longer know right from wrong, greed from generosity, selfishness from selflessness.
Meanwhile, abominations spread.
Take one English story in the last couple of weeks, from Doncaster, of James Howson (right), who killed his 18-month-old daughter Amy by snapping her back over his knee, having already inflicted multiple fractures to her arms and legs.
Travel then to Dublin's fair city, where also recently Anthony Dennis, was imprisoned for shattering the skull of a taxi-driver, William Brennan.
The victim had gone to collect his nephew from a nightclub where Dennis had threatened him. Before smashing Mr Brennan's head, one of Dennis's associates sneered: “We can threaten who we want. We are untouchable.”
Dennis was already out on bail on a charge of ramming a garda car: with his record, of 107 convictions, why was he on bail? Why wasn't he in custody?
If he had been, William Brennan wouldn't have been maimed for life.
Dennis was sentenced to just six years’ imprisonment on both charges, with two years suspended: hence, four years, out in two-and-a half, aged 25.
In other words, his chum was right: in any meaningful sense, Dennis is untouchable. But back in Doncaster, even more so, apparently, is Amy's mother Tina Hunt, who, having pleaded guilty to allowing child-cruelty and the death of her baby, ||||was allowed to walk free from the court. What is compellingly dreadful is that both Dennis and Howson were well-known to the authorities with many convictions — yet both were free to commit appalling crimes in the not unwarranted belief that they were largely immune to the consequences of their violent deeds.
In the negligent way that the states tolerated their criminality, they are truly representative of BandI-land.
When I wrote recently about some disagreeable aspects of Sicily, a number of natives complained, all of them making the totally valid point that you can walk down a street in Palermo or Messina without fear of being attacked by strangers, or of walking into a pool of vomit. This is also true of Stockholm and Naples, Oslo and Athens.
For such phenomena are almost totally confined to BandI-land, the melancholy archipelago of the Unlettered Knucklehead, the UK realm in which middle-aged, 25-year-old males cover their cellulite beer-bellies with the team-shirts of a soccer team from an English city they barely know; who gorge every hour on a diet of hamburgers and chips and beer; who frequent bars with five television screens that are never turned off, and from whom violence can be both random, and possible, at any time.
Take your pick: Glasgow or Galway, Belfast or Birmingham, Limerick or Leicester, all with the same dreadful proletarian picture: high illiteracy, low aspirations amid ugly, drug-filled housing estates.
Separate histories and quite different governments brought us to BandI-land's similarly violent townships in which the easiest way to hospital casualty is to misidentify a young man's origins. Ask Wayne from Dublin if he is from Glasgow, or the identically-clad Wayne from Liverpool if he is from Manchester, or the similarly-attired Wayne from Belfast if he is from London: and the likely outcome is a broken head and life- support.
What is common to these societies is an overwhelming but utterly meaningless political and media discourse about “equality”, even as the middle-classes isolate themselves in their unattainably expensive ghettoes, and use politics to ruthlessly pursue their own self-interests.
In this intellectually-corrupt BandI-land, virtually all politicians and journalists hail the canons of egalitarianism, yet simultaneously do their utmost to prevent them from being realised.
So an all-pervading, Anglophone humbug unites the two islands, a UKdom whose coat of arms should consist of a Manchester United shirt, a tattoo, a shaved scalp, a public pool of urine and a hospital-drip, all upon the hypocritical saltire of St Andrew.