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Liverpool has been seduced by gangs It's business as usual in the city's criminal underworld

The allure is strong (Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)

The allure is strong (Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Getty Images)


August 31, 2022   5 mins

I was 12 when we moved to the Cantril Farm Estate in Knowsley. It was July 1976, and we didn’t have much choice: my family had been included in a housing deal to relocate 200,000 council tenants to one of six new housing estates on the outskirts of Liverpool’s city centre. Forty-six years later, I’m yet to leave.

I have lived through the estate’s highs and lows, and have counted far more lows than highs: its rapid decline at the hands of Thatcherism, the riots that took place in 1981, and the rocketing unemployment the following year. Coupled with a ceaseless spate of burglaries, car crime and vandalism, Cantril was transformed from a council vision of new prosperity and hope into a social abyss, nicknamed the “the worst estate in Europe”.

Today, the estate has tried to build a way out of its past. Gone are the design-for-crime dimly lit subways and three of the nine tower blocks that had been turned into a springboard for those weary of their misery and in search of an early grave. But these architectural changes, part of a major regeneration programme in 2010, have only diverted attention from the real problems so conveniently avoided by local councillors and our representatives in Westminster. The facades of our buildings may have crumbled and been replaced, yet the accompanying cloud of social exclusion and cultural deprivation still lingers. With an estimated 49% of its male inhabitants still unemployed and youth unemployment reaching 80% by 2019, it is hardly surprising that young people in the renamed “Stockbridge Village” see little alternative to following their fathers, mothers and brothers into the temporary escapism of drug and alcohol-induced stupor — and then, inevitably, into the dark and violent economy of gang culture and organised crime.

Since nine-year-old Olivia Pratt-Korbel was shot dead in her home in Dovecot last Monday, Merseyside Police have carried out dozens of raids and arrested more than 200 people. When Olivia’s killer is eventually found, I suspect that he, or at least his motives, will have roots in an estate like Stockbridge. As well as living here, I have spent the last decade studying the city’s criminal underworld, and have interviewed more than 50 young people — males and females aged between 18 and 25 — involved in violent gangs across Merseyside. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when a community collapses, organised crime often fills the void.

My research points towards three significant drivers of gang culture on Merseyside: the absence of both bonding and bridging in communities; the powerful allure of risk-taking; and the blurring of perception between legal employment and criminality. All of these, if addressed effectively alongside inequality, could prevent young people from being driven into the arms of gangs and violent criminality. If unchecked, they stand little chance of escaping the city’s lawlessness, dragging innocent children such as Olivia Pratt-Korbel into the vortex with them.

Where the importance of friendship networks was concerned, “bonding” and “bridging” appeared to be the prime determinants that decided whether a young person fell in with the wrong crowd. My study noted that most of Merseyside’s communities, including my own, were extremely insular, suffering from high levels of minimal bonding with very few, if any, forms of bridging — that is, very few attempts by residents to connect to other areas, people and organisations outside of their boundaries. This had a significant impact on the young people I interviewed: those who became embroiled in gangs and violent crime developed restricted friendship networks consisting of friends from only their school days and residential street. This meant that values and beliefs were often bound around the dominant philosophy of street gangs and violence. As one interviewee told me: “It was on my doorstep.” By contrast, those young people who decided to abstain completely had done so through building extended friendship networks beyond their respective school and street — taking up Saturday jobs or becoming involved in activities that had brought them into contact with law-abiding peers.

But friendship networks aren’t everything. As the American criminologist Jackson Katz noted in the Eighties, there is a seductive nature to organised crime: a “black box of criminality” which very few researchers can open. Katz was referring to the difficulty of getting offending individuals to discuss the attraction of the actual risks posed by criminality — what in criminological terms is now referred to as “edgework”. In the context of street gangs, Katz argued that it wasn’t just the allure of criminal participation that was so enticing. More important was the emotional charge of the preparation and run-up to the act, climaxing in the adrenalin rush of successfully getting away with the crime and the rewards that it brought.

Katz asserted that such an allure can also extend to projecting a street identity. Even by dressing as a gang member, he claimed, individuals can derive criminal (almost erotic) physiological pleasure from the entire experience of this role-play.

My research found considerable support for Katz’s observations within gangs on Merseyside: that such causes lay not merely in the need for the external material benefits derived from crime, but also a craving for risk-taking, with this latter element expressed in dress. (In most cases: a black North Face hoodie topped off with tracksuit bottoms and “110” Nike trainers.) This was further emphasised in the marking of territory through graffiti, which talked of “street soldiers” whose condemnation of Merseyside Police was projected through the simple graffiti tag of FTM (“Fuck the Matrix”).

Interestingly, my study found evidence for the allure of risk on two levels. In the first instance, in the much-cited and discussed traditional form, the great majority of male gang members reflected on the buzz derived from going out and the unpredictability of what the night might bring. Second, my research identified a newer form — what I call indirect “vicarious edge work”. This saw young women associates derive a dose of excitement through the turbulent criminal life of male gang members.

As I continued my interviews, it became clear how infectious this allure really is. Every community I visited was home to chronic levels of unemployment which had disproportionately affected young people. And without any real prospect of securing a legitimate job, these people were being forced to find alternative means of financial survival through gangs and drug crime — to the extent that the boundaries between legitimate employment and criminality had become entirely clouded. From the vivid descriptions given to me, the young men I interviewed had long-ceased positioning themselves as gang members. Instead, they had adopted an alternative identity of deviant entrepreneurs ready to utilise marketing strategies: they offer Buy-One-Get-One free on bags of “lemo” (cocaine) and send out price menus, with opening and closing hours of serving, via text message. They have, in effect, convinced themselves that they are doing a job just like any other. They have internalised their own language and normalised their crime. Its allure is simply too potent — and is infectious, too.

It’s no coincidence, after all, that more than a week after the horrifying killing of Olivia Pratt-Korbel, her killer is yet to be captured. This, despite the fact that we know who the target was, and despite the fact that, the day after Olivia’s death, the chief constable of Merseyside Police reassured reporters on the scene that “Merseyside is different in terms of where it was 15 years ago”. The truth, however, is that while it may have taken a new form, the allure of gang crime on Merseyside remains as strong as ever. Olivia’s death was the fourth in Liverpool in just one week; afterwards, relatives of the intended target warned on social media that “snitches get stitches”. None of this suggests that the allure of gang crime is waning.

And yet, perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope. Merseyside Police have started to think about what is being called “preventative policing”. It’s not going to change anything overnight, but it’s a start. Finally, there is the realisation that partnership collaboration has become a vital cog — that, to have any impact on this problem, structural issues must be addressed and the social biographies of communities must be scrutinised. But this will take time, and time doesn’t fill me with hope: in Knowsley, we have seen out-of-touch ministers brag about levelling-up on our TV screens, but so far haven’t seen any tangible solutions to poverty, homelessness and, of course, organised violent crime.

So when Olivia’s killer is finally found, and the national news cameras inevitably move on, I can’t escape the feeling that business as usual will return. Social exclusion and cultural deprivation have created a vacuum in Merseyside — and without any meaningful alternative, the region’s gangs will continue to fill it.


Dr Robert Hesketh is an academic at the School of Justice Studies, Liverpool John Moores University


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James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago

“yet the accompanying cloud of social exclusion and cultural deprivation still lingers. With an estimated 49% of its male inhabitants still unemployed â€Š.. blah blah
. etc”
Spare me the cr@p
They have lives. Tell them to live their lives
 or not
. We all make choices.
It is time we started to take responsibility for the choices rather than whinge. Or in the case of the author and everyone else in Britain it seems, be paid to whinge on their behalf.
Whinging does nobody any favours. Least of all people in council estates. Try asking some of those that grew up on council estates but made it for a change.
They have the least sympathy with the whinging masses that refuse to help themselves.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I don’t think Hesketh is necessarily whinging. But it is interesting that his research amounts to nothing more than repeating what we’ve know since the teenage gangs of the ‘50s. It’s all there: the sense of belonging, the risk taking, and the girls who are drawn to the excitement. Finally at the end, after telling us what we already know, he refers to what is hopefully a response that will change thing, slowly, but hopefully.
But I looked up “Preventative Policing”. This is it: lock your doors. Some solution.
“This preventative policing approach ahead of the festive period will see officers in Community Policing teams advising residents and business owners about the steps they can take to reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime.”
I keep looking for something of substance in UnHerd, but this isn’t it.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

But blame it all on Thatcherism.

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

OK, I Will Give Some Truth…. this is it. The Great Reset, and you can see it on the WEF sites, they say it, is first of all about the social credit system of every person. Digital money – your phone now your wallet putting out its signal – broadcasting its location 24/7/365. Saying what you made, what you spent and on what, and to whom you spent money on – who you got money from, where you have been – who was there with you, when you were there, even whyï»ż.

The Agenda is creating crime – it Wants crime, more crime and anti-social behavior – because then people will approve of complete social monitoring. That is how they will say they will protect you silly rabbits – from the criminal underclass they created and brought in as migrants. They will protect you by having every last person monitored every second of the day!

No one would tolerate this except to handle criminals – and so the system is making more and worse criminals.

This is just to make you rabbits demand everyone be electronically monitored every second of every day. Just like you rabbits demanded Covid passports, masks and mandates – but covid was a scam, a plandemic, so did not work fully. This pandemic of crime – that will be real! That will have you all demanding digital passports.

Last edited 1 year ago by Aaron James
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

You are absolutely right. I did not know the crime aspect was involved but I see your point.

L Black
L Black
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Please stick to Facebook with your paranoid nonsense. UnHerd is for IQs over 50.

Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Hope that tin foil hat’s working out for you lad.

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

That’s glib bull, it’s axiomatic that people in the North of England simply have less opportunity to earn a decent income and all the benefits and dignity that comes from work.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Very large policemen in pairs patrolling the streets might be a start to ‘Preventative Policing’

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

The patrolling in pairs is not too useful, it means 1/2 the patrols. They need to be like the old Police, singly with their whistles (and in the really old days their police rattles) and that means real police, not the products of the modern police academies.

The real problem is raising up unemployable masses and paying them to have more of their kind is an industry now. Like say farming – if you pay farmers to raise up some kind of product they will, and you will end up with a lot of it. Keep paying them for more and more of it, and get more and more of it.

The Welfare Trap‘, it is very well known – pay people to be poor and they will do it.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

I’m told that Darwin did not use the words “survival of the fittest”,that someone else invented it to describe his idea but it wasn’t what Darwin really meant. So for decades survival of the fittest we thought meant the most intelligent,the strongest,the most beautiful,the most capable. Then one day I read an idea put forward by someone ie the ones who survive are the most adaptable to circumstances,which may not involve any of the above attributes. So if you live in a society that pays you money to stay at home and have babies and you do that you are “fittest to survive”. It may not be aspirational or noble but it actually fits most of Jesus teaching rather well. Don’t accrue wealth. Give what you have away. Live like flowers. Don’t seek fame.
(The parable of The Talents is an anomaly but as GK Chesterton said you can’t put Jesus words into context because they were out of context when he said them.

Last edited 1 year ago by jane baker
Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

I’m not religious, but do you have any kind of soul.
How can you in good consciousness dismiss so much of humanity?

Laurence Siegel
Laurence Siegel
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Darwin meant, and said pretty clearly, that natural selection consists of the greater reproductive success (“survival”) of those individuals in a species that were best adapted to whatever change in the environment was in the offing. Not whatever change might occur — whatever change did occur. So you wouldn’t know who was fittest until after the fact.
The characteristics of those individuals would be more prevalent in the next generation. That’s what evolution is. Random variation + disproportionate reproductive success of whoever happened to have the characteristics that would later turn out to be useful as the environment changed.
Evolution is complicated!

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

“the ones who survive are the most adaptable to circumstances,”
Thats not it either. By the fittest he meant that by chance, completely random, they “fit” into the new environment they find themselves in. Those that don’t “fit” struggle and died, their genes with them. They cannot be adaptable or make themselves adaptable. It’s sheer chance who “fits”. But the ones who do “fit” have the most advantages.
It has very little to do with the teachings of Jesus.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

I assume you’ve never been in Cantril Farm, patrolling in pairs means one can use the whistle as the other fights off 4 or 5 attackers. At least until the attackers start suffering in depth. Then you could go to one’s I suppose.

Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Your totally right, give people pocket money and all they will ever want is pocket money.
Genius, these work shy scum want nothing more than a tax payer funded house and a wide screen telly

Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

Agreed, we need marshal law, let’s legislate and retake our streets.
Back in my day a bobby would just slap a miscreant round the head so he would rethink his life and sort out Cold Fusion.

Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

“Whinging does nobody any favours. Least of all people in council estates. Try asking some of those that grew up on council estates but made it for a change.”
The majority of people on these estates are decent people. They really shouldn’t have to overcome all the odds to be productive citizens.
Try visiting these places, they are economic wastelands. No local job opportunities, no reliable public transport to get to minimum wage work in service industry jobs.
Is it that surprising kid’s growing up in these areas seek economic opportunities through crime?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Slothful
Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

These young people are not whinging, they have created another world which you and I have little conception of, until someone like Dr. Hesketh takes the time and effort to share what he has discovered.

Yes, we are all personally responsible for our actions, but if you are born in a jungle (metaphor) which these estates are, one of the most likely directions you are going to take, is to join a gang, essentially a tribe, for security, excitement and financial reward.

I’d say stories like this are as old as time but that does’nt mean in the 21st century we do nothing.
As usual the answers are not that difficult, we learnt in the 20th century what worked, youth centres, boxing and martial arts clubs, mentors for starters. Compulsory National Service perhaps, I don’t know if that’s feasible in our happy clappy liberal society, probably not.

The awful irony is the vigorous potential in these youngsters is tremendous, it could go in such a positive direction with the right help. If we ignore articles like this and sneer at them, well, keep well away from the jungle and I hope you sleep soundly.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Your comment suggests you’ve had very little contact with these youths. But why is it that not all youths fall into this trap? Why do some get on?

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Good questions and surely the article is trying to answer them to some extent.

How much contact have any of us commenters on here had with these youths ? Have you had any ?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

In answer to your question, yes I have had contact over a long period, and failed, as so may others will have. And, the article does not address the problem, it merely repeats what we already know.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

So the article discusses the problem not a solution, but that is still valuable. Not everyone has had contact with these Liverpool youths like you.
Has your experience of failure with them taught you anything that might lead to a solution of any kind ?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

My experience is not with Liverpool youths. This is a worldwide problem. In western countries the situation is always the same. In other countries there are other factors. But even in those countries education is viewed as the only way out. There doesn’t need to be a long winded discussion, or a committee formed, to decide what “education” is. But there does need to be a will on the part of the parents and children. Even if the parents are the problem, and no matter how much influence a school or institution have on a child, they’re always going to return to that destructive environment. For many children school is security and an escape from that destructive environment.
So there needs to be an incentive to attend school. I think that incentive could be the financial assistance to get out of that environment. There are fine families struggling to maintain some sort of equilibrium for their kids without any help whatsoever. I can’t imagine they would want to stay where they are. If they try they should be rewarded.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

I also have had experience with youths, in London and the South East, and what I have observed almost without fail is family breakdown as the no. 1 cause on the individual level.
Growing boys need men to keep them in line. They need to realise they are not in charge because their hormones make them feel as if they are.
That’s not to say every child from a broken family will turn to crime but it makes it much more likely, especially where gangs are concerned, because they replace the lost security (if there was ever any) of the family.

It’s interesting that the Taliban was originally made up of the orphans of fathers killed in war. I wonder if that is true of Boko Haram as well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

The breakdown of the family followed closely behind the breakdown of faith in God.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

I wish I could recall the title and authors name but a well written book explained how when women relinquished their moral policing role in the 1960s having been told they could be just like the men,that was when society started to go downhill,and it’s true.

Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Women argued that they weren’t inferior to men because of a millennia of religious dogma.
As stated in Timothy 1 chapter 2 Verse 11, “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or assume authority over a man, she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first and then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was woman who was deceived andnbecame the sinner. But women will be saved through childbearing – if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety ” NIV
Don’t think women just decided to act like men, they simply tried to say fuk that I’m equal, is that a bad thing?

Last edited 1 year ago by Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

The vast majority of humanity is born into some sort of religion.
Those born into Shinto seem to have stable family units without the need the need for a god.
Maybe overbaring and reppressive judeo christianity is the problem.
If kid’s are taught to have faith in some god who does nothing for them and demands his people believe or suffer eternal damnation, perhaps it’s no surprise they rebel.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

There have always been poor people in every Westrn country, but they didn’t organize into destructive gangs like today. You are describing, above, the very fundamental institutions that have guided society for a century. But they have been, and continue to be ripped apart in favor of a new world view. We are getting a good glimpse into our Godless future.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

What do you call a scouser in a clean hoodie? ” The Accused”….

Liam Black
Liam Black
1 year ago

What an infantile and unfunny “joke”. I’m sure you’d be much more comfortable spouting this type of poison on Twitter.

Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam Black

What’s the difference between Batman and a scouser?
Batman can go out without robbin.

I’m a scouser, we do have a sense of humour ye know

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Slothful

The father of my children is a scouser, it was his sense of humour which won me.
I loved my mother-out-of-law, she’s gone now but we had some good laughs, pretty close to the bone for southerners I think but it did’nt bother me. She still makes me smile when I think of some of the things she said.

D Glover
D Glover
1 year ago
Reply to  Jim Slothful

A binman knocks at a door and a scouser opens it.
Binman – ‘Where’s yer bin?’
Scouser – ‘On holiday’
Binman – ‘No, where’s yer wheelie bin?’
Scouser – ‘In prison’

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Having taught in sink comps, the idea that school is a security is ironic and sadly amusing. I saw highly talented individuals hide virtually everything about themselves under the proverbial bushel to avoid persecution.

Joyce Brette
Joyce Brette
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Is there a solution for violent drug addled yobs ? I don’t think so, most think they are tough American style gangsters.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Joyce Brette

Yes, the police need to clear up the drugs, there needs to be zero tolerance of drug dealers, drug possession and guns.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Police alone can never “clear up” the drugs trade. Only a willingness by the whole of civilised society can do that by holding their noses, pausing their endless drip-drip of yuman rights, etc, etc, and exterminate drug dealers, – the small-time and the big-time. No excuses, no special cases pleading. We exterminate cockroaches without a second thought. That’s where society needs to get to with drug dealers.
At present our fondness for terms such as “Zero tolerance” means diddly squat. Just a comfort blanket for nice, middle class do gooders who have a track record miles long of achieving nothing.
And BTW, I originated from a bog-standard city estate that spawned Jimmy Savile. My mother was a struggling single parent. I worked hard at school, won a scholarship to a grammar. My passport out of there. Now I dare not go back.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brian Burnell
Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian Burnell

Perhaps you are right about “Zero tolerance”, becoming an all too easy slogan, but it has it’s origins in the extraordinary turnaround in crime in New York in the 1990s under Mayor Giuliani, he coined the phrase.

I cannot speak for anyone else but for myself, when I have used it in a comment, it indicates my desire for a similar turnaround here in the UK, even if I have no idea how the police can achieve it.

Well done for getting yourself out under difficult circumstances, that’s admirable.

Fred Paul
Fred Paul
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Giuliani broke the law in New York City. But things got so bad that people looked the other way. He drove the crime out of Times Square into other neighbourhoods, so he really didn’t solve the problem. It just moved to some other place.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Why have “the police”.got to clean everything up. Why.cant people police their own lives of their own volition. Why have the police become reluctant social workers. Why have they got to protect silly tarts from the men they chose to stick with rather than endure the very real stigma in our society of being partner less. I know I’m a horrible person. So what.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

I have’nt said that the police should “clean everything up”.
I said they need to “clear up the drugs”, because drug dealing and possession are crimes and the police are supposed to deal with crime, it’s their job.

As for you being “a horrible person”, I doubt it, perhaps it’s just an early morning thing or a passing phase !

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Joyce Brette

There is, but the answer is not for the squeamish or those who think drug addled = sick.
China and the East solved the massive drug problems they had in the past. Now we often see the headlines whinging when a Westerner faces the death penalty over drug dealing issues.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Joyce Brette

Discover all the cosy,clean,safe middle class people who are buying what these squalid have to sell,safe in their middle class bubble,hit them with huge fines,name and shame them,sack them or end their recording deals or theatre contracts or whatever and cut the head off the monster. I know it’s not going to happen. But it’s nice people in Nice neighbourhoods who are the real criminals. It’s their willingness to pay money they earn from their ability to stupid people with no talents that keeps it going. They know their respectability and status protects them,the smug bastards,they outsource all the dirtiest to the stupid. Which is probably as it should be.

Giles Toman
Giles Toman
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

The middle classes generally don’t buy drugs off dodgy youths in the streets.
They call or text someone they trust, who comes round in a car, and they buy what they want, both parties are happy, no stabbing or shooting necessary.
This meme of blaming “respectable” drug users for violent gangs is nonsense.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

“How much contact have any of us commenters on here had with these youths?”
I have had quite a bit. I tell you again, listen to the adults who are not potheads or dealers and they will tell you what needs doing.
It won’t cost much money to fix these estates, but it will require determination and will, which nobody outside these estates, has any intention of applying.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

I think it would be an interesting idea to reward those families that persevere with education, whatever the results, with the financial help to move out of the estates.

eric james
eric james
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

People moving out of the estates is not a solution.There are many decent hard working people who live there.We need to be tougher on crime but like everything else that will cost a tremendous amount of money.Crime I assume will get worse with the increases in the cost of everything.A tough job for any goverment.We need the input of the likes of Mr Hesketh for what maybe an unslvable problem.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  eric james

Why is moving people out of estates not a solution? I bet it is to parents trying to raise a family.
And what exactly was Hesketh’s input?

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  eric james

Most council housing built pre WW2 is high standard and very good as is often said on Homes Under The Hammer when one comes up. Most council houses have large gardens too. The building standards were lowered about 1959 and it is these latter council houses that get the problems that gave council housing a bad name plus that after about 1970 councils had to house anyone. Before that councils used to check the prospective new tenant was a clean person or rather couple who did housework and cared about tidiness. Once alkies and such like started getting housed areas went downhill. The only thing wrong with estates of council housing,those that are not 80% in private ownership is the lack of imagination and sheer stupidity of the residents who are too lazy even to garden.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Patrol the streets, Robert Peel’s streets were likely more violent than those of today and his solution was to patrol and prevent. Not sit around and respond, then fail to find anyone responsible for the crime.

David Blackburn
David Blackburn
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Education Education Education, the only truth Blair ever spoke.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

Not true. There are many children in schools who have no desire to learn more than they have already, they want out, to work in many cases. Yet we force them to hang around doing things the see no point in.
Some of these have then risen through the ranks rapidly because they know what they want, and it is a job and opportunity. The idea that we all need degrees is crass and in my opinion a con. Education to extremes was for political reasons. It kept the dole queues down for a year or two, then when it expanded to Universities it provided a certain class with assured income from all those tuition fees.
How many degrees does a bin-man need? Yet more people would be more inconvenienced by the bin-men not working than the NHS. The NHS virtually shut down during covid yet there wasn’t a fraction of complaints that accompanied the Scottish bin strike of weeks. I know, the NHS shut down is now costing lives, but it does not change the fact, bin-men are vital and they don’t need to be educated until their twenties.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

I feel qualified to comment because I grew up on a Council Estate.
I escaped as did all my friends.
We got on with life and took the opportunities offered and made opportunities of our own.
One of my children lives on a council estate. I listen, I talk and I assure you that they want police on the streets, ( never seen one out if their cars in the Estate) the feral kids disciplined. Yes
. Disciplined ! The drug dealers hanged and the prostitutes moved away from them. Preferably to a safe clean brothel somewhere.
The residents know what needs doing, it is just that nobody listens to them because policy is decided by liberal wasters with a PHD in a useless social policy.
The residents are deliberately left to rot. Because they serve a purpose of justifying ever more state control, taxes and high paying liberal elite jobs well away from the Council Estate.
It is a sickening farce. The current polices are never going to work, because nobody in charge cares a sh-t.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Thank you for your reply which is much more interesting than your initial comment.
I don’t think we are that far apart in our ideas about this really, you’re just a bit more angry and exasperated than me, probably because of your first hand experience.

Dr Hesketh does’nt come across to me as a whinger or a liberal waster, just someone stuck somewhere attempting to understand the problem he sees before him.

Your final paragraph suggests you care as much as I do, quite possibly more. Ignoring the situation cannot be the answer, but that is what the politicians have done, until something even more tragic than usual happens, as it just has.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

OMG. You care. Says it all. You definitely live in some middle class safe bubble. You care. Excuse me while I vomit.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

You have made it very difficult to respond to you because you seem to have projected a middle class wet liberal fantasy figure onto me.

Attacking me for using the word “care” is daft, everyone on this comment thread cares to some extent otherwise we would’nt have bothered reading the article or commenting. And I think it’s reasonable to suppose that the angry comments reflect more care, because they are more emotionally involved with the subject than more objective comments like mine.

How about putting aside the imaginary Claire D you have created and explain what exactly I have said that has so upset you, apart from the word “care” obviously.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Amen brother. Thank you for your candor. Just like blacks in the U.S. these lefist monsters need a permanent underclass to keep their power.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

You said THE WORD. The word even I haven’t been brave enough to say. The word our whole media is scrupulously avoiding saying. The factor that everybody is respectfully ignoring. That factor. That word.

Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

What word?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

“Happy clappy liberal society”. Brilliant.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

You live at Alton,or Yetminster,or Laxton I bet. Or possibly East Cheam or Putney. Social housing is NO excuse for bad behaviour or crime. Most ex-social housing is SNAPPED UP by private buyers and gets praised fulsomely on Homes Under The Hammer for its airiness,spaciousness and good design. That tv presenter Mike Dilger was overjoyed to buy an ex-council house in a village in Somerset near Bristol. He didn’t go on about how living in a council house made him turn to crime. I expect the tenants that did right to buy are living in Spain now off the criminal profits they all made. Robbing future generations. If these people are living in a culture they have created in which a few streets is their whole world then that,to me,means they are STUPID. I know we have to see all cultures as equally valid,in theory,but this whole way of living is STUPID for STUPID people. I do hope you are not a middle class,safe in your bubble,purchaser of cannabis,cocaine or other substances for your personal pleasure as if you are YOU are fuelling the situation and outsourcing the violence.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Your foolish assumptions reveal more about you than they do about me.

Anna Knowles
Anna Knowles
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

My late husband was a keen climber and camper (not me – he used to say, ‘Anna thinks anything less than a four star is camping) – and he was persuaded by a youth worker in London to take young men from these sorts of housing estates on adventure trips in the hills. He said he was astounded at the way these swaggering, cocky youngsters became timid and nervous little boys when faced with the challenge of a few days roughing it and taking different sorts of risks; and how rewarding it was to see them slowly build confidence based on achievement, learning new skills, assessing risk and conquering fear.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Your last paragraph is intriguing. I find it hard to think Al Capone and Frank Nitty could have been philanthropists, and that for Joseph Stalin and Pol Pot, with all their ‘advantages’, one might have expected a bit more.

Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

Which last paragraph are you referring to, there are nine comments of mine above, I’m not sure which one you’re replying to ?

Jim Slothful
Jim Slothful
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Like your reasoning, not to sure about National Service.
Some sort of civic responsibility in schools like encouraging kids to tidy their neighbourhood might work.

Giles Toman
Giles Toman
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

Boxing, martial arts etc may only result in fitter, more effective, violent criminals.

sean Mahony
sean Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Unemployment is less than 5% in UK. There are staff shortages all over UK. We now have social mobility so why not get a job where there is one. HGV drivers, NHS staff, airport worker etc. No excus for being unemployed

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Thats the same point I’m making,or hope I have,but in different words.

Bob Rowlands
Bob Rowlands
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

Sorry James but I’m afraid the author is right and an authentic voice of everything that is not okay with large swathes of northern England. The children and youths in areas like Cantrell Farm have little or no hope of bettering their lives beyond their immediate locality. Very few are intellectually gifted individuals so where is the paid work to enable them to feel part of something more tangible? What alternatives are being provided for them? Long gone (to China via Globalisation) are the factories which provided for everyone who was not going to make it into higher education to feel valued. Scoucers are entrepreneurs at every level and if you don’t channel that entrepreneurial spirit into something meaningful they will find an alternative route. By the way the “whinging masses” are helping themselves that’s the problem, just not in a good way.

Ben J
Ben J
1 year ago

Articles like this bring out the backwoodsman in me, I’m afraid. There’s nothing here not already covered by the Chicago School or by anomie theory decades ago. But academics gonna academic, and of course pay the rent.
There’s nothing unique about Liverpool. You could write exactly the same piece about Tottenham or Govan. We know in a Capitalist system (which isn’t perfect, but Socialism is proven to be worse) there will be inequality. People need tools to escape it. If they choose not to try, because robbing people or selling narcotics is more exciting, then that’s up to them. So is going to prison. I don’t care if they spend their lives rotating in and out of jail, as long as the rest of us are protected from their stupidity.
I spent my life working with criminals and the victims of crime. I know who I’ve more sympathy for. Criminals laugh at academics who try to understand them. Many of those I met, especially the cleverer ones, had what I suppose nowadays we’d call ‘Agency.’
Yes, build more jails (probation and penal reformers are part of the problem, the Blob that’s always making excuses for recidivists). Make jail constructive. Give people opportunities, but also let them suffer the consequences of their decisions. And, critically, protect the innocent from them.
There you go, can I have my PhD now please?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben J

People have been chattering away like this since ‘West Side Story’. Sorry, not you, but the writer.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben J

I’m not a fan of longer and longer sentences. What I think may make a difference is relentless arrest and swift justice. While I don’t wish to stereotype people it seems that most criminals live in the present wanting immediate rewards – and fear of arrest is low, the likelihood of prison low and much delayed. There is too much time between their decisions and their consequences.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

“There is too much time between their decisions and their consequences”. Wish I could upvote this one 100 times.

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

In the UK at least, our criminal justice system means that by the time an offender is finally sent to jail they will have been effectively let off several times with fines, community sentences, etc.
I wonder if it would help if the very first offence was punished with a short stay at young offender institution or jail for a short period (maybe 2-3 weeks), just so the offender can see that a continued life of crime would result in a far longer spell in jail.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Philip Stott

The USA has tried something like this with its ‘Scared Straight’ programs. It hasn’t worked out for them.
Juveniles who went through the programs committed more crimes than the controls who did not. Many of the youth couldn’t see themselves as ‘one of the losers who got caught’, but only as ‘one of the bright ones who would get away with it’. Given that there is a lot of ‘getting away with it’, this may not be an unreasonable position to take. Others found prison glamorous. The ‘Live Fast Die Young’ set were well aware that they are self-destructive. They like themselves that way. Some found the whole experience to be an affirmation of their desire to become a hardened criminal.
I think for this sort of intervention to work, you would need an offender with a certain amount of humility and self-awareness. But those are qualities that are in very short supply among those who get into violent trouble with the law.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

Perhaps we should help them ‘die young’ if they deal or murder?

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Ok make dealing result in very short sentences, at the end of a rope.

Brian Burnell
Brian Burnell
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben J

Amen Ben J.
Have a Gold Star. In fact have two. Next question: why does the Justice System Blob never see matters this clearly? Are they just there for the nice salary and pension? Or do they truly believe differently?

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago

Nothing on family breakdown, and particularly the absence of fathers

Alan Tonkyn
Alan Tonkyn
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

Thank you for this. I was waiting for someone to make this vital point. Unfortunately, we have walked, step by insidious step, into a situation where it is quite acceptable for men (especially, but not exclusively) to abandon their partners and children to the ‘care’ of the welfare state, leading to the social problems and crime we see on the worst council estates. I’m not sure how we retrace our steps on this one. We need to reintroduce a sense of responsibility for children and shame for abandoning them into the public debate on this, but most politicians are too scared to do this: look what happened to Peter Lilley!

Sue Sims
Sue Sims
1 year ago
Reply to  Alan Tonkyn

Yes, I was also waiting for someone to mention the lack of fathers in the home. This is also why the comment above, trying to view the British (and not just British) gang culture through the lens of the Mafia and related criminal organisations is rather pointless: it’s a different society altogether.

Mike Dearing
Mike Dearing
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew D

A lazy trope, should new fathers be imposed?

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Dearing

I don’t know why you think my comment was lazy, or a ‘trope’ (dread word). Countless studies as well as commonsense demonstrate the value of children being raised by a mum and dad. As to your facetious question, fathers cannot of course be ‘imposed’, but we might start to think about ways of incentivising proper parenting. However we won’t begin to find a remedy if we can’t agree on a diagnosis.

Jeff Herman
Jeff Herman
1 year ago

How much of the criminal culture is due not to living on a council estate but the break down or complete absence of the family unit I.e.a married couple with children. Too often we hear about the plight of “single mothers”. Why are they single? Where are the fathers? Marriage breakdown, widow or choice to be single with children?

Mike Dearing
Mike Dearing
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Herman

So what? All sorts of reasons for absent fathers, but the author does discuss the allure of deviancy from the law.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Jeff Herman

Stop funding single parenthood?

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago

Sweden has worked extremely hard with all sorts of free job-training and job placement programs, and a generous welfare payments. Pretty much all the remedies based on ‘they only act this way because they have, or believe they have no other options’ have been tried here. And this year’s election is being fought over violent crime. All the parties (but the Communist party of the Left) are promising to build more prisons and lock more people up.
This paper is finally getting the publicity it deserves. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24173408/
The authors looked at violent crime convictions 1973-2004 and found that 1% of the population was responsible for 63% of the violent crimes. It’s believed to be worse now. The criminals are definitely getting younger.
This is not ‘there but by the Grace of God’ but ‘I’m in it for the violence’. Most of the criminals are not being paid for their gang membership, though the drugs and alcohol may be free. This is not ‘the black market economy’, in the same way that unlicensed taxi drivers, and the person who will do home repairs for you for money spent under the table are.
When you catch the people who say ‘killing other people is better than any drug, and better than sex’, ‘Swedes are all sheep who deserve to be preyed upon by wolves like me’, and ‘women who are not locked up deserve to be raped’ you need to lock them up until you can be sure they are no longer a danger to the rest of us, which in most cases means never. It’s tragic to have to do so. But not as tragic as believing that we have to put up with the next crime, and the one after that, and so on and so forth.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Creighton
Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

The population of Sweden is 10 million, mostly Swedes. London is 9 million alone, from every walk of life. Difficult to compare.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

As of 2020, the State Statistics Bureau reported that around 2,686,040 or 25.9% of the inhabitants of Sweden were from a foreign background: that is, each such person either had been born abroad or had been born in Sweden to two parents who themselves had both been born abroad. Also taking into account people with only one parent born abroad, this number increases to one third (33.5%). So, I think that Sweden is less Swedish than you believe.
But the UK could run its own studies of violent crime. (And maybe it has, but I just don’t know where to look.) What percentage of the population commits what percentage of the violent crimes? How much of it is gang-related? Drug related?

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

The UK has done its own studies, who wouldn’t? The question to be asked is, are the tabloid press correct in saying that having done those studies, they aren’t willing to publish them because of what would be revealed?

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Warren Trees

How did Robert Peel civilise the streets?

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

It was John Wesley who.”civilised the streets”.actually I mean his whole movement and the ones who came after him. Its an incredible story really,someone should make a movie on it. I actually live in a dwelling on one of the very spots where John Wesley,who must have been a charismatic preacher though only a little guy,he preached to the coal miners of Kingswood. Those 18century men and their womenfolk had it rough,incredibly hard work for pennies,despised,ignorant and as Mr Wesley told them how God loved them they cried,they had never heard such words of love,and observers of the time told how their tears made white streaks down their coal black faces. In brief,the Kingswood people in the 19th to mid 20th century were the kind of educated,dignified working people that meant Britain did not have a revolution in 1848. Sadly that’s now worn off and they’ve gone back to being heathen savages.

James Rowlands
James Rowlands
1 year ago

“you need to lock them up until you can be sure they are no longer a danger to the rest of us, which in most cases means never. It’s tragic to have to do so.”
it is not “tragic” at all Laura
I don’t want them near my daughters, or sons for that matter
 so yes lock them up.,.. or other suitable punishment

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  James Rowlands

actually, I remember Scousers after their purging at Pirbright, were transformed into superb Irish Guardsmen.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

My uncle tells of the days when he lived in the tenements in Scotland road in the 1930’s, and the boys in the church choir could all read music and sing many part harmonies because they were treated as sentient beings and expected to achieve it. Though society then wasn’t quite so diverse.

Arild Brock
Arild Brock
1 year ago

The Swedish paper looks at “parental factors”, like one parent (or both) having been convicted of crime. But the study seems to NOT look at the mere PRESENCE of BOTH parents – which would mean looking at the presence/absence of the father.
I believe I can guess why.

Delia Barkley-Delieu
Delia Barkley-Delieu
1 year ago

I was brought up on a council estate in the ’50s and ’60s and experienced real poverty.
Something the author fails to mention is nurturing, and the role of parents. Kids born to parents who take drugs, who drop out, do little at school, remain unemployed, etc, etc, stand little chance of developing hopes, dreams, ambitions.
Yes, it’s a vicious circle, but there is no reason it can’t be broken.
Decent parents, no matter their background or circumstances put their children first. Poverty is no excuse for redundant parenting. It’s harder, but if you have a child, their welfare must be your first concern, always. No one is born a parent, you learn to be a parent, and that process is aided by having decent role models who influenced your childhood and young adult development.
Isn’t the old saying “Children learn from their parent’s knee”?
If a parent does not guide a child, teach them right from wrong, value (free) education (as a means of escape) then a child will not aspire to much.
I accept if you are born to a feckless parent your life is likely to go off the rails. Yes, people become despondent and depressed if life is tough, but many of us have been there and not thrown in the towel.
I know it’s a simplification, but is one of the the root causes of criminal teenage behaviour neglectful parenting?
Children shouldn’t be born to parents who can, yet don’t give them their best efforts. People have to take some responsibility for their choices, decisions and actions – they can’t just be perpetual victims.
Parental nurture and education is the best start any child can have. The circle of hopelessness can be broken, but it requires effort, continued, concerted effort, from the day a child is born.
Just one aspect which the author fails to mention and seems to be overlooked in most pieces regarding crime-infested neighbourhoods. There are no simple solutions but perhaps we ought to be demanding more of parents, more of council tenants, more from our law makers, and our justice systems. Perhaps we need an environment which condemns rather than sympathises with anti-social behaviour, and do away with social commentators who view criminal families and feckless parents as nothing more than victims.
We need to get real. We are failing children perpetually and reaping the whirlwind of criminal culture if we don’t demand, or rather INSIST upon more from parents and society. A huge attitude shift is needed and soon – requiring an investment, in time, money and teaching which is sorely needed.
Neglectful parenting is an issue which tends to be swept under the carpet and society picks up the pieces and pays for the damage it can do.
How long before the ‘Criminal Class’ is the biggest demographic in our towns and cities? It’s frightening – and the path to lawlessness and anarchy. What deterrents to we have? Very few it would seem.

Last edited 1 year ago by Delia Barkley-Delieu
Ian Cooper
Ian Cooper
1 year ago

“Perhaps we need an environment which condemns rather than sympathises”
I quite agree but nothing can now be condemned except Tories

Delia Barkley-Delieu
Delia Barkley-Delieu
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Cooper

Exactly.
“It’s all Thatcher’s fault” is the mantra of the left. Even teenage apprentice left wingers churn it out without any knowledge of British history. Time to update their slogans and insults.

Times have always been difficult, but I don’t remember lawless estates, gangs, gun and knife crime and an ineffective police force being a big feature of Thatcher’s time in office, nor, given she became PM in the 70s, is it her legacy. That’s a lame slur.

Sadly, we are no longer allowed to judge or condemn. We are obliged to sympathise.

We can criticise behind closed doors but according to liberals we are ‘very nasty people’ to want justice for victims..or even a peaceful, unthreatening existence for law-abiding tenants on council etates or living in the inner city.

An overhaul of police powers ( and attitudes) and the justice system is long overdue.

Sadly, I can’t see an end to it. The gang problem will escalate, with no solution.

We became more liberal, and for good reasons quite often. However, boundaries were lost. We ‘understood’ bad behaviour, anti-social behaviour but never ever dealt with it effectively. This is society evolving and without intervention it’s our future.

Last edited 1 year ago by Delia Barkley-Delieu
Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

The police this week were shown to be unfit for purpose. Scrap them, force by force and bring in foot patrols with very large males, preferably ex-forces.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

Leftist nonsense. The problem with these kids is the same as everywhere else. Single motherhood is far more responsible than Thatcher, who has been out of power for over three decades. Instead of your proposal to rub their noses in diversity, as has been government policy for decades, the cure for these social ills comes from measures to avoid family breakdown.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago

My research points towards three significant drivers of gang culture on Merseyside: 1) the absence of both bonding and bridging in communities; 2) the powerful allure of risk-taking; and 3) the blurring of perception between legal employment and criminality.

The author’s identification of the problems is more persuasive than his standard issue left-wing solutions.
His implied solution to 1) seems to be making young kids making contacts outside the estate and raising their aspirations. That seems right to me. Could it be systematised? My mum (who taught in approved schools in the 80s and 90s) was keen on the state funding boarding school places for kids from crime infested neighbourhoods. Is that practical or desirable at this scale, I wonder?

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

“His implied solution to 1) seems to be making young kids making contacts outside the estate and raising their aspirations.”
That was the objective of education. Obviously it has not worked. Partly because parents and children had no respect for education and saw no value in it. Why?
Boarding school places for kids from crime infested neighbourhood: presumably difficult kids who won’t or can’t learn. How do you make them go, and stay, in such an institution?

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

In my mother’s day, it was the worst behaved or most vulnerable of the kids who were put into secure (meaning you were not allowed to leave) residential schools. I know a couple of the women who were there as girls and they have grown up to have lives less chaotic and wretched than I think they would have been if left to their own devices. Most of these schools have now gone – like many residential institutions, bad press and tight funds meant “care in the community” became the preferred tool of councils.
But I think what my mum had in mind was whole year groups voluntarily leaving the estate each term and going to a residential school in the countryside where they would have to toe-the-line in a loving but strict school environment away from the temptations and threats of their local neighbourhoods.
Could it work? I have no idea. As you say, it is hard to see how it can be enforced without the co-operation of the parents.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matt M
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

Yes, I agree that.a voluntary enrolment, and the exposure to opportunities, away from everything that does them no good, would be ideal. The parents are a big problem. But it does go against the grain to have bureaucracies interfere in families. But over a particular age children are free to chose, and if its 16 and over then that’s not too late.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

In criminal families, ‘to please my parents’ is one reason _why_ children become criminals. Get arrested, have your mom throw you a party and buy you nice things. But also come down to the police station, not to get you out, but to make sure that you aren’t tempted to be a snitch.

_There are whole families that belong in jail_.

Sending people to boarding school and then ‘home for the summer’ means that in the summer the kids that are trying to maintain their new law-abiding ways are targetted by those who revert to old behaviour (or never were sent away). They arm themselves for self-defence, and then end up being killed or killing their attackers.
Maybe what would do the trick is orphanages? That we haven’t tried here.

Last edited 1 year ago by Laura Creighton
Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

The old residential schools in England were more like orphanages I believe. Children could be visited but they could not leave the premises until they had been socialised, taught to read and write, trained in a useful skill and found a placement/job.

Sounds a good idea to me.

Last edited 1 year ago by Claire D
Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Who’d have thought that Community Comps wouldn’t provide the bright with opportunity as the Grammars did?
A relative of mine lived in Speke (where I was born) in a 3 storey block of 6 flats some 50+ years ago. The neighbours were great and it was a joy to live there. Then some bright spark on Liverpool Council decided that, when a flat became empty, they’d put in a ‘problem family’. The other 5 law abiding tenants would provide an example of how life should be lived and this family would become another model tenant.
Within a month the other 5 law abiding families had fenced off their open verandah’s with chicken and barbed wire, their gates padlocked. The problem family managed to burgle 3 of the 5 in the first two weeks. They were to blame because they burgled one flat in daylight thinking the owner was at work. He woke up as he was on night shift to confront and identify the burglar, one of the problem family – the burglar ‘disappeared’ but the rest of the family remained.
Within 6 months, the family living opposite, moved out. Another ‘problem family’ was moved in. After 8 months another two of the remaining 4 tenants moved out & more problem families moved in.
By now the communal garden was a tip, the chicken and barbed wire fencing had been doubled and tripled, one padlock wasn’t sufficient. No lights worked on the stairs and landings and they stank of urine and other things.
My relatives were on the top floor and an old lady on the ground floor, the only two of the original occupants. Finally my relatives had enough and they too applied to move. On the day they were moving I was helping move furniture, and the old lady on the ground floor caught my sister’s arm and pleaded with her. “Do you have to go, can’t you stay. Please don’t leave me here with these people.”
I never did get to find out what happened to her.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Matt M

It could be. I’ve seen it work in not quite the same circumstances in that the pupils though from poor City centres, were not ‘criminals’ but they were being removed from their environment for a reason. The fact is you need to pick your staff too, for that is where the community gains its stability and purpose.

Mike Vince
Mike Vince
1 year ago

With an estimated 49% of its male inhabitants still too bone idle to work… There, fixed it for you.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Mike Vince

I would guess these males have no skills. How could they have acquired them? So just who do you envisage hiring them?

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Why do they have no skills? How does anyone acquire them? Kids learn math and reading in school and get entry-level jobs in their teens. As they grow, so does their education and skill level. It’s not rocket science.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Right, so school’s the important part. School comes before skills.
No, it’s not rocket science. It comes down to kids sticking with education and broadening their perspective on life, feeding their minds, letting them see outside their confined world, pointing out opportunities, realities. Then they can see that skills might help them move on a little more.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Then why do drug dealers trust them to do anything?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

Because they’ll break their legs if they do wrong.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
1 year ago

An interesting read but some of the analysis doesn’t hang together. For example, the allure of risk-taking and the blurring of the line between employment and illegal activity seem to be in contradiction. Where’s the adrenalin buzz from taking part in something akin to normal employment?
If the gang members are dealing drugs to get money because of high unemployment, then clearly the benefits system isn’t working. Indeed its only function seems to be to provide their customers with the money to buy drugs. Perhaps we need to revive Gordon Brown’s short-lived interest in workfare.
No mention of broken families and absent fathers. The fact that the dead girl had a double barrelled name is a bit of a clue.

Graham Strugnell
Graham Strugnell
1 year ago

There is too much of an agenda here: to blame the usual suspects – Thatcher, schools that exclude kids etc,- and no effort to ask more difficult questions: how many of these kids lack fathers or have criminal ones? How are the parents failing their young? Why is unemployment endemic? Because so many have flunked school and squandered their chances to be something more than jail bait. It is too easy to blame the government and not understand that decadence, absent parenting, and rap culture are key ingredients. As others have said, whoa out those on such estates who do commit crimes? My guess would be they have fathers and insist on the value of education.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

The answers are unpalatable but are there in the very communities described. Ask a family on those estates who have been burgled or vandalised etc or perhaps persecuted by gangs. They’ll give you answers, the problem is the people they give answers to will ignore them and over their wine at dinner will explain ‘they are Brexiteer Gammons’. we cannot expect a civilised answer.
😉

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago

“Social exclusion and cultural deprivation have created a vacuum in Merseyside”

ï»żWho is responsible for this alleged ‘exclusion’? Who has deprived these people of a ‘culture’?

Last edited 1 year ago by Arnold Grutt
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

No sarcasm intended, but who do you think it might be?

Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

No-one.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

Then what? Or are you saying it has not been excluded? That it is there for them to take up.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Arnold Grutt
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

The fact is that criminal gang culture is an inherited culture. It a kind of culture mostly found in southern Europe, on the shores of the Mediterranean. There are families (extended with the eldest son inheriting, which means younger sons become problematic through ranging abroad and causing rivalry). There is heraldry (the centrality of names, designations and clothing). There is the heavy culture of internal retribution and competition. There is the dislocation from ‘mainstreeam’ culture. There is the subordinate role of women. There are the turf disputes (territorialism). There are traitors and sneaks and ‘clipes’. There may also be religion.
These things are not the breakdown of a culture, but its perpetuation within a larger alien culture which was set up in contradistinction to gang culture several centuries ago, successfully for quite a while in the case of Britain.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

So you seem to be saying that gang behaviour is not British but introduced.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

How many of them have Labour MPs? Probably all. So what happened in the 3 Labour Governments since Thatcher that has improved the situation or not?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

The English off course, who else?
Having built the greatest Empire since Ancient Rome, spawned the most outstanding event in human history, (the Industrial Revolution), burnt the White House and saved the Elgin Marbles, who else could possibly have created (albeit inadvertently) Liverpool?
It’s always England’s fault, just ask the Scotch, Irish and Welsh.

Last edited 1 year ago by CHARLES STANHOPE
Claire D
Claire D
1 year ago

The trouble is the longer we leave places like this the more difficult it becomes to sort out. The problem gets more entrenched and strong with each generation. This means the forces of law and order must be even stronger, which they don’t seem to be.

My solutions would be:
Where do you start ?

Come down hard on drugs and drug dealing, also the gun running that must be part of that. Zero tolerance.

More police, armed if necessary, with knowledge and understanding of the area and the people thay are dealing with.

Better mental health and drug addiction services for the parents.

Youth centres, boxing and martial arts centers and mentors.

It would be interesting to hear from an experienced police officer who has integrity what he thinks is necessary, ideally.

Ben J
Ben J
1 year ago
Reply to  Claire D

I was a police officer. From my point of view, both sides in this debate are partly correct. The problem is we have the soft left blob on one side and cost-cutting hangers and floggers on the other. The answer, of course, lies somewhere in the middle. The problem I saw was a liberally-minded establishment (who dominate social policy, prisons, education and now the police) who want to do the right thing but are constricted by ideology and groupthink. It’s all potential carrot but no stick. You need to give people a chance, and hope, but you also need to draw a line somewhere. If people choose a life of crime they must accept consequences, and for criminals the only consequences that trouble them is (a) prison time and (b) asset confiscation. This is seen as antediluvian and reactionary by the Blob (honestly, spend an hour or two with a probation officer and you’ll see why reoffending rates are so high). Solving these problems requires cross-political acceptance and will, not to mention a plan that involves putting five-year electoral cycles to one side. I see no obvious chance of either happening, so nine year old kids will continue to be shot, and criminals out on licence who shouldn’t be will continue to plague communities with their feuding and selfishness.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben J

It seems to me that there are two aspects to the problem. There’s the law and order and there’s the social aspect. Naturally they overlap in the middle. So there needs to be two policies. One responds to crime with the courts: which is basically the steady removal of the criminal population, The other is the investment of education and incentives to take part. Dysfunctional families are a complicated problem but over time, with steady, directed programs it might be possible to slowly change the proportion of crime to population ratio. Of course it takes common sense and commitment to do something like this. And as much as I admire the parents who struggle against their environment and know what’s needed, they can’t do this on their own,

Ben J
Ben J
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Yes, there is definitely a crossover. The thing many educated, middle-class but ultimately cosseted people find very difficult to accept is the uncomfortable fact that there is a ‘undeserving poor’, an underclass who are adept at using victim status as a tactic. They make up a very small percentage of people who are struggling, but cause a disproportionate amount of trouble. They’re part of the reason teachers can’t teach (when the kids turn up to school they cause havoc) and why you never see the police (the police, who are now social care auxiliaries, spend most of their time dealing with them). It’s just verboten to acknowledge their existence. Instead, middle-class liberals venerate them with TV shows like Shameless and Brassic.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Perhaps sterilisation of a convicted criminal would be a start? Darwinian I know, but hey who believes in a divine law now? Let’s help evolution out a bit.
OK, that’s a bit cynical, but have you ever seen or experienced being a victim of these people? Speke is where I was born, and Cantril Farm (aka Cannibal Farm in my day, and that about 50 years ago) seems to not to have improved despite 3 consecutive Labour Governments. IF you don’t believe in the divine, then get with reality, Nature. Red in tooth and claw, the bigger the tooth and the redder the claw, is that what decides success?

nigel taylor
nigel taylor
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

Not at all cynical. A utilitarian approach to restrict the underclass breeding is the only way to break the cycle.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

Define success.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

If the estate was rapidly declining “at the hands of Thatcherism”, over forty years ago, what’s the author still doing there? As an “academic”, I assume he earns a paycheck.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

He likes the street cred of being down wid da kids.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Jung promoted the idea of archetypes as a basis for individual personality. I suspect there are archetypes for social groups – and gang culture is one of them. People fall into the patterns available to them, as suggested in the article. People could fall into other patterns as suggested in the comments… but the key issue is not ‘tackling crime’ but replacing the allure of the locally dominant archetype. This is not easy.
I wonder if one way of tackling crime and gang culture would be to force criminals after conviction to relocate to other areas. This is quite totalitarian and expensive as a policy (and unlikely to come about) but how else do you expose novice criminals/gang members to the other archetypes for social groups? We’ve tried putting ‘them’ together in nice new estates and that failed. Perhaps dispersal would work?

Last edited 1 year ago by AC Harper
Eric Sheldon
Eric Sheldon
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I’ve heard it suggested that subsidised housing should no longer be collected in ‘estates’ but scattered at low density throughout ‘safe’ neighbourhoods. I think it’s a good idea, and it’s been proved to work for individual households, but I doubt that the middle class would stand for it.

Laura Creighton
Laura Creighton
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Forcing the relocation of 50% of the non-Swedish and Nordic population in our most ‘troubled areas’ is being discussed by the Social Democrats (gasp!) right now. Apparently the Danes already have something like that, and it seems to have worked, but I don’t know the details, and it is hard to know what to believe when a politician is yapping 2 weeks before an election.

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Alton,Chipping Norton,Harrogate. Great idea. Give them a house. Money to live on. How silly to think that working hard and saving for 40 years should be rewarded by being able to live in a nice place. Wouldn’t be so nice once they’d settled in.

Duane M
Duane M
1 year ago

Excellent essay. Gangs are what happens when normal social structures collapse. People are social by nature, so we self-organize into groups if there is no existing (and functional) social order that we are inducted into. And that basic social group is a gang. It protects its members with the reciprocal requirement that they are intensely loyal to the gang. What Professor Hesketh describes here can be seen in any number of other countries with only minor adjustments for language and style. See, for example, Honduras. And read Jared Diamond’s book, “Collapse”.

4tonysharp@lineone.net 4tonysharp@lineone.net

I blame the third rate education system in places like this. That the mechanism of social improvement through meritocracy has been abolished by all the Establishment parties. What is my experience? Well, I was born and brought up a mile from Cantrill Farm in another Knowsley estate and this was also a mile and a little more to Dovecot where this murder happened.
Tell me why, over 55 years ago when I was there, that a short distance from Liverpool town centre, the home of the UK’s oldest classical orchestra, with international standard Art Galleries and Museums, a major civic library, a Red Brick university, with a huge architectural heritage both civic and cathedrals, with three repertory theatres and two major ‘opera’ sized theatres that the schools make no attempt to organise any visits outside of their railed off sites?
On leaving the school at 15 with no qualifications but starting in a job in the town centre I discovered these wonders for myself and imbibed them all and educated myself. But if one goes from a local dead end school like mine straight to unemployment you would know nothing of these.
I remember 20 years ago visiting my mother and in the infamous Kirkby area . I decided I would take her for a treat lunch in Liverpool town centre. I got a mini-cab, driven by a middle aged local man and gave him the explicit address, located in a main throughfare – he said he did not know it as it was in Liverpool. Kirkby is just 9 miles from there and is connected by a Metro system directly.
These people lead even worse qualities of life of zero knowledge than my pre-war parents did.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

My wife taught in Kirby in the 70’s . I regularly went on weekend school trips with them to the lakes. I played football there too Saturday and Sunday, although I worked & lived in Lancashire not far from Skem. No doubt like Cantril Farm, many of the people I met were ‘the salt of the earth’. They often had the role of the salt, to keep the putrefaction at bay. Even then, however, the authorities were not always supportive. So when the ‘salt of the earth’ finds that there is no backup when they need it, and the ‘gangsters’ seem free to exact whatever revenge they want when they want, then the salt of the earth often learn, as many a bright child did in the sink comps I taught in did, to keep a low profile and survive. Yes the thugs make life-style choices, but if there are rewards but no penalties, then the choice is easier and more tempting, and the likes of us commenting on here is no more than smug self congratulation that “We are not like them.”

Zoe George
Zoe George
1 year ago

And we spend billions on Ukraine to fight a proxy war for the USA. We are dumb!

Douglas McNeish
Douglas McNeish
1 year ago

Work is the answer. It promotes direction, self-discipline, and empathy for others who work. Those who don’t pursue employment and look to taxpayers to provide for them, or who turn to illegality, will of course experience “social exclusion,” along with all the negative attributes of the life the writer describes.

Ian Carter
Ian Carter
1 year ago

As someone who has lived and worked in many areas of Liverpool, both good and bad and has had many acquaintances, family and friends who sit in the crosshairs of this article. The solution to removing the desire to partake in any criminal activity related to vices is much less complex than people would have us believe.

We need to De-profitise it. We need to realise that whilst Dr Hesketh talks about the thrill of it all being a driver to join gangs, the underlying need is all about money and power.

The cost to the country of the ever war against drugs in particular is truly eye watering. By this I mean the astronomic cost to policing, health, customs, judicial areas to the government. Mind blowing costs added to insurance to both businesses and households as a result of burglary and shop lifting to pay for drugs. The human cost of promising young lives lost to jail propping up a trade in what is the ultimate oxymoron: “controlled substances” when the one thing they aren’t is “controlled”. The end user never knows what will be in their advertised bag of “lemo” but they just hope it’s cocaine and not Jif, which can all to often result in untimely death to the unwary.

The action we need is for the government and police to realise there is no war on drugs any more, just an ignominious Dunkirk like retreat that the good church going swing voting minority don’t want to believe is happening. We need as country to realise drugs exist and people like them. In fact the recent clamp down on age restrictions on the purchase of alcohol in bars has only driven under eighteens straight to drug culture because it’s cheaper and easier to get your high.

De-profitising drugs means the government buying or creating every drug out there and selling actually controlled versions of them cheaper than the gangs even if it is at a loss. It might cost a fortune but it is cheaper than the cost of not doing it.

You know they could even employ the current crop of narcotic retailers

De criminalise the vices and sell them cheap, because gangs only exist to make money out of vices. The only thing left for them would be protection.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Carter

“De-profitising drugs means the government buying or creating every drug out there and selling actually controlled versions of them”
An old idea and nice in theory but not really a solution. The government, that can’t manage health, education, or even energy, becomes a drug dealer. How do they dispense it, how much a day can you buy, can the government cut you off, will there be additional taxes added to the price over the years, like: to help subsidise health budgets, will their be a Minister of Drugs? Will he be responsible for overdoses, or suicides? Will drugs be sold on to those who have been put on a controlled dosage program?

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Giles Toman
Giles Toman
1 year ago

Nobody in Britain “has to” deal drugs and stab people to “survive”. This might be true in Haiti or Brazil, but not here.
This is an insult to all of those people who are dealt the same basic hand, but manage to live and do a normal, “boring” job and lead a decent life which doesn’t end up with a primary school girl being shot in the “crossfire”.

Giles Toman
Giles Toman
1 year ago

Most of the gang violence comes from competition over selling drugs.
Perhaps if adults could legally buy their recreational bits and bobs in Superdrug etc, there wouldn’t be all this money to be made in illegal dealing? Just sayin….
I mean, you don’t get rival off-licence owners stabbing each other over control of the local booze trade!

Ed Cameron
Ed Cameron
1 year ago

I’m content with the content of Unherd.
It’s the comments that have me considering whether to continue my subscription.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

So, your thoughts on the article?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

You don’t have to read the comments, so why ‘torture’ your good self?

Mike Dearing
Mike Dearing
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

Seconded, but as the content is invariably worth reading I’m going to stick around.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

LOL
I’m always fascinated by some very well off areas I travel around. Not that I can say the residents are all ‘liberals’, nor what all their view are, but I’ve seen banners supporting the BLM. I wonder if that includes say, Seatle. There the ‘free state’ shot black youths, killed one. Curiously that didn’t seem to start a BLM riot against the BLM. Now they are full of Ukrainian flags. I wonder IF asked, are they in favour of all the sophisticated weapons we sent to the Ukrainians to help incinerate Russian conscripts inside their armoured vehicles?

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Ledodger
Lucy Browne
Lucy Browne
1 year ago
Reply to  Ed Cameron

I totally agree! Most of the articles are interesting and thought provoking. Then I come to the comments section and I’m surrounded by people ‘somewhere to the right of Attila the Hun’, as the saying goes. I worry that I’ve inadvertently subscribed to the Daily Fail or the Torygraph.

G. Ian Goodson
G. Ian Goodson
1 year ago

I was reading books on gang culture fifty something years ago. Studies in Liverpool and Glasgow. Both port cities, both blighted by religious antagonisms they couldn’t begin to explain. The gangs cross generations. Children are recruited, trained/groomed, promoted, become leaders and gradually leave, for the most part, when they are older, imprisoned, dead – or become rich and control the gangs and the police from pleasant places.It’s not politics, it’s culture. Every major city in the world has this dark underbelly. The ‘Pool won’t tell the bizzies and the children won’t get justice. The only thing that works is the gospel. Everything else is all mouth and trousers.

Last edited 1 year ago by G. Ian Goodson
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  G. Ian Goodson

“The only thing that works is the gospel.”
Could you explain this?

Michael Furse
Michael Furse
1 year ago

I lived in Liverpool between 1988 and 1997 and much enjoyed my time there. But the gangs were family based in those days, from memory one being Afro-Caribbean in origin and the other two or three being that particular blend of Irish -North Welsh which gives Liverpool some of its best and worst characteristics.
Make no mistake – this was organised crime with the satellite money-laundering (skip hire etc.) activities that you would expect in any port city, be it Marseilles, New York or Naples. But I was also reliably informed that at least 40% of senior police offices were on the payroll. I wonder how much that has changed over the intervening twenty-five years?

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

“This meant that values and beliefs were often bound around the dominant philosophy of street gangs and violence.”

Hmmm, values and beliefs. Go ahead and blame Thatcherism, but I put my money on the obliteration of Christian values and beliefs. When the values and beliefs of humans prevail, what is the expected outcome, given all the evidence we have in recorded history of such? Next stop, unfortunately, is totalitarianism before the next revival.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
1 year ago

“And without any real prospect of securing a legitimate job, these people were being forced to find alternative means of financial survival through gangs and drug crime — to the extent that the boundaries between legitimate employment and criminality had become entirely clouded.“

No, not “forced”. The idea that depravity is the only response helps to enable the problem.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Quite right, they are not forced. As the author himself acknowledges, young men choose to join gangs for the excitement, camaraderie and sense of belonging – and (we’re told) for the erotic thrill of it all.

Fred Paul
Fred Paul
1 year ago

I came from a not-so-good neighbourhood in Toronto, Canada. I knew gangs, and they knew me. I respected them yet managed to stay out. What guided me was the family structure I lived in before my father’s death when I was eleven. But, the neighbourhood I lived in was mixed. There were families employed and those that seemed burned out. I know that the kids from burnt families would most likely join gangs for a surrogate. They felt they belonged. They were told what to do. These actions generated favourable results. And much like sports, they were on a team, and the idea was to beat the opponent. Be it the other gang or the police, or the establishment. The fear and anxiety before the game, the thrill of a goal, and finally, winning the game is the same as committing a crime.
The difference? The gang is there rubbing shoulders to shoulders. The cost is nothing. The society that can make a difference is not; being there costs great effort and money. 
To be there, there has to be a breach of the law in favour of the child and redirect funds.

  1. Security is first in hand—protection from the cruelty of the father or mother and siblings. Too often, brutality starts at home. First, a warning and the second offence are fined—the third offence results in prison terms. In the fourth offence, the child is removed from the guardian. Of course, we now need a safe and nurturing place with PROPER oversite. This costs money.
  2. Often, insecurity is from gangs. A child must be protected from gangs. And sometimes, the rule of law must be broken to protect the child.  
  3. Security from brutish authority. The regular police force have limited patience. However, turning your back is not an option when they cross the line. The police in these places must be specially trained, motivated and “self-policing”. Any organization with authority is run by individuals who may use this opportunity to commit a crime. Oversite is imperative. This again needs organization and money.
  4. A purpose. What is the point of all this? The school system can provide a purpose. The after-school social activities can give purpose. The nurturing support system mentioned above can provide a purpose. Again, it takes organization and money.
  5. A reward system. From the start, reward good deeds. This was evident when I gave up my seat to a woman or older adult on a street car and was rewarded with a smile from all. Recognition can be a reward. It is social in nature. Everyone participates in it. 
  6. Cleaning the street on Saturdays is rewarded with recognition and money. Keeping the commune area clean is rewarded likewise. Shopping for the elderly is rewarded with smiles and money.
  7. Social interaction…. love. You feel the love coming to you. You give love and feel its reward. Society must provide opportunities to show this love. From school settings, to spiritual, to sports and social interaction. Preventing a teacher from hugging a student when appropriate is detrimental to the child’s development. Poorly executed oversite in the past created that problem. The fix, to outlaw touching, was a cheap way out and, in truth, creates more problems. Shortcuts should be avoided. Creative ways to encourage emotional support are essential in a child’s development and, of course, require organization and money.
  8. The last is the most important. Over time, the child will identify a person with whom they can attach emotionally for support, love and guidance. I call it the grandparent effect. We, who have a rewarding life, have all experienced this. This experience must be supported by society in whatever way possible. Let the child point to this individual. Then help the individual in whatever means necessary to develop this special relationship. Again, organization and money are needed.

We all do the talk, but none of us do the walk. Our present society, and reward system, are not designed to offer the tools necessary to accomplish what is needed. Often, the ugly head of greed pops up and stifles any attempts with the disguise that the lefties are bleeding hearts. The lefties are no better. We reap what we sow.

Last edited 1 year ago by Fred Paul
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred Paul

“To be there, there has to be a breach of the law in favour of the child and redirect funds.”
A very interesting point. Which suggests it is the laws and those that write them and enact them, that are virtually feeding the problem. But this is not news either. I think, essentially you’re right: we do the talk but not the walk. And I don’t see that changing. If anything it’s becoming more prevalent.
In a way gangs are the future. Not just in dysfunctional neighbourhoods, but across the social spectrum. BLM is a gang. The left itself is a gang. The trans movement is a gang. MAGA is a gang. The world is a dysfunctional neighbourhood.
Maybe we’re all gangsters. It just depends which gang you’re in,

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Betsy Arehart
Betsy Arehart
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

‘In a way gangs are the future” You could replace the word “gang” with “tribe.” As we lose whatever cohesion western civilization provided, we will descend into tribalism, which is the original human nature.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Betsy Arehart

Yes, that’s interesting about tribes. Tribalism:not necessarily the origins of human nature, because human nature must have come before tribalism, I think. So human nature gravitated towards tribalism. And we may be again. Why? Because we refused the global village idea, we didn’t want it and it didn’t work. So we pull back to tribalism.
There’s only so many people you can trust, only so many faces you can remember, only so much that can be shared and understood.
Tribes/gangs offer protection and understanding.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Some of these comments are truly frightening,

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Which ones? The ones that think we should be nice to the gangs or the ones that think we maybe should treat them as we want Russian Conscripts treated in their armoured vehicles?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

Did someone suggest being nice to the gangs?

jane baker
jane baker
1 year ago

Well that is a very insightful piece. It is also a LOT of long and voluble words to avoid using one good,short word STUPID. Most of the behaviour he describes here is STUPID but we are not allowed to say that because its dissing someone else’s culture. Yes,I did say “someone elses”. Make something of it if you will. But this writer who lives there and knows these people,he is right. A lot of crime is exciting. No,I haven’t done crime,unless my having been born was a crime which to a lot of people it seems to be,social exclusion I know all about that.And I’m not talking about a euphemism for being in prison as I’ve learned some people use it as.
Actually Transgression is exciting,in all its forms. People think only the boys are bad,if the girls were in charge the boys would all keep in line. But girls gave up the moral policeman role in the 1960s under the influence of fake feminists like that dreadful old trollop w***e Germaine Greer(who was pro peadophilia). Sue me GG. No,die.
That great Bonnie Tyler performed song “Holding out for a hero” yes it tells of the erotic attraction of a successful fighter.
Girls have egos too. Money and gifts and status work. Or is that just me,lol!
I’d better stop my rant now even though there are at least a dozen more points to make. I expect other people have dealt with those anyway. Not to have any interest in the world beyond your immediate neighbourhood. STUPID.

Last edited 1 year ago by jane baker
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  jane baker

Extraordinary response. As I said: truly frightening.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

A Scousers’s Oxford scolarship lad returns home to Aintree, the weekend of The Grand National racing festival .

His dad peers over ” The Racing Post” and asks his cerebral lad:
” Right son, What’s your fancy at The National”?
After some thought, the lad replies…
” Sir Peter Hall’s new production of Troilus and Cressida”…..

Adam McDermont
Adam McDermont
1 year ago

Why are these people poor? This seems a good question to ask. Why can’t more of these people do what others on the estate did and get a Saturday job. If both young men and young women confess to the rush the gang life offers then it is difficult to feel pity for such types.

What I find sad is that these people aspire to be bedecked in the latest globalist tracksuit. Even within the non-conformity organised criminality denotes, adherence to globalist designs are in evidence. Sad.

https://theheritagesite.substack.com

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
1 year ago

I am intrigued to note that the author, as a 12 year old child (when he presumably had no choice in the matter), moved to this sh-thole of an estate and now 46 years later, while employed as an academic at the “John Moores University School of Social Justice”, and well-able to afford an alternative life-style, chooses to stay on to observe the low-lifes who live there because of lack of choice. (I presume that the author has no children; who would want to subject their own children to such living conditions?) I guess then that the benefit of being his university’s resident expert on the criminal lower classes more than makes up for the disadvantages of living on “The Cantril”.

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

Try this from Chorley – and then cease to wonder why Cantril Farm is so bad.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-62722082

Last edited 1 year ago by Roger Ledodger
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Roger Ledodger

I watched that and read the story. The police response is all pr. I don’t know how they live with themselves, or why they’re there at all, actually.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

If, by chance, I hit upon a solution to this problem, one that ticked all the boxes, would someone still find fault with it? Is everyone responding with their own personal animus and seeking something through their objection or support that has nothing to do with the problem? An objection to youth, to foreigners, to the poor, to charity, to work, to Labour, to the Conservatives, to mothers,to fathers, to children, to education, to socialism, to capitalism. Is yours in there somewhere?
How many of you actually need the background noise of these environments?

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Tilston Dangleberries
Tilston Dangleberries
1 year ago

The responses on here are utter comedy gold. Although as appreciation of irony is inevitably inconsistent with reflexive right wing bullshit, it’ll be lost on you lot.

The article explains how insularity promotes gang culture. 95% of the responses demonstrate the sort of mental insularity which makes the average Cantril Farm gang-banger look like Haldane. What is it that makes ou all so uncomfortable when anyone actually invites you to think about anything ? It is I find a defining feature of every right winger I’ve ever had the pleasure of having met.

The comedy is only enhanced by the relentless resort to get tough solutions (keenly promoted as ever with the sort of bloodlust which can only come from never experiencing any personal risk yourself) which have not only proven to be ineffective time and time again, but which are completely unrealistic because the neoliberal assault on the state you lot consistently support has so damaged the policing and criminal justice systems that they no longer have the capacity for a get tough response, or any other sort of response for that matter.

Rather than wasting his time trying to explain how the real world works to the troglodytes commenting here, Dr Hesketh should use you lot as the subject of his next sociological study. I suspect his conclusions would be quite similar to Hannah Arendt’s study of the mass psychology of the pre-war German population.

R Wright
R Wright
1 year ago

Are you autistic?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  R Wright

Even if he was autistic he may still be right.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

Liverpool.. The Naples of Britain, but without the style, history and culture… and, frankly, who cares?

CHARLES STANHOPE
CHARLES STANHOPE
1 year ago

Well the ‘Toilet Tories’ don’t, nor do they for the fabled ‘Red Wall’ either it seems.
Consummatum est!

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

The very politics of Socialist Liverpool is rotten to the core. Maybe that is why Cantril Farm hasn’t been cleaned up?

Roger Ledodger
Roger Ledodger
1 year ago

Cantril Farm for all its reputation, (Cannibal Farm some 50 years or so ago) is not Sodom or Gomorah. I am willing to bet you could find plenty of good families in the place, but it is only when one of the lowlife murders a child the MSM or even Unherd are interested. The normal families have problems, the gangs,crooks and vagabonds! Ironically it is they who are probably most ‘let down’ by politicians etc, The 51% employed men have to leave their homes and families to work. The Gangs can roam freely (Ever tried to find a policeman on the beat? Try Westminster, saw loads of them there, they even carried automatic weapons! Not in Cantril Farm, the gangs probably carry the weapons there.) So you aren’t going to risk your home and families wellbeing in those circumstances. We need more of Orwell’s Rough Men patrolling the streets of Cantril Farm night and day and the ‘rewards’ of being in a gang being replaced by the ‘consequences’.