No time to be mealy-mouthed

PUBLISHED: 12:33 12 October 2007 | UPDATED: 23:06 28 May 2010

A COUPLE of significant comments in the past few days cause me to hope that we might be heading towards a new era of common sense. I do believe I have seen a small chink of light at the end of a long and tortuous tunnel, suggesting that people with clout

A COUPLE of significant comments in the past few days cause me to hope that we might be heading towards a new era of common sense.

I do believe I have seen a small chink of light at the end of a long and tortuous tunnel, suggesting that people with clout are beginning to kick out against the mealy-mouthed nature of our society.

The first utterance that struck me came from a judge who did what most people in authority seem to back away from - he blamed the families for the actions of two young thugs.

The thugs were Lewis Barlow and Leon Gray who, at the age of 14, attacked a partially sighted man in Sheffield and kicked him to death.

After sentencing them both to be detained "during Her Majesty's pleasure", Judge Alan Goldsack drew gasps of disbelief from the public gallery when he said the way they were brought up was the reason they had become murderers.

He said they came from "dysfunctional families" which could be to blame for the unprovoked attack.

And he told the two boys there was no explanation for what they did but "it appears to lie in your family backgrounds and the culture in which you've grown up".

Sadly the general view seems to be that the judge was brave to say what he did.

But clearly it needed saying, and if only his stance - brave or otherwise - was adopted by authority in general we might end up with parents taking responsibility for their offspring, and their offspring's actions.

That would g a long way towards solving many of today's problems.

Then there was the rector of Imperial College, London, who called for students to be charged higher interest rates on their loans so they would think twice about "Mickey Mouse" courses.

Sir Richard Sykes is worried about the growth of degree course in such disciplines as surfing and golf management and said repayment of loans stretching into middle age would make students "think twice before they go off and do damn silly courses that are no good to them and won't get them a job".

Is he too helping lead a charge towards common sense?

I guess I'm reading far too much into both isolated incidents; but in my defence I would plead that there are times when wearing rose coloured glasses can make us all feel a bit more content.

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