The English excel only in anti-social behaviour

Self-expression: Justin Carley, 12, threw dog excrement at a neighbour's van and raced his bike through a library

Early promise: Justin Carley, 12, hurled dog excreta at a neighbour’s van and raced his bicycle through a public library

Hooliganism is to Britain what fraud is to Nigeria

Anti-social behaviour, writes Dalrymple,

is what the British are now principally known (and despised) for, everywhere they go.

A large proportion of British people

do not socialise when they get together; they anti-socialise. They cannot enjoy themselves without making a nuisance of themselves, without screaming, drinking to excess and creating an atmosphere of menace. Our football crowds are notorious for the vileness of their behaviour, British holidaymakers en masse make everyone else seem refined by comparison and, on Saturday night, Britain is Gin Lane with machetes and mobile phones.

The State’s proposals to deal with the problem are,

as one would expect, weak and feeble. So many of the voters, particularly the young, are anti-social that it would be electoral suicide to be too hard upon, or even about, them.

An ‘action line’ to advise local agencies on what to do about anti-social behaviour

represents a new nadir in moral cowardice, or alternatively a new apogee of pusillanimity. On the other hand, it will provide an employment opportunity for otherwise surplus bureaucrats, which is the principal purpose of the government.

It would be nice if people were socialised into behaving with reasonable consideration for others, but

our culture of self-control and restraint has been so thoroughly destroyed by the social changes since the 1950s that there is no hope of appealing to people’s better nature: they have none.

Self-expression

is regarded ideologically as an unqualified good in itself, no matter what is being expressed, and the state has made it a financially viable, or even an advantageous, way to behave.

For instance, a disinclination to eat on the street is regarded as

a weird inhibition, an utterly alien and quite unnecessary custom, bizarre and even offensive to human rights. If one is hungry, why not eat there and then, when one feels so inclined? I’m hungry, therefore I eat; I want, therefore I have; I’m inclined, therefore I do: this is the modern Cartesianism. Our streets are filthy — the worst in Europe, if not most of the world — because people eat on them.

(2003)

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