Boris On Youth Violence: If It Works For Eton It’ll Work For Edmonton

By Londonist Last edited 119 months ago
Boris On Youth Violence: If It Works For Eton It’ll Work For Edmonton

We can only assume that Boris Johnson, the man charged with finding a solution to London’s spate of tragic youth violence, has been delving into his own past for inspiration. As such, on his 16th birthday, every boy in London will receive a Michelin restaurant guide, a case of Bollinger and a plant pot full of £50 notes.

Well, that’s not true, but a suggestion put forward by our new Mayor yesterday, in the wake of yet another murder in the capital, does hark back to his own youth.

I think there's a huge amount we can do in London by promoting the learning of languages including Latin. I would like to see not only that but I would like to see ancient Greek.

Boris Johnson, who studied classics at Oxford, thinks teachers are having a hard time convincing pupils of the relevance of mathematics, so frankly we wish them luck with dead languages. “Christopher, put the blade away, you never know when you’ll be asked to decline the ablative plural of a group 2 noun”. We think not.

Mr Johnson sees violence as the manifestation of a number of social ills, including the absence of fathers, lack of strong adult role models, and the insufficient provision of physical pursuits. In this vein, he also announced yesterday his approval of London’s many boxing academies.

They take kids off the streets and they not only teach them to enjoy the pleasure of belting seven bells out of each other but they give them an opportunity to get qualifications and an education.

It was clear to many during the electoral campaign that Boris could be relied upon to propose unorthodox solutions to the problems our city faces, and it seems that he is remaining true to form. At Londonist we’re keeping our fingers crossed and practising those left-handed body jabs just in case.

By Andy Fell

Image taken from Wordyeti’s Flickrstream under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

Last Updated 05 June 2008


Londonist's typically patronising inverted snobbery in evidence as usual. How dull.

You don't have to be an Old Etonian to understand that competitive sport often acts as a safety valve in society, dissipating the tendency in adult males to want to punch each other's lights out. Look at the aggression vented in the stands of most of our stadia on Saturday afternoons - far better that such exuberance is being channelled into shouting at overpaid athletes kicking a ball around than being unleashed on our high streets, perhaps in front of our wives or servants.

And why shouldnt kids in Edmonton study a bit of Catullus? I did, and I haven't knifed anyone for ages.

Andy Fell

Can you point out where I have disapproved of Boris's advocation of boxing academies?

And ditto: where did I say that learning Latin was a bad idea? It didn't do me any harm either! I am, however, sceptical about how easy it would be to implement, which I made clear in the above piece.

I'm not being deliberately contrary, but reading my article in a manner uncoloured by preconceptions regarding Londonist's output, exactly what is it you're disagreeing with?


Blah blah. You are being a tad disingenuous, Mr Fell. The entire tone of your little post is positively dripping with the condescension the liberal media displayed towards Boris in the run-up to his stunning conquest of the city.

But I'm glad to see you crossing your fingers that the mayor's idea will be a success.

Andy Fell

OK, I'll rise to the bait! I don't think even the real dePfeffel would call a 4% margin a stunning conquest. What's more, I think the media's correct to question the policies of a man who once seriously suggested building a road bridge across the channel.

But thank you for condescending to take an interest in my "little post".


I don't know which other dePfeffel you're referring to, I'm sure. And do try to toughen up, old chap - I'm only teasing. It would be rather fun to have a few more writers on here with slightly thicker skins (and perhaps a sense of irony?). As it happens I think your little post was rather promising.

A road bridge to France is a fabulously Johnsonist idea - it's bloody stuffy in that tunnel. And frankly no I'm not sure the media should be questioning Boris. I'd rather they allowed him to rule by decree.


"I'd rather they allowed him to rule by decree."

And where would our little shivering sensitive website full of thin-skinned, hand-wringing left-leaning liberals be in that glorious bright, white London of your fondest dreams? Would Johnson allow us to continue our biased, condescending, dull, inverted snobbery?

Or would we be taken offline to be toughened up in the classroom with some hardcore conjugation of verbs and then into the football stands for some ,a href="">good clean exuberant fun?

Also - would we have to express our adoration for the beloved leader quite as ardently and frequently as you?

It is clear we must learn disingenuous behaviour from those who excel in it in order to survive that brave new Johnson world.


That's more like it, Hazel! Jolly good.
Sorry I promised myself I wouldn't keep trying to get the last word. (Oh dear, I seem to be doing it again). I think you'll find the
good clean exuberant fun you refer to was enjoyed by Scotsmen. There's no accounting for what they get up to, I'm afraid.


"I think you'll find the good clean exuberant fun you refer to was enjoyed by Scotsmen. There's no accounting for what they get up to"

Quite right. I should know - I live with two Scotchmen, and one in particular is among the most violent, aggressive and generally ill-tempered (not to mention sorely misguided) individuals I've ever met.