You know I really do like living in Hartlepool. I may moan about it a lot but compared to a lot of places it really is pretty good. Of course it has its problems, the main one being a high unemployment rate, but when you compare the headlines from the local paper with those found elsewhere in the country you can see that we really dont have it too bad at all.
Of course we have our share of crime and violence but the North East seems to have an unjustified reputation as the violence capital of the country. Has anyone criticizing the region and in particular Hartlepool lived in a town or city elsewhere I have I lived in Manchester for a while when I was younger and the crime rate there was much, much higher than here (and it was considered that I lived in a safe part of the city). To experience some really exciting and dangerous times try living for a while in Hull, London, Gaza, Beirut, Baghdad, Kabul or worst of all, Liverpool.
We discussed all this in the Pint and Fight one evening during the week. I sipped my J2O and lemonade whilst all around me were drinking merrily (Im still not ready to drink alcohol after my bout of food poisoning). As the evening wore on our light-hearted discussion became decidedly dark and we came to the conclusion that if we were left in charge of the police forces in the UK we could take the streets back for decent folks and cut violent crime by 90% or even more with a few radical (but sometimes not ethical) changes to the law particularly designed to control what we considered to be the two biggest contributors to our violent society, drugs and children(!). Heres what we came up with:
Curfew all children (we decided under 16s but some in the bar wanted this as high as 21!) after dark unless they have a signed letter from their parents stating that they know where they are and listing their exact whereabouts. Parents not complying should be punished by having their cheap, illegally bought, Belgian cigarettes taken away and crushed (Is there a worse punishment for these people Perhaps we should burn their shell suits as well!).
Everybody is responsible for their own actions not their upbringing, the amount of drugs or alcohol in their system, the fact that they havent got a job or a hundred other things that bleeding heart defence lawyers argue – but each individual is responsible for what they do. Parents share culpability with their offspring.
Raise the age limit for drinking to 21, as it is in a lot of the USA and ban any bar that you have to stand up in or that has loud music from any era after the seventies (Cant you just tell these ideas come from a load of old duffers)
Ban Alcopops and any alcohol that doesnt taste like its foul the first time you try it (remember how much you didnt enjoy your first taste of whisky).
Legalise all hard drugs and give them away free to all who want them. A nasty one this it caused heated debate but eventually it was decided that this would have a twofold impact: Firstly, it would drop the robbery and mugging rate to a very low figure as most of these crimes seem to be committed to get money for drugs; Secondly, if given away free, the number of fools who wanted to abuse these drugs would, over several generations peter out to zero as natural selection weeded out those who wanted to take them. As I said nasty.
Pub Drunk also proposed a law that would lower the price of Stella Artois from reassuringly expensive to astoundingly affordable but we shouted him down as this would mean an upgrade for the product from predictably wife-beating to astonishingly violent (for those not familiar with the product, it is colloquially known by some as wife beater.
We also voted to install Landlord Hugh as a Judge as he can generally spot idiots in the pub before theyve even opened their mouths and, as he appears to have only a tiny shred of conscience left (something he assures us has happened due to years spent behind the handpumps), he can think of some really inventive and no doubt vindictive, punishments.
After this highly enjoyable evening spent putting the world to rights and striking a blow for decent folks, generally flexing our testosterone and asserting our manliness we all started drifting off home at seven like the law abiding citizens that we are. Were we leaving as we feared that mad gangs of children and drug addicts all come out to play at 7 o clock and were lying in wait for us No we actually went home as we were indeed experiencing a state of terror but not of kids or druggies – but what the missus would do to us if we were late in. Ho hum back on with the apron and the rubber gloves cup of tea dearest
Newly elected Judge Hugh has a great idea about how he would deal with shoplifters he would change the law and install new signs in shops to remind people of the consequences:
Warning to shoplifters: Anyone caught shoplifting will be beaten, gagged, whipped and tortured. Any survivors will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.