rights of passage

November 1, 2006

Another ingenious scheme from Master Cameron. The Tory leader is apparently troubled by the idea that  “you can get married at 16, but you can’t drive until you’re 17. You can buy a gun when you’re 17 but you can’t buy fireworks until you’re 18.” So he comes up with his brainwave:every teenager should be able to earn “early adult status” by completing approved courses in grown-up behaviour which would entitle them to drink in pubs, get married, buy firearms and cigarettes, and place bets earlier than their less responsible contemporaries. These things should be decided not  by age but by level of responsibility. I suppose there would be an exam at the end of it rather like the test of Britishness thing. You’d probably find a few bright five-year olds picking up the certificate and mooching down to the pub at night. On the other hand, if certain individuals found the rights of passage delayed their transition to adulthood for a few decades, I would not object.Addressing the Young Adult Trust (YAT), an independent charity that is launching a series of two-week residential courses for school leavers, Mr Cameron said such programmes should be seen as a “stamp of adulthood.” The courses would allow young people from different backgrounds and parts of the country to engage together and constructively in society. This would help prevent those in different ethnic and religious communities living “separate lives” in many towns and cities.’ Hmm. Two weeks to turn a pimply teenager into a responsible adult and get yobs young people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds to engage together etc. ? Two whole weeks for that? Wouldn’t a couple of hours ‘dunking in water’ do just as well? Anyway, isn’t it like locking the stable door after the horse has bolted or counting your chickens after they’ve come home to roost or something? Shouldn’t there be a test for people to make sure they are reponsible enough to bear children in the first place or is spawning offspring willy-willy an inalienable human right? And while we are on tests and responsibility, how about a two week course for aspiring politicians leading to a certificate of incorruptibility, truthfulness etc.? The trouble is, this could be the top of a slippery slope to nowhere with courses for people to give them sufficient reponsibility to exercise their democratic right to vote and so on. Terrible thought. I would like to suggest setting up a new trust, the Teenagers-Welcome to Adulthood Trust (TWAT) which would only accept offspring of properly certified parents and would subject them to a rigorous two year programme including spells of mobile phone and Frozen Monkeys deprivation as well as lone survival in the Amazon rain forest. And the first recruit would be the youngster who told Mr Cameron “You do not know your arse from your elbow, you bastard.” Possibly lacking a little maturity but I’m sure his heart is in the right place.

One Response to “rights of passage”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    The trouble is that youngsters have no need to “earn” adult status: for a good few years they have simply been going out and taking it. The “underage” pregnancy and “underage” drinking statistics are adequate proof of this. If anyone looked, I expect they would find a similar picture with “underage” smoking and “underage” betting.

    It was recently revealed that while a child may not legally buy alcohol in a pub or off-licence, there is nothing to prevent him phoning the local take-away pizza outlet and ordering alcoholic beverages along with a pizza.

    I don’t see any reason why teenagers would sign up for a course that only gets them what they already have and without all the nonsense of behaving like adults.

    Plenty of adults don’t behave like adults so how can we except kids to do so?


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