THE VIEW FROM HERETwo stories in last week’s CP offer exciting possibilities for the Island. With a little lateral thinking, an unpleasant social problem could be solved while simultaneously bringing fresh jollity into people’s lives.
The first story concerns complaints from holidaymakers about groups of young people behaving badly, at Newport Bus Station and on the buses themselves.
Sally and Tom Matson, from Fareham, witnessed at Newport Bus Station "mainly young people hanging around, whose language and behaviour is shocking", while their bus journeys were blighted by "loud discussions, peppered with the most foul and offensive language."
What is to be done? Well, Southern Vectis’s general manager recommends anyone subjected to such behaviour should "advise the driver immediately and we can ask the police to take a formal complaint and the appropriate action."
Probably not frightfully effective in the long run, with bus services held up, the foul-mouthed toerags off into the night merrily effing and blinding and no real possibility our police, already snowed under with having to spend hours on end lying in wait for speeding motorists, will be able to do a great deal.
No, it’s another story which offers the potential for a solution. Town councillors have been considering a proposal for a party to be held at the East Cowes ferry terminal over the IW Festival weekend. Apparently the transport arrangements for festival visitors are just too efficient and East Cowes would like revellers to be held up in their town so they can use the shops.
Putting aside the rather jolly Giddings-tease by which the Island is dissatisfied with festival arrangements not only when they’re inefficient (the great traffic jam of 2012) but also when they work properly (visitors getting on and off the Island when they’re supposed to), this party idea has much wider implications than the East Cowes shops cleaning up on aspirins and Red Bull.
Let’s extend the scheme to all IW transport terminals and, most significantly, to Newport Bus Station.
Indeed, why stop there? Is there a bus stop on the Island where swearing and bad behaviour is not routine among young people?
Parties must be organised. These celebrations will obviously have to be geared to the ulterior motive in throwing them. In East Cowes, they must encourage people to spend money in town, so music such as Shopping by the Pet Shop Boys and Bruce Springsteen’s Queen of the Supermarket should be played on a continuous loop.
Probably best to avoid Shoplifters of the World Unite by The Smiths, however.
In fact, probably best to avoid The Smiths altogether. Morrissey isn’t a party type and heaven knows we don’t want people being miserable in the Co-Op.
Nor will the band’s album Meat is Murder do much for Waitrose’s butchery counter.
However, the parties at Newport Bus Station and bus stops should be run on far more temperate lines. These young people need discipline and pop music will only incite them to behave badly.
I think a tea dance is the thing. What could go wrong? After all, pensioners are very keen on buses and the government is always telling us how important it is for young people to connect with the elderly, not to mention the added incentive of the popularity of Strictly Come Dancing.
Quicksteps and waltzes at every bus stop and station, with a break for a nice plate of iced fancies if your journey is delayed. That should solve the problem.
I’m not sure, though, what sort of party they should have at Wightlink terminals. Our foremost ferry provider is having rather a hard time of it at the moment and it certainly wouldn’t be a good idea to have a party which would offer the opportunity to smash plates or throw bread rolls at Russell Kew, the company’s chief executive.
I think perhaps just a small plate of Twiglets and a game of Twister until things calm down. Mr Kew would like this, especially the Twister.
I’m sure he sometimes wishes his more demanding passengers would shove their heads up their backsides.
It’s a bad case of e-games
IW schools have one of the highest absence rates in the country, with most of these absences being recorded as "illness".
A pilot project run between the education welfare services, public health and a group of schools aims "to change the culture so children do not expect to stay away from school if they have a minor illness".
Apparently, GPs are also very positive and keen to be involved in the project, while a leaflet will give advice to parents on this topic of minor illness.
Before GPs start footling about, with further resources being wasted on a load of leaflets, it would surely be better to investigate whether these "minor illnesses" are not merely a cover for useless parents who can’t ensure their kids are at school while the kids themselves, supposedly with a sniffle, are actually lounging about playing online games and stuffing junk food down their necks.
Minor illness? Yeah, right.
Like the dog ate my homework, Miss.