Inverness protests against the fashion police
Saturday young people in Inverness will be gathering to take part in a protest
at plans by retailers in the Eastgate shopping centre to ban people from wearing
"hoodies" and baseball caps.
The protest, called by Scottish Socialist Youth, stems from anger
and concern about news that shops in the Eastgate centre will be the first in
Scotland to adopt Tony Blair's "Hats Off" policy espoused by Northern
SSY Spokesperson, Simon Cann was quoted as saying "I think it is
outrageous that young people in general are being targeted for the criminal
actions of the few. The fact that shop owners can use discretion to target only
'likely' criminals means that only young people will be asked to remove their
hats, and this is unacceptable."
"It is ironic that many of the Eastgate stores are quite happy to
sell the offending articles, whilst banning them from being worn. This is simply
adding to the creeping erosion of our civil rights."
The SSY, the youth wing of the Scottish Socialist Party are
urging people of all ages to assemble at 2pm outside the centre's Marks and
Spencers High Street Entrance, preferably in hats or hooded tops. Organisers are
planning to lead a non-violent demonstration of civil liberty in order to
express the animosity felt by many in Inverness.
Scottish Socialist Party Convener, Colin Fox described the
measures as an attack on young people "It is time that young people were treated
with respect instead of being criminalised. The SSP and the SSY have no time for
loutish, threatening or anti-social behaviour, but the real solutions to these
problems lie in offering a real future to our young people - not exploiting them
as workers, ripping them off as consumers, or scapegoating them "en masse" for
New Labour seems particularly keen at the moment to pose as the
fashion police as it's a way of looking like they are tackling crime whilst in
fact only making tokenistic speeches. It may well be that some people are
intimidated by young people wearing hoods, just as they intimidated their elders
by wearing quiffs and brothel creepers, or Mohican haircuts. The fact is you
cannot legislate against youth - but it won't stop New Labour trying.
Bizarrely this is connected with a drive to have those doing
community service to wear guantanomo style orange jump suits. The idea that
making your local neighbourhood look like a prison yard will make everyone feel
far safer seems bizarre in the extreme and is another indicator that New Labour
would rather indulge in a three minute hate than address the real causes of
anti-social behaviour. The idea behind community service is to help offenders
feel they have made a contribution to and are part of the community - to use
this as an opportunity to mark them out as evil doers is to offset any worth
community service might have had.
We do need to address the causes of anti-social behaviour, but we
can't do this by making easy speeches about the clothes young people wear and
the music that they listen to. We should attack not just poverty, unemployment
and poor housing - but also the disenfranchisement and alienation that many,
particularly but not only the young, feel. But to do that you need to address
the question of social justice and that is not the New Labour way.
Inverness Youth take to the streets in protest at "hoodies"
Saturday 4th June
Marks and Spencers High Street Entrance