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Last Updated: Saturday, 12 November 2005, 09:59 GMT
South: Hoodies and anoraks
Peter Henley
Peter Henley
Politics Editor, BBC South

Hoodie
Hoodie: Goody or baddy?

It is the 21st century symbol of rebellious youth - The Hoodie. Just as punk hair, parka jackets or winkle pickers defined the attitude of young people, now a new generation is standing up to be counted.

SaveTheHoodie.com is a fairly blatant plug for hip hop singer Lady Sovereign and her latest single.

But the self proclaimed "cheeky midget" makes a strong point about prejudice.

"If someone commits a crime it is not about what they are wearing, it is about the person wearing it, a criminal is a criminal no matter what they wear."

Teenagers are fighting back against the shopping centre bans, and harassment they say comes with crack downs on anti-social behaviour by proving they do want to be a useful part of society.

Even if the media only seems to want to talk about binge drinking and ASBOs, most modern teenagers reckon they have a lot to offer.

In a quiet, Wiltshire lane, a group of young people are planting a hedge. They are not getting paid for it. They are volunteers.

They have strong views about the way people of their age are often perceived.

Volunteer Robert Scott said: "They never look at the positive. It's always ASBO this and ASBO that, it's never on the good things that people do.

"I wear a hoodie and I wear a baseball cap sometimes. It does not mean I am a bad person."

The government's trying to back them with the "Youth Matters" Green Paper though if you look at the detail you might think they want to turn "hoodies" into "anoraks".

Local Councils would have to provide access to two hours sporting activity and another two hours in clubs, youth groups and classes as well as providing the chance to make a contribution to their community through volunteering.

A new youth opportunity card - like a mobile phone top-up - will give teenagers the chance to pay and get discounts for purposeful activity.

There will be an initial credit made to these activity accounts that would target higher funding to those considered at risk and disadvantage.

But equally offenders could see privileges or credit taken away, or their card suspended.

The idea is to empower young people - to harness their choices through the card.

But by providing comprehensive data about teenage activities to the State what happens to emerging civil liberties?

And the question of whether schools or councils can provide these worthwhile opportunities is very much in question.

The Budget for Youth matters provision works out at roughly 2 per child per year.

Combining the youthful enthusiasm of hoodies and anoraks could be good news for society - but is it too ambitious?

Does it fail to see the real needs of neglect and poverty that social services, schools and police are already struggling to meet?

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SEE ALSO:
'Hoodie' statue provokes outrage
30 Aug 05 |  Scotland
South
11 Sep 05 |  England


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