When the force is not with you

24th March 2006 at 00:00
We're soon to get the "right to discipline" unruly students with "reasonable force". It's the latest government wheeze.

That should do it.

"Strewth, sir! You have the right to discipline me! I must desist!"

I nip down to the Twilight Interactive Ultraviolence Workshop and polish a few moves. Armlocks, half-Nelsons and the Roy Keane tendon-shredders. I'm now ready for the classroom.

But here's the crunch. My new rights "go beyond the school gates". I must unleash hell all over the shop, especially on buses and trains. My "powers have been extended"!

Is it a bird? Is it Batman? No! It's Wigwam! Cleaning the streets of the Grove and the Bush of hoodies and hoodlums and Dave Mania. Wigwam zooms off Trellic Tower on to Shepherd's Bush Green, saving little old ladies from crazed Asbos.

Fear is everywhere. "Here comes Wigwam, he's got the reasonable force! I must forego my criminal proclivities!" says Mania, quaking in his Reeboks.

I can do these things "without fear of repercussions!" Oh yes? Have you seen "Big Ant" Furnace? He gets the red mist. Then he breaks things. I have a rather sharp fear of concussions. And I never joined this lark for the ultraviolence. I thought I'd be exploring language and literature in the groves of academe.

And how far beyond the school gates? All over the metropolis? And in the hols?

Like last Saturday. As I am waiting at the bus stop in Holland Park, it is invaded by teenage hordes. They do urban frolics. They are my tutor set.

They hide under hoodies. I hide under tea-cosy. Well-heeled adults tut.

They pay good money for their children to avoid my oiks. I tut too. "Kids today, eh?" I slink under the Guardian and pull tea-cosy over nose. I look like a teapot.

"I blame their teachers! No discipline!"

"Sir! Sir!" they yell. I try to disown them. I know thee not, young hoodies. I up the tutting.

"Are you in charge of these people?" barks a Gucci clot.

"Good lord, no!"

"You are tho' sir, innit?"

Time for a bit of ultra-violence? Nope. I'm a pacifist and not paid enough.

The bus arrives. They charge on. I do not. They're not my responsibility. I'm not a copper, or Batman. I don't do "beyond school gates".

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