The site has had a major overhaul. My piece for it today begins as follows:
On London's streets no teenage boy is free. His eyes are peeled, he keeps his head down and his senses ever alert to the danger of intimidation, assault or worse. His female counterparts too have grown more wary. Even if they've never been hurt or harmed or have heard of statistics showing they're unlikely to be, the young are nervous of streets they should be able to walk in tranquility. Some have greater cause for fear than others, not least those young males inhabiting the very twilight worlds from which the worst horrors flow.But all shudder at the muggings and killings of other boys their age, as do all who live in their neighbourhoods. Dangerous youths have always stalked big cities, their reputations casting long shadows. But has their influence ever been more grimly corrosive than it is in the capital today?
One month into his mayoralty Boris Johnson has been busy being seen to be honouring campaign pledges to break this spell. Coming from a Conservative, his remedies have had a novel quality. At first they recalled the old, ignorant self-gratifying Tory "tough talk". Gradually, though, Johnson sketched in the other side of his policies: he was conscious that far more had to be done to divert those drawn to criminality down other paths; he displayed an intellectual grasp of why gang membership might offer security and a form of kinship unavailable elsewhere. Johnson's argument that Ken Livingstone was out of touch with ordinary Londoners' concerns could be persuasive when he addressed this theme. Now that he's won, we await delivery.
Now read on.