Young Scots are under fire for crime, under-age drinking and for their morals, but Barnardo’s Scotland say we are in danger of creating a lost generation. James Blake reports.

Call for new deal for Scotland’s youth

Young people in Scotland are disillusioned, isolated and disenfranchised according to a leading charity.

Bamardo’s Scotland have released a seven point ‘Charter For Young People‘ ahead of their conference this week on young offenders. The charter challenges the Government and local authorities to integrate young people. encourage them to vote and to take an active role in their own future.

The seven-point strategy demands:

I a minister for children

I commitment to involving young people in decision making

I improved opportunity in education and training

I parity with adults on benefit payments and reimbursement for training

I greater access to housing

I help for young people looking for accommodation I improved health services and education

The problems facing young people are undoubtedly in the national spotlight. Later this month Youthlink Scotland. a coalition of voluntary youth organisations, will submit a paper to the Scottish Office claiming that every youth crime has an effective cost to the taxpayer of £2300. With 33.000 of Scotland’s sixteen-nineteen year olds unemployed. and around 10.000 homeless. Youthlink claim. urgent action is needed.

Bamardo‘s conference on alternatives to youth custody Soft Options Hard Outcomes! is the first of two major events in Scotland on the subject. The British Juvenile and Family Courts Society also meet in Perth on November 20—22. Following high-profile criticism of parents in recent weeks they will look at the impact of the criminal justice system on parents.

Meanwhile Mrs Frances Lawrence, wife of murdered headmaster Philip, is leading a campaign to teach citizenship in schools. which has left politicians scrambling for position in the morality debate.

The temperature of the debate is high. but the Bamardo’s charter calls for more action from government. rather than individuals. They claim failings in training. benefits and the care system

leave many youngsters disillusioned.

‘Many young people who are willing to participate in youth training schemes are not receiving appropriate placements.‘ said Hugh Mackintosh. director of Bamardo‘s Scotland. ‘The current benefits system jeopardises young people‘s ability to live independendyf

Young people need support to enable them to take a fuller and more responsible role in society. he added, especially if family is not there to offer back-up. ‘Life is challenging enough for those who have parental support. But thousands do not have fatnin support and are desperately in need of statutory and voluntary services.‘

Bamardo‘s argue that if young people are to feel part of the community. their training allowances and benefit entitlements should be comparable with adult support.

The reception from young Scots was mixed. Some were sceptical of the idea ofa Minister for Children. ‘Young people don‘t trust politicians.‘ said twenty- year-old Kirsty Maclean from lnverness. ‘A minister for young people sounds like a gimmick politicians using young people for votes.‘

However she backed Barnado‘s call for greater involvement. ‘Young people need to be involved in policy. Politicians are not in touch with what we need. they don’t understand the problems of young people.‘

Andrew Comnell. seventeen. from Glasgow said young people felt excluded on every level. ‘Part of the


t Young Scots: Isolated and dboufranchlsod, say Barnardo’s

problem is that young people do not have much to do with their time. They need opportunities to get involved in projects and places to go to band together.‘

He agreed that while young people may be disillusioned with politics. it was important that they voted. particularly in the forthcoming general election. ‘The message needs to be got across that this is your future. your government and your country.‘

Sarah MacMillan, seventeen. who grew up in local authority care in Glasgow, said it was unfair that young people got lower levels of benefit than adults. ‘They want people to go back and live with their parents, but not everyone can do that. If you can‘t get on a training scheme you don‘t get any benefit at all.‘

This can lead to homelessness. she claimed. ‘I know several folk who have ended up homeless because their family didn‘t want to put them up any more.‘

A spokesman for the Scottish Office pointed out that measures under new Scottish legislation for young people. the Children Act. were now coming into force. ‘We are in the business of putting young people first.’ he claimed.

He ruled out the possibility of a minister with sole responsibility for children’s issues: ‘There are already ministers for children. They are represented in health, social services and education.‘

And Finally... Rock ‘n’ roll in the capital - rave on in the army

Just as some Scots labour under the delusion that our English cousins give a damn about devolution, there are those in London media circles who believe that we care where the Stone of Destiny comes to rest.

The question has now been decided in favour of Edinburgh. but a recent spate of small earthquakes near the city may provide last-minute


north. the silt of broadcasting heads south of the border in the form of Scottish Television‘s all-new satellite limb, the imaginatively named Sky Scottish. Targeted at young male expats earning in other parts of the UK. the channel will be dominated by football. boxing and for those who don‘t like sport ice hockey. To them that have bread shall be given

Athletic young men with their sights

finding a way across a bridgeless ravine, do you:

(a) survey the area for potential building materials?

(b) contact HQ. requesting further supplies and geographical data? (c) stick on The Chemical Brothers and set off some wild flares?

Future combat engagements could resemble a dance remix of Vietnam, where witness Apocalypse Now US troops spent their time in a druggy

ammunition for advocates of Scone.

Barely registering on the Richter scale. the nine tremors during October didn‘t exactly rock the capital to Arthur’s Seat. but should a major seismic event occur, how would rescuers be able to distinguish the mythic lithic pillow from the rest of the rubble?

While the Boulder of Kismet travels

set further afield may consider a career in Her Majesty‘s forces. Blighted by falling recruitment. Army PR geniuses have come up with a surefire way to swell its numbers. Gone are the macho slogans of yore like ‘See the World’ and ‘lt’s a Man‘s Life'; now it‘s Join the Army - Win a CD! The prize draw offer accompanies a free techno tape dished out to potential squaddies in

Recrultment: Apocalypse Now for the 90’s? shopping centres and by post.

The M y:li Mix intercuts dance tracks with the usual propaganda about life in the infantry. evoking terrifying images of how our boys in khaki are being trained. Faced with the problem of

haze listening to Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane on their radio units: ‘Who’s in charge of these decks?’ ‘I thought you were.’

You know you‘ve seen action when the commanding officer strides in clutching a huge water flask, bellowing ‘I love the smell of temazepam in the morning.’ (David Harris)

The List 1-14 Nov 19965