Postcard from London: What society breeds these kids?
WHAT sort of a society breeds little bastards like these?
Thats what Britain is asking itself after the sickening details of how a ten-year-old boy and his 11-year-old brother tortured two other boys to within an inch of their lives were made public here last week.
The facts of the case, which has echoes in the killing of two-year-old Jamie Bulger in Liverpool in 1993, have provoked a storm of anger and re-opened the debate about Broken Britain and where it all went wrong for a once proud country.
They are that the two brothers who had been put in foster care three weeks earlier lured two boys, nine and 11, to a stream on land behind their Yorkshire council estate where they started on an attack of almost unimaginable savagery for ones so young.
The boys were conned into thinking they were going to see a dead fox but when they got to the woodland spot they were beaten by the brothers, stripped naked, forced to perform sex acts on each other and urinated on before attempts were made to strangle them with a clothes line and burn them alive under a plastic sheet.
The pair, who are now referred to in the British tabloids as the devil brothers, used bricks, sharpened sticks, barbed wire and lit cigarettes to torture the terrified boys for no other reason, they told police, that there was nowt else to do.
The boys were forced to eat stinging nettles and one was made to lick his own blood off one of the brothers shoes.
The brothers dropped a 13kg stone on the 11-year-olds head, nearly killing him. That was before a broken sink was carried in and dropped on his head.
Before he fell into a coma, the boy made the heartbreaking plea to his younger friend: “You go and I’ll just die here”.
The brothers filmed part of the attack on a stolen mobile phone and one was heard saying: “Hell of a picture” as he took close-up pictures of the 11-year-olds shattered face with one eye swollen shut.
Nationwide disgust has led to calls for the brothers to be locked up for longer than the five years in juvenile detention they were handed last week but the debate has, naturally, moved on to who are the parents that could bring up children capable of such barbarism?
The short answer is scumbags.
The boys are two of seven boys to a family known to social services in Doncaster for 14 years.
Before being dropped on a foster couple in their 60s with no chance of keeping them out of trouble, the boys grew up in a home without rules, love or care.
At nine, one of the boys was openly smoking pot and swigging strong cider at home while he and his brother would watch porn films and horror films without anyone saying a thing.
Their father spent most of his time can of beer in hand cultivating his marijuana plants.
Before he abandoned the family they were spending $800 a week in benefits on alcohol and drugs, with the boys told to scavenge skips behind the local supermarket if they were hungry.
When the media arrived at the door in the days after the attack the mother screamed through the mail flap: Theyre nowt to do with me.
This shocking urban nightmare has ordinary Britons wondering how people can live like that in the same country they call home.
Indeed in places like central London where people will shell out $30,000 for a terms schooling, a council estate in Doncaster may as well be on a different planet rather than a just few hours up the M1.
The huge difference between privilege and poverty in this country is one of the saddest and most intriguing aspects of Britain, especially for someone from what is arguably a country with a leveller playing field like Australia.
I was reminded of some facts that surfaced last year that show the social apartheid that exists here: Two million people living the UK have never had a job.
Three million more have been out of work since the current Labour government took office 12 year ago under Tony Blair.
Nearly one in six children is growing up in a workless household.
In workless ghettos like parts of Doncaster, the problem is passed on from parent to child to the point where no one knows anyone who has ever had a job.
In light of that, the words of those misguided little boys: nowt else to do, really ring in the ears.
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