Monday, April 04, 2005

Painting a picture

I fear that this may be a recurring theme, but more on John Hemming, wannabe MP for Yardley.

His website claims that
'Labour funded a scheme to teach graffiti artists to do better graffiti'
John scared up some profile-building press coverage last year on this issue.

I make no apology for repeating my comments to him when he recycled his claims on his blog.

This was a four week scheme to invest some time and money into problem kids and supported by the City Council. The Edgbaston district director, Jaswant Johal was quoted:
'At first sight it appears that children are being taught to vandalise places but it is the exact opposite. It is not just giving young people a spray can. It is trying to reach a younger age group before they begin freelancing with a spray can. They are supervised, they are wearing masks against the fumes and they are learning that there is a difference between graffiti as a form of art expression in legalised sites and the criminal damage that is associated with freelancing.'
Let's ask the mother of one of the children, who has a history of being excluded from school:
'I was finding Stephen a bit difficult beforehand but it has quietened him down. And now it has finished, he is really missing it. He has always loved art. He spends a lot of time drawing and so this was perfect for him. He is going to a new school and he says he wants to try and get on there.'
I'd class that as a result, John. This isn't about rewarding offending, but about trying to break behaviour patterns and investing in those who most need our help. Those with an ounce of vision would support imaginative schemes to tackle the problems of those at the bottom of society, rather than trying to sink innovation with cheap political shots and playing to their own political gallery with knee-jerk responses.

If you hold that plan in low regard, what about the scheme outlined by Mark Oaten to send teenage joyriders on go-karting excursions?

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