ARTICLES

Teenagers are dying from our failure to confront London violence

We have abandoned boys to a surreal and terrifying landscape where gang life offers protection A former gangster was returning home after dropping off his daughter at a play date. Suddenly he stiffened. Ahead, three boys in tracksuits and gloves — “Gloves mean a gun,” he explained — bounced up and down outside a friedContinue reading “Teenagers are dying from our failure to confront London violence”

The homeless are not all helpless victims – and their needs are more complex than we admit

The rise in rough sleeping is a complex cocktail of immigration, crime and despair. On the streets of Manchester on a bitterly cold day, I met a teenage couple, in love but on the streets. Both had been in care. His leg was in plaster after a punch up. She was on the way toContinue reading “The homeless are not all helpless victims – and their needs are more complex than we admit”

Charity trustees should know when things are going wrong

They Trustees share the same legal obligations as company directors, writes Harriet Sergeant. Whose job is it to regulate the angels? When Kids Company, which helped deprived inner-city children, imploded last year, one of a slew of recent scandals in the charity sector, it became clear that none of the regulatory bodies — the government,Continue reading “Charity trustees should know when things are going wrong”

Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh: How the world fell for this ‘ultimate matriarch’

To children, MPs and celebrities, Kids Company head Camila Batmanghelidjh seemed every inch the mother-figure. But is she a saint or sinner? Harriet Sergeant, who’s reported on the charity for a nearly decade, explains all. Charismatic, warm and cuddly in bright dazzling clothes, she cut an exotic but nurturing mother figure – as far awayContinue reading “Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh: How the world fell for this ‘ultimate matriarch’”

A genius for seducing the rich: Kids Company founder was expert at convincing wealthy to help vulnerable youngsters, says HARRIET SERGEANT

Nearly a decade has passed since I first met Camila Batmanghelidjh. She was holding a meeting with a dozen businessmen, and I watched astounded as she dazzled them with a lecture about her theories concerning emotional development and violent behaviour in young people. When she excused herself to take a call from one of theContinue reading “A genius for seducing the rich: Kids Company founder was expert at convincing wealthy to help vulnerable youngsters, says HARRIET SERGEANT”

Fixing Broken Britain

Gang members, like those who rioted last week, say that here are only two things will stop another flare-up: jobs and discipline. Last Tuesday, at the height of the riots, I got a telephone call from Mash, an 18-year-old member of a Brixton gang whom I had befriended three years ago. Three of the gangContinue reading “Fixing Broken Britain”

These rioters are Tony Blair’s children

Nihilism and disorder have been fostered by the state. On the third day of the London riots I received a telephone call from Mash, a member of a Brixton gang who I befriended three years ago. He was standing outside an electronics shop in Clapham, watching the looting. I could hear shouts, glass breaking but never a police siren. I urged him to go home. ‘HarriContinue reading “These rioters are Tony Blair’s children”

Prison’s just what a young yob needs: structure and discipline

As Learco Chindamo is about to be released claiming to be reformed, Harriet Sergeant finds jail is also working wonders on her hoodlum friend Tuggy Tug. Chindamo was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Philip Lawrence (Reuters) ‘Hari, I am in prison, call me in a hot minute.” I was standing in aContinue reading “Prison’s just what a young yob needs: structure and discipline”

My cure for violent gangs: museums and a night at the theatre

The distinguished social affairs writer has made unusual friends: two teenage hoodies from Brixton I first met Tuggy Tug a year ago. He was one of about a dozen 16-year-old boys gathered outside a chicken takeaway in Brixton, south London. He wore black trainers, a black tracksuit and a black cap beneath the hood. HeContinue reading “My cure for violent gangs: museums and a night at the theatre”

The blunders forcing children at risk to compete for care

Talk is cheap – or, rather, recommendations are. Lord Laming has just issued 58 to transform the “Cinderella” social services that allowed Baby P to die so horrifically. The problem is that not one of these recommendations translates into extra funding. Ed Balls, the children’s secretary, has, according to Solace, the body that represents localContinue reading “The blunders forcing children at risk to compete for care”

Sorry, kids, you’re all going to Smoke-and-Mirrors High

The government has stars in its eyes – and it is proving confusing. It has introduced a new A* grade at A-level to help universities distinguish between top candidates. Then, last week, it instructed those same universities to ignore the new grade “for several years”. What has brought about this abrupt change? The government saysContinue reading “Sorry, kids, you’re all going to Smoke-and-Mirrors High”

Amid the bust, a boom in polite taxi drivers and cheap builders

So now we have it. Britain is in recession. How is life going to change? Despite the hardship and worry for many of us, there are unexpected benefits. Take taxi rides. The past 10 years have seen them become increasingly fraught. The plethora of Smartie-coloured control buttons, video screens and soothing voices leaves me screaming.Continue reading “Amid the bust, a boom in polite taxi drivers and cheap builders”