There is a small Somerfield supermarket about 3 doors away from Forest Gate Station. Outside it there are 2 bicycle stands, which are used by shoppers.
I rode up to do some shopping today, and found two teenage girls each perched upon a bike stand. (Make no assumptions on what "colour" they were, for I have deliberately not said so). I sidled up, and said, "Excuse me, I want to park my bike". GIRL shook herself provocatively and looked this way and that way, refusing to budge, and ten seconds later said, "Can't you lock it up like that anyway...".
There would be no way of locking it to the bicycle stand without brushing up against her. She very possibly was looking for that, so that she could make trouble. I've come across some nasty kids today who are very aware of the Paedophile paranoia that has gripped Britain for the last 8 years, and are able to play on this Paedophilia thing for their own amusement.
A third bigger made-up girl (possibly her sister) was standing by, and she agitated to her companion, "Come on, we're going anyway".
To the bigger girl I turned, and said , "she's just being stubborn, isn't she? How do you manage to keep her under control?"
The two girls got off the bike stands and started walking off, while the stubborn one started singing "Stick it up your bum, stick it up your bum..."
To which I had to shout behind her, "Hey, don't you be nasty! Someday something bad might happen to you, and you never know who you'll need help from!"
These kids have no respect for strangers, and just don't realize that in the long lives they have ahead of them, one day they could be lying in a gutter and they just might need the help of a stranger. But how could strangers be willing to help each other, if these anti-social attitudes are allowed to persist in our society?
Forest Gate of course comes under Tony Banks MP, who was mugged in this very location 4 years ago. I'm not sure how much that incident revised his view of the world. What is ever worrying is that as an MP who is prominent in the ruling political Party, he might not be using his full influence to make this society safe, respectful, and a pleasure to live in.
It's all very well for him, as he is a healthy fit man. I think he is considerably genetically physically fitter than I am. Nonetheless I can just about endure intimidation I come upon in the streets. How is it for a 70-year old 110-pound woman who needs to go to the supermarket to do her shopping? Or how is it for a short skinny 20-year old guy who happens to be struggling with the 'flu? Or for a burly 30-year old immigrant labourer whose English is marginal and who has a foggy understanding of British Age of Consent laws?
Dear Tony, if you haven't completely left the Sixties behind, please hurry up and move on. Forest Gate still needs work. And you are its Member of Parliament.