Leigh, 16, had just finished his GCSEs when his uncle asked him to join the family business: selling heroin and crack cocaine.
When young musician Declan McKenna performed on Jools Holland’s Later programme on BBC2 recently, Declan’s teeshirt spoke louder than the lyrics of his song, with a plea in black on white: “Give 17-year-olds the vote.”
Often images of children who are the victims of war define our times most graphically. They last forever in the memory and can sometimes even be a catalyst for change. Sometimes.
Sadly the news is as predictable as it is desperately tragic. In the past couple of weeks more young men have been stabbed in Southeast London.
There’s a catastrophe happening right here, right now in the UK and across Europe.
Scanning the Guardian recently I read the horrific story of three Filipino sisters who were being sexually exploited by their mother on a live webcam in their bedroom.
As the number of cases involving child protection soar, Prime Minister David Cameron’s answer is to create an ideologically driven campaign for wholesale privatisation. Failing children’s services will now be taken over, while his government simultaneously makes deeper cuts into those services.
Earlier this year a campaign was launched to promote the idea that children should be able to delete their online past. Baroness Shields, the UK’s Minister for Internet Safety and Security, backed the move as did several charities and businesses.
I’m at a tough referral centre in inner city London. Each morning students shuffle through an airport-style metal detector that alerts onlookers for possible knives and other sharp objects.
The best way to reach people is to tell them stories. It’s a tried and tested method going back millennia – and it’s one we used recently in some London secondary schools.