Status anxiety

It's my duty to expose my children to the moral depravity of Acton

This is the second time someone has been murdered a few feet from my home

1 August 2015

9:00 AM

1 August 2015

9:00 AM

A few years ago, I got a bit fed up with receiving Christmas cards from my friends designed to show off just how well they were doing. A typical card consisted of five or six blond children on ponies or quad bikes with a massive country house in the background. The caption would be something like: ‘Greetings from Shropshire.’

So I came up with an idea. Why not create my own version? I’d get my four children to strike a variety of delinquent poses. One would be outside QPR stadium, fag in mouth and can of beer in hand. Another would be doing an impression of Lord Coke with a rolled-up £10 note sticking out of his nose. My daughter would be pushing a double buggy containing two snotty babies and sporting a Croydon facelift. This is when they were all aged eight and under, which would have added to the joke. The caption would have read: ‘Greetings from Acton.’

I didn’t do it in the end, partly because I haven’t ruled out standing as the Tory candidate in Ealing Central and Acton. It’s exactly the sort of thing that would be reproduced on a leaflet by the sitting Labour MP, illustrating just what a heartless Tory bastard I am. But I was reminded of it earlier this week when I got a round robin email from the chair of the local residents’ association about a murder that had taken place on the corner of our road.


It happened at one of the local ‘supported living’ facilities dotted around the area. These cater to people that the council describes as ‘vulnerable’, although when you spot one of them at night, loitering at the steps of the unlit footbridge at the end of my street, that isn’t the first word that springs to mind.

In this case, the victim wasn’t a ‘vulnerable’ individual, but one of the staff employed to look after them. She was discovered dead at 6.40 a.m. on Monday and, shortly before that, a resident had absconded from the hostel. He was described as a white man of heavy build who suffers from schizophrenia. The email quoted Detective Chief Inspector Partridge, of the Homicide and Major Crime Command, cautioning against any heroics: ‘I would urge anyone who sees him to contact the police immediately and not approach him.’ No danger of that, chief inspector!

This is the second time someone has been murdered a few feet from my home. I suppose it’s fairly common if you live in London — or, indeed, any large city, although the murder rate in England as a whole is declining. According to the Office of National Statistics, there were 537 homicides in 2013-14, down from 1,041 in 2002-03. Earlier this year, some friends of mine, driving along the Caledonian Road with their four children, actually witnessed a murder. At least my children have been spared that.

Is it a reason to move to the country? I thought about getting out of Dodge after my eldest son was mugged outside our house at the age of six. He had set up a little trestle table and was selling glasses of lemonade at 50p a pop, when a couple of teenage boys cycled past and swiped the Tupperware box he was keeping his money in. He didn’t seem all that bothered by it, partly because I agreed to reimburse him, but also because he’d already ‘priced in’ the moral depravity of his fellow citizens, having already spent six years in Acton.

If you take a Catholic view of human nature, as I do, and believe we’re all sinners of one kind or another, then it’s no bad thing for your children to be exposed to man’s wickedness at an early age. It’s all very well wanting to preserve their innocence, but encouraging them to think that all human beings are fundamentally good is bad parenting. In the long run, it’s more likely to get them into trouble than bringing them up in the city.

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean I’m relaxed about being next door to an ‘assisted living’ facility. I’m not a complete nimby about this sort of thing, but I hope Ealing Council is going to explain to the local community how this murder suspect came to be placed by them in the middle of a residential area. And I hope they’re going to reassure us that they’ll vet these ‘vulnerable’ people more carefully in future.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

Toby Young is associate editor of The Spectator.

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Show comments
  • ladyofshalot

    Toby, do you think your council really cares two hoots. They simply calculate probability on the basis that ‘supported living’ provision is cheaper than providing the secure (expensive) accommodation needed. The tragedy is that a valued staff member’s family will suffer a lifetime of grief and the ‘service user’ will have to live with his crime for the rest of his life too, and all because the authority took the easy way out.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Violence is utterly unpredictable in the case of a schizophrenic (or similar). This man may well have had a totally unblemished record, with even less crime committed than you have ever done, until this moment.

  • 1664averygoodyear

    At least your children will grow up immune to PC doublethink having witnessed the clear racial dynamics of crime. Or they’ll grow up speaking ‘like dis init blud’. It’s the gauntlet you run.

    I drive through Acton regularly – operative word here being ‘drive’ because the place is an utter sodding dump – and I can’t think for the life of me why anyone would want to live there. Apart from to show off about how hip they are living in such a ‘multicultural’ (read African and muslim swamp) area. Which is what half of your articles consist of it seems.

    • mickey667

      The murderer in the story is white…..

      At least read before vomiting on the page

      • 1664averygoodyear

        No sht Sherlock but the kids who thieved the lemonade millions weren’t.

        • mickey667

          It doesn’t say that….

          Lets say to was (it wasn’t) but lets say it was. Who do you reserve most of your bile and hatred at the compete waste you;ve made of your life for – a white murderer or a black teenage lemonade thief?

          • 1664averygoodyear

            As it happens I am a hugely successful and scandalously wealthy travelling lemonade salesman and for me there is no crime more grave than theft of lemonade. Accordingly I’m gonna have to go for option B Chris – teenage lemonade thief – final answer, and yes I am sure.

    • Shorne

      If you take prisoners for example 72% are white, 21% are Black/Asian. That is the ‘clear racial dynamic.’ It was slightly higher in the prison in which I worked which was a reflection of the local area. The proportion of White prisoners in Scotland is very much larger, again due to the country’s racial demographic.

  • gregusmeus

    My father started schlepping me to Loftus Road when I was six, the git.

  • Jean de Valette

    Two years in Acton Town was enough for me. The Somalis were my breaking point. I just could not bear the way they behaved. The men were horrifically arrogant and rude, and the (seemingly ubiquitous) burkha’d Somali women there seemed to be incapable of raising anything other than entirely feral male offspring, even the very smallest of whom were stunningly aggressive toward any non-Muslim who dared to walk along the same road.
    Made the daily walk to and from the tube first a misery, then, after a time, simply infuriating.
    I was at the end of one of these walks when I got into the flat, sat down at the computer and found three places in SW1 for rent. Saw all three the next day and signed a new contract the following Monday. Only after I had moved did I work on subleasing the Acton place, which did leave me out of pocket, but I was so relieved to be AWAY from there that paying for both flats for a time (and the new one significantly smaller yet far more expensive at that) was entirely worth it.

    I suddenly could not take another minute of Acton and simply had to get out, and as expensive as it was to do so as quickly as I did, it was worth every penny and I’ve never regretted it.

    • Jugurtha

      OMG…racism alert. One can only suppose that the concepts of diversity, vibrancy and the celebration of these delightful ‘gifts’ have somehow passed you by. Somalis in Acton, or elsewhere, are just one thread in the glorious tapestry which multiculturalism has brought us. Your blatantly racist outlook will never sully my enjoyment or appreciation of this tapestry. I watch Eastenders matey. I know the reality.
      Besides, it’s the white working class racist trash who are the problem. I read about it on Comment is Free on a regular basis.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Some of Acton is nice, but Acton is, in part, pretty horrible. Sadly, contrary to the accusatory comments of the commenter below, much of it is caused by those who come from countries where extreme volence is simply the way of every day life. Imported into this country it seems nothing to them, but to us, used to more of a rule of law, it is quite frightening.

      • Richard

        As a kid, I used to cycle from Chiswick to Acton to train-spot with my brother at Old Oak Common. The idea of letting children do that today would be considered insane. We gave up our basic freedoms and civil rights when we called those who tried to warn us where we were headed ‘Fascists and Nazis’ We truly did light our own funeral pyre.

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Nick and his fun-loving boys were right.

          • Labour Mole Catcher

            And you and your parents are still Japanese, not British!

          • johnhenry

            He is not Japanese and would probably never be granted citizenship there. They are not stupid people.

          • Labour Mole Catcher

            You obviously are unaware of the story of the Tokyo Rose, et al.!

      • Jean de Valette

        With respect, I don’t agree that there is no such thing as racism. The Somalis of Acton Town are among the worst racists I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve lived all over the world.

    • teepee

      Your comments on Somali behaviour resonate with me as this was a factor in the decision to leave my home town of Birmingham after a half-century. No honest person with experience of them could deny the characteristics you describe. One of the last grim pleasures I had was listening to Pakistani taxi-drivers ranting in broken English about their fellow muslims from the Horn of Africa.

      • Jean de Valette

        That must have been awful to leave your home of fifty years. But yes, the Somalis really are that bad. They are incredibly racist, and, in their way, imperialist in that they (in my experience) tend to go out of their way to make one thoroughly understand that they want you gone from wherever they are. No verbal interaction need occur for them to make this sentiment clear – as I said, all one need do is walk to the tube and even their youngest children will, say, intentionally drive their bikes directly at you at top speed in order to drive you into oncoming traffic (happened to me more than once) while shouting and jeering and laughing in Somali.
        It truly became unbearable to live in an area they have taken over – And that was because THEY are so shockingly racist, not because I am.

        • AverageGuyInTheStreet

          There is no such thing as “racism”. Racial groups prefer their own and mistrust others, it is human nature. The concept of “racism” was invented to allow countries to be destroyed with the biological weapon of mass third world immigration.

        • Lesmond Nyjacks

          You didn’t by chance walk down Crown Street on your way to the station?
          It is now a festered toilet due to the unemployable Somalis loitering all day and dossing in their filthy cafes, fat women in black sacks with 4 or 5 kids, all supported on benefits.

          It’s a wonderful slice of Mogadishu, right here in west London.

          • Jean de Valette

            Yup that is exactly the area – there and the adjacent area just to the south of there.

    • AverageGuyInTheStreet

      Even when a Muslim terrorist in Acton comes to the attention of the legal system you can depend on our traitor judges to give little Mo’ a helping hand … http://www.theguardian.com/law/2014/may/02/terrorism-suspects-win-appeal-against-government-secret-justice-measures
      A civil war is not just hugely overdue but now inevitable.

    • mrs 1234

      Acton, Shepherd’s Bush, Greenford, Ealing, North Kensington etc etc – all areas now fallen to a culture so opposite to our own that the future looks very, very bleak for London and the country as a whole. It is extraordinary to me that Toby Young is not aware that his party, the Conservatives, are as guilty for bringing about this terrible and irreversible state of affairs as are the Labour Party and other traitors such as the likes of Michael Hodges who wrote this in 2009:
      http://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/is-londons-future-islamic-2

  • William Murphy

    How do the council “vet” vulnerable people before admission to a hostel for the homeless, especially if they are from overseas or admitted at short notice? It sounds about as realistic as prison governors vetting new admissions to their prisons to ensure they are not too homicidal. At least a few homeless people are homeless because of mental issues and unpredictable behaviour. Short of placing such hostels out in the middle of the countryside or in the middle of an industrial estate, they are going to be sited close to some luckless residents.

  • Dominic Stockford

    A bit of study would tell you something interesting and comforting Toby.

    Those most at risk from Mental Health sufferers are other mental health sufferers, and the staff who look after them. Joe public is almost invisible we’re so far down that list!

  • 9nryt9s9c7

    I hope that you soon take a Catholic view of humans, too: Catholicism is one of the few churches that maintains people are fundamentally good.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Original_sin#Roman_Catholicism

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “Catholicism is one of the few churches that maintains people are fundamentally good”
      How refreshingly naive.

    • Sean L

      Try reading that Wikipedia entry.

  • rtj1211

    Isn’t it about time we had some frightfully-, irredeemably- outrageously non-PC MPs??

    1. ‘At least 50 women a day make me feel hugely horny, but as I love my wife and kids I never act on such randy, base instincts…’ Shows you are human but responsible – far more credible than ‘I am so superb that I am uproariously aroused in the presence of my wife but totally impotent anywhere else.’
    2. ‘My daughters feel completely comfortable swearing at me because our emotional bonds are more than strong enough to weather the short-term ding-dong which will result from it’.
    3. Like most people at University, I got regularly drunk and occasionally stoned. Now ‘I’m rather boring and staid, feeling I need to set an example to children.’
    4. ‘If the only way for my son to be sexually fulfilled, happily married and successful in his work aged 35 is to fail his GCSEs and bum around the world for 5 years, then so be it’.
    5. ‘Football is a way for respectable men to be yobs for 2hrs a week in a societally acceptable manner, well away from wives who wouldn’t put up with that nonsense at home in 100 years.’

    I never vote for anyone who nitpicks minor irrelevances as outrages – says they are useless themselves.

    You should be confident enough to acquaint your voters with your sense of humour and tell them that MPs need a good laugh to stop them screwing around, snorting coke with hookers or fiddling their expenses out of boredom…

  • dalai guevara

    You gather and cater for a strange clientele, Mr Young.

    • Lesmond Nyjacks

      He must do if you are here, you cock!

  • rockylives

    Acton. Bit of a dump. The only time anyone ever tried to mug me was in a pub toilet in Acton (the would-be mugger had his eye on my briefcase). He did not succeed.

    • 1664averygoodyear

      Cottaging is a risky business old boy! He was after more than just your briefcase.

      • Mc

        Yup, he was after the fruit basket.

  • mickey667

    The mind of the spectator reader is a hole of mud. Toby writes a bland enough article about some stuff and crime and stuff, and below we get ‘somali this’ muslim swamp that’. I mean, do you actually live in London? Its fucking bizarre because i do and i never refer to the area i live in by referencing its dominant ethnic residents and swamp. Nor do i get all PC about it.

    It just seems so detached from reality, to which i’m sure you’ll reply ‘oh you ought to see what its really like down such and such muslim gang this and that’. I mean its not real guys. Your view of the world is perverted in your own heads.You;re frightened of your own shadow

    • 1664averygoodyear

      http://www.theguardian.com

      Try it – you’ll love it there.

    • Mongo

      what part of London do you live in? I’ve lived here most of my life and in the last 15-20 years I’ve witnessed many parts of London (especially the inner areas) degenerate into Squalid, deprived Third world ghettoes of crime and poverty. To say that mass unrestricted immigration is not a major cause of this is simply denial

      True, London always had its rougher areas, but the scale of the problem has ballooned in recent years – as has the marked segregation and division. The capital now has the feeling of a city where very wealthy enclaves sit surrounded by a sea of ethnic urban slums. Meanwhile much of the white middle/working classes appear to have fled, either to the outskirts or to different parts of the country altogether

      • 1664averygoodyear

        He lives in the make believe part that they’re always talking about on the BBC or in Guardian articles where everyone ‘rubs along’ together and ‘celebrates their diversity’.

  • Sten vs Bren

    “In this case, the victim wasn’t a ‘vulnerable’ individual, but one of the staff employed to look after them. She was discovered dead at 6.40 a.m. on Monday and, shortly before that, a resident had absconded from the hostel. ”

    Young, you snivelling wretch. You seek to question their vulnerable satatus and then tell us that there was a sudden and seemingly suspiscious death there. Disingenuous oaf.

    Your Dad sent you to a comprehensive school. Get over it!

    • MacGuffin

      You are an idiot. Can’t you read?

  • Mongo

    Acton high street has gone downhill in the last 10-15 years – you can probably hazard a guess as to why.

    There are the ubiquitous squalid ethnic grocery stores – the ones with the rotting fruit spilling out onto the pavement (how many of those shops does one street need?) and the East European stores springing up like mushrooms. There’s a small mall which is now virtually derelict – even the pound shops have closed down. West Ealing is fast going the same way.

    great to know the residents voted Rupa Huq in as MP – I’m sure she’ll sort out the mess!

  • Solage 1386

    Is Acton full of beds in sheds yet? If not, it will be.

    • Mongo

      Southall – also part of Ealing – is where all the beds in sheds are. Visitng Southall is like being transported to Calcutta. Wembley too

  • Solage 1386

    Somalis are the scum of the earth. 80% of the c–ts don’t work and they breed like f–king rabbits.

    • johnhenry

      A hat trick of hate, that was: Racist (Somalis…scum) misogynist (c–ts) and anti-Catholic (breed like f–king rabbits). Nice one.

      • Callipygian

        Just because he knocks people you think he should like doesn’t mean he’s wrong to do so. Liberty is responsibility not licence. And I don’t like it when others tell me how to think.

        • johnhenry

          I paid him a (backhanded) compliment. Yours also deserves the same because you utter three platitudes / clichés in three sentences. How do you know that I am not more libertarian than you? I have said nothing to suggest I disagree with him.

          • Callipygian

            I’m not libertarian. And ‘liberty is a responsibility’ is a cliche? If only that were true.

      • Solage 1386

        We are all c–ts now. Je suis une c–t.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Go to YouTube for

    • Labour Mole Catcher

      Surprise that you can actually spell the word “wall”!

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Take it to the streets, Britisher pals.

    • Labour Mole Catcher

      What are “Britisher pals”?!

      • rightrightright

        Exactly. These days, people self identify as English, Scottish, Welsh, Cornish, Northern Irish. ‘Britishers’ are the foreigners among us.

        • Labour Mole Catcher

          In the olden days, British was just another interchangeable word for English (or educated middle/upper-middle-class Welsh, Scots and Irish, who did not wish to call themselves English).

          “Britisher” is an American word of Dutch and German origin. “Britisher pals” come straight out of Monty Python.

  • Linguistician

    I live in Shropshire. It’s rather nice. I can even leave my car unlocked overnight without fear or trepidation. Crime is practically non-existent and everyone is friendly and helpful.
    Murders, mugging of six year olds… as always London sounds a delight!
    You can keep it.

    • johnhenry

      Likewise. Little crime where I live. I shall keep my little corner of the world a secret, except to say that there is slight chance, unlike in Europe (including the UK) of it being invaded by African boat people or other Third Worlders. I do not say that with any sense of smugness, nor indeed without sympathy for the multifaceted plight of those invading Europe, but with relief that we do not have to deal with that crisis. God save England.

      • Callipygian

        ‘Little crime where I live’. I expect Scott Peterson could say the same, and he has it pretty cushy considering he hasn’t worked a day in over a decade, himself.

        • johnhenry

          Never heard of your “Scott Peterson”, and “my little corner of the world” is not an oasis of the filthy rich.

          • Callipygian

            He’s on death row: it’s a famous case.

          • Lesmond Nyjacks

            “it’s a famous case.”

            No, it isn’t
            Never heard of the silly prick.

          • Callipygian

            Since when did ‘famous’ mean ‘universally known’? He’s a criminal, not Jesus.

          • Lesmond Nyjacks

            Are you one of his adoring fans?
            This “famous” prick that nobody here has ever heard of.

      • Mongo

        it’s too late to save England I fear

        do you live in Antarctica?

        • johnhenry

          Ha! Let’s just say it can get bitterly cold.

    • mrs 1234

      Don’t be too smug. I hear that sheep and cattle rustling is at an all time high. As are thefts for farms and country houses. You may think you are safe from what is happening in our cities but its reach is long.

      • Linguistician

        You may hear that, but it’s not the case here. (I’ve checked the crime map). There were a few stories about it about 3-5 years ago (during the height of the financial crisis, surprise surprise).

        “You may think you are safe from what is happening in our cities but its reach is long”

        Safety is relative. I never said otherwise. But it is extremely safe here, that much is demonstrably true.

  • Callipygian

    Children should never sell lemonade.
    In the first place, no one wants it.
    Secondly, if you DO want it, you want it done your own way, with lots of fresh lemons and very little sugar or maybe Splenda if you’re concerned about the insulin burst. You don’t want lemonade made by some squirt with no idea of nutrition or hygiene or the true value of lemonade (which is practically nil). You don’t trust his mother, either.
    Thirdly, putting children out on the street selling their wares strikes me as not an exercise in capitalism but an invitation to teenage mugger-boys and worse, and when it’s not that it’s an exercise in manipulation, as when an obviously disabled girl in my then-residence of Houston was set out with lemonade and we had to avert our eyes from the tableau her carers had created (presumably her parents, but these days, who knows?).
    Fourthly, why lemonade, fercrissake? A discreet gin and tonic would be more welcome. Or a mint julep and I don’t mind if you don’t serve it in silver.
    Fifthly, I had to get to fifthly because I’ve never got to fifthly before now — and if not now, when? Fifthly, selling things to the crass nerveless public is the LAST thing a child should have to learn. I’m all for capitalism even if I’m not very good at it, but I do know that the soul must be built on deeper more internal things, and that lessons in how to barter should certainly wait.

  • ceedoubleu

    Acton is a truly awful place.

    • Callipygian

      I thought it was ‘worth the drive to Acton’, but that’s in another country.

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