Kids target `killjoy Straw'

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The Independent Online
Jack Straw, the Shadow Home Secretary who favours an after-dark curfew for young children, may find it hard to sleep tonight.

Not because he is kept awake thinking up more fiendishly-clever ways of combating crime while winning votes for Labour, but because school kids have decided to have their last fun fling before Old Miserable takes over from Michael Howard.

From "8pm 'til late", children and school students are planning a five- a-side football tournament and other games in the street outside Mr Grumpy's home in south London.

It may not quite be the Kennington Olympics, but it promises to be a pretty boisterous affair. Kids have been asked to bring their own tin cans (oh! is the old northern game of "kick-out-can" being revived?), frisbees, rollerblades, skateboards and pogs. Don't ask "what is a pog?" It is something to do with throwing plastic things and scoring points.

The Independent on Sunday caught up with Kids against Killjoy in a London park yesterday, inevitably via a mobile phone. Jelly Rascal (yes, that's what she said her name was), 16, said crossly: "We don't agree with this curfew that he's trying to impose on children and youth. Who does he think he is? Our dad or something?"

And what time is she allowed to stay out until? "Any time, as long as I've got the keys."

Up to 50 children are threatening to gather outside Mr Grumpy's home for their late-night protest - if they can find it. And they probably will. They already have his ex-directory home telephone number. "We won't create that much noise," Ms Rascal said. "It's not a party."

What a pity. That's what Scam, the School Campaign Against Militarism, promised in a faxed press release to editors. Scam spokesperson Danni Harrington, describing herself as a "fun fiend", said: "We are encouraging everyone to join in and take advantage of the opportunity for some street fun while we still have the chance. Adults who feel threatened by extremely young toddlers are advised to stay indoors."

Mr Straw must be consoling himself that at least the Pog People don't have votes. He can shout at them to go home, and failing that call the police to march them back to their parents. Unfortunately, perhaps, they do have votes.