Any parent looking at Paris Brown sees a variant of their own dumb teenagers. Paris has the added stress of living in a part of the country – the Isle of Sheppey in north Kent – where homophobia and racism are often components of mother's milk. I know. I spent a lot of my youth there.
Every teenager exaggerates the truth on Twitter and Facebook. Even if Paris Brown really has taken drugs, craved sex and had hateful views about people outside her social circle, is it a reason to write her off at the age of 17?
She was smart enough to apply for the role of Youth PCC, and smart enough to be appointed. It’s an important role in an area where unemployment and lawlessness among the young is a serious problem. Who better to articulate their outlooks than a wayward and outspoken teenager who’s going straight?
Ann Barnes, the new Independent PCC for Kent, has shown enormous foresight in appointing a teen running mate. Young people have a lot to say for themselves but no understanding of how the world works. Paris Brown has a rare opportunity to influence our thinking, and in doing so, to both learn lessons about the wider world, and to pass those lessons back to her peers.
It is precisely why she was employed: to help the police understand and provide guidance in the face of youthful irresponsibility. Instead she’s the victim of a lot of people’s over-reaction to some Twitter silliness.