Spotting the difference

An example of the kind of thing Anna Minton’s book (see my last post) is about, is the way Britain wants to be cleaner, safer, greener, nicer, tidier and, it turns out, freer of young people, particularly of the wrong type. With today’s technology it’s actually quite easy to airbrush the derelict, the redundant and the unwanted off our patch.

Our local Safer Neighbourhood Team has advertising on certain buses under the rubric “spot the difference”, promising subtle improvements to our neighbourhoods as a result of their efforts. They depict two almost identical photographs of everyday places, a playground, a paved area on what might be a housing estate. For months I’ve not spotted a difference but yesterday I GOT IT.

In the background of the “bad” playground were two people wearing hoodies (cliché of clichés) and a Staffordshire bull terrier. In the “good” one they had been removed from it, leaving the mother with her child in the buggy on their own to enjoy the simple playground in solitude.

The Advertising Standards Authority works to keep advertising legal, decent, honest and truthful. So I guess I won’t be able to make a complaint on those grounds, unless they agreed that it’s indecent or untruthful to pretend to be making the world a better place by removing young people from it.


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