For once, on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions, Germaine Greer was actually talking sense. When she was growing up, she said, all boys carried knives – demonising them now for doing exactly the same thing is not going to work.
Of that generation, I can attest that indeed we did carry knives – no self-respecting boy would go out without his trusty penknife and, my goodness, how we lusted after a Swiss Army knife! Then, out walking and camping, it was unthinkable not to be equipped with a sheath knife – I still have it to this day, almost exactly the same as the one pictured.
The problem is not the knife … but the intent, and a whole lot of other things but, typically, the establishment reacts by making what used to be the norm a criminal offence. This is the classic regulatory response, much beloved of our masters, whether here or in Brussels - if there is a problem, make another law.
However, last year, on the not unrelated issue of youths carrying guns, I wrote this. The piece holds as good for knives as it does guns. Why the hell can't these f***wits learn that you cannot solve social problems simply by creating more and more laws, and more and more criminal offences?