…Ok not a great headline for what I want to say but first line from a favourite tune of mine from those Favourite Nursery Rhymes type CDs that I seem to listen to lots these days. The point I did want to make was about inner-city neighbourhoods and crime.

A week after I recommended that the Bishop of Rochester should get out more, the same advice is being proferred to Jacqui Smith by Diane Abbot. Smith in what is reported as a gaffe, confessed that she would want to go tramping around the backstreets of Hackney (or Kensington and Chelsea) on her own at night. She apparently feels more at home in Peckham (site of her London residence) and Reditch, her constituency.

Well the Home Secretary, who has let it be known that she has recently boaght a kebab in Peckham, was stating a personally subjective experience and should be applauded in her honesty. People normally feel comfortable with familar surroundings where they know their way round – presumably the bishop too. We should also go beyond the inner city/suburbia divide that paints one as a zone of danger and the other as a safe haven of Terry and June. At my workplace Kingston University there will be a conference held this week on gun crime and suburbia. It was originally meant to have been staged last term but was postponed as a spate of Kingston students were shot over the Autumn period. I have an article of “recentring suburbia” in the current issue of Soundings.

Are the ‘burbs the new inner cities? Will report back after the meeting…