It's a state of the world blog post I'm afraid.
We've just come back from my family home in Guernsey and I was really unsettled to see some of the changes. Don't get me wrong - I've known much of what's happening there now has been on the cards for years. They've prioritised their rich at the expense of their poor and thought they could get away with it for at least a generation; now their crime rate is out of control and many people think town is a no-go area on weekend evenings.
What surprised me though was another difference between this visit and the last - noise. My Dad's house is built well away from any main road. The acoustics mean he's quite sheltered from everything and everyone, and we're used to staying and hearing nothing which for me is a seriously therapeutic experience considering how much noise we have to put up with at home in London. Yet now noise is encroaching into his house at night - boy racers where there were none, loud neighbours, music from directions you can only guess at. A small increase in volume and he'll be at the level we're at - when on earth did things start to change there as well?
Is it really a rich/poor thing which is creating this universal lack of consideration? It's clearly not a London thing anymore. Some people call it drink, some say it's because the people in question don't have anything else to do. Yet I've never wantonly caused noise pollution for people. Ever since I was plagued by it when at university the first time I've never understood why people felt the need to share their noise with everyone else. Yet in 2006 is seems to have become in vogue - a national pastime.