Kids are bored. Drinking is cheap. Cheaper than anything else on offer around them leisure-wise by far. And it's sad. Because it wouldn't cost the earth. If kids want to knock about a coffee shop of an evening in London then they can. Because they are open past six o'clock. Why can't we do that for our young people in the North East?
Last year, the government was outvoted in parliament. Against minister's wishes, MPs repealed the section of the Public Order Act 1986 that outlawed "insults"; deeming it to be too sweeping and a threat to freedom of expression. This year, in apparent revenge, the government has, in effect, reintroduced in the insult prohibition under another name.
You might also think I'm a bit of a nuisance. But surely annoyance and nuisance isn't a police matter. Well, it's about to be. The Government is introducing a sweeping new anti-social behaviour law, with a very low threshold indeed. It's one of those threats to free speech which unites fierce opponents (even you and me).
It seems that every day another company hits the headlines for behaving badly. The offences vary, it can be multinationals avoiding tax, banks wrecking the economy, energy giants polluting the environment, utilities price fixing, tech companies passing consumer data to governments or many other things.
While there are some elements in the new bill that would improve how anti-social behaviour is tackled, The Children's Society is very disappointed that the government has in fact worsened anti-social behaviour measures for children. We fear that the measures could seriously affect the way children go about living their everyday lives.
My point is, if our schools are to remain more than institutions of academia, if we want them to remain the backbone of our communities and a moral compass as well as an educational one, then we need to open up our schools to the support and involvement of local communities and organizations looking to do just that.
If you'd listened to the Queen's Speech, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the government's agenda for the next year isn't going to have a big impact on children. But changes to immigration, anti-social behaviour measures and the care system will all make a real difference - both positive and negative - to some of the most vulnerable children in the UK