I wonder how many parents of idealistic children shuddered over their mince pies when they heard the story of 20-year-old Gerrah Selby, the attractive middle-class girl who fell in with Greg Avery, evangelical leader of the Animal Liberation Front (ALF).Not many, I suspect. At least, not those that had brought up children the correct way, i.e not spoiling them, bribing them to behave, fawning over them and treating them as little adults.
I can see why Daisy is concerned though:
Selby is now awaiting sentence for blackmail and, whatever you think of the ALF and its methods, it seems a terrible waste of a life that had just begun. Her mother has said that she was always against her daughter joining the ALF, “because life had so much more to offer”.Not because they were a gang of ragbag criminals then? Nice family...
But back to Daisy’s offspring, and the reason for this paean:
... I have a 17-year-old daughter who has been a vegan since the age of 12 in a family of carnivores, a child who likes to turn the water off to save the planet while you are brushing your teeth. Her idea of a good Saturday afternoon is not browsing the rails of Top-shop but protesting against the building of Siena airport.She’d have been lucky to get anything if she’d tried that one on my mother...!
She thinks my generation has been incredibly selfish in the way it has squandered the world’s resources: “The polar bears are dying, Mum, and it’s all your fault.” For Christmas she asked for notebooks made from recycled rubber tyres and membership of the Green party.
She won’t learn to drive because she thinks cars are wrong and she would rather stuff her shopping into her pants than accept a convenient plastic bag. She spends half an hour every night turning off all the appliances at the socket.Daisy, sweetie, have you considered, ummm, ensuring that she realises she isn’t the centre of the family, nay, the universe?
She would rather starve than eat at McDonald’s and while she doesn't believe in God she knows that Jeremy Clarkson is the devil incarnate.
Not that I’m saying you may have made a rod for your own back (raising irate adolescents ) here, but still....
None of this is particularly easy to live with; it’s no fun having your carbon footprint ruthlessly dissected by a girl who doesn’t understand the word compromise. And yet I have to admire her unflinching stance: I can’t help feeling that this kind of passionate, unswerving, pigheaded commitment is what teenagers are for.Ahhhh, bless...! The little madam sounds like she needs a lesson in economic reality to me.
So I’m rather hoping my teen rebel with a cause will get past the point where she is easy fodder for charlatans such as Avery and will arrive safely in the more prosaic world of letters to The Times, Radio 5 Live phone-ins and Facebook groups.Of course she will. When she grows up.
And when she does, she’ll be able to Google Mum’s little piece here. Won’t that be fun...?
As a child of the 1980s I protested fairly feebly against racism and the poll tax and for Nelson Mandela’s release and the miners. And today we live in an officially multi-cultural society with a black American president-elect, local taxes based on property owned and Mandela is the official Global National Treasure. I am sure that when my daughter has her own two-up two-down slice of negative equity, we will be driving solar-powered cars, sending meat eaters outside to scoff their carcinogenic sausage rolls under the wind-powered patio heaters, protesting against the culling of the rampant polar bear population and regarding clips of Top Gear with the horrified awe that we now reserve for the smoking advertisements of the 1940s that said things such as: “More doctors smoke Camels than any other cigarette”.Ah, the Brave New World. Somehow, I can’t help but think it isn’t going to look one bit like that...