Not content with banning hoodies from the premises, Bluewater Shopping Centre yesterday banned newspaper interviews aswell.
There, in the middle of Bluewater in Kent yesterday morning, was unemployed Daniel Luchford, 18, and his friend Lee, 17, who did not want to give his surname, shaking hands with a middle-class couple from Sidcup.
The Observer decided to bring together the two sides of the great ‘hoodie’ debate to see the arguments played out for real.
Cheryl Osborne, 55, and her husband, Eric, 65, are regulars at the shopping centre and they believe the hoodie ban put in place there is long overdue.
A security guard wearing a black bomber jacket interrupts to tell us that we are not allowed to conduct an interview on Bluewater property. Suddenly, a common bond is formed between the couples – Daniel and Lee roll their eyes but do not seem surprised. Eric, however, cannot contain himself: ‘I find this interruption more offensive than any amount of kids wearing hooded tops.
‘You can put this in the paper – this is a nice young gentleman [he gestures towards Daniel], but this [now looking at the guard] is outrageous. I’m allowed to say what I like to these people. This is my free speech. And you are very rude.’
Eric and Cheryl leave, but not without shaking Daniel’s hand again. They ignore the guard, who by now is on his walkie-talkie, summoning back-up.
Another point made in the article is that shops in Bluewater sell hoodies and baseball caps. So hoodies are alright so long as it brings in the $$$.
Lesson for Tony Blair & Co.: Middle England is fearful of hoodie-wearers, but more fearful still of overbearing authority.