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Tough on graffiti, tough on the causes of graffiti

As a councillor part of my role is to report graffiti and arrange for it to be cleaned off. But what are the underlying causes? Why is graffiti more likely to occur on modernist/brutalist rather than traditionalist buildings? How much is produced by gangs using tags to mark territory?

In his new book The Face of God, Roger Scruton writes:

Graffiti are acts of aggression against the public realm, ways of ‘defacing’ it. Often they involve caricatures of writing by people who are taking their revenge on the skill which, above all others, symbolizes the act of inter-personal communication. In most cases the graffiti vandal is offended by the sight of a settled place, a place that excludes him since he does not and cannot belong. He belongs not to a place but to the nomadic gang that is passing through, angered by the sight of others’ settlement.

Certainly clean off the graffiti and punish any culprits caught in the act. But it is also right to tackle the causes. The hideous tower blocks and the discredited "progressive" theories of the educational establishment.


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