MANY people will already be acquainted with the work of the New Horizon Centre. founded in 1968 by Lord Longford, through the coverage it has recently received from the mass media. This book is written by the centre's first full-time worker,
hence one might reasonably expect it to add to our knowledge of its philosophy, purpose, methodology, and achievements. However, on finishing the 'book one is left with the overriding feeling that here is an angry young man, with many valid things to say, who is using the pretext of New Horizon to preach to the reading public. The centre takes very much a second place to his criticisms of our penal system, Social Security. the church, methods of dealing with drug addiction — in fact society's acquiescence to the capitalist-Christian ethic.
Walker's haphazard treatment of his material perhaps accentuates 'this impression. He starts with the obligatory casehistory, the story of a young man whose childhood has been one of insensitive shunting from one institution to another, and who eventually finds himself, at the age of 20, as a male prostitute in Lon don's West End. The next 19 pages are devoted to Walker's own life story, culminating with his expulsion from art college with the conscious intention of turning his back on the trivia of middle-class materialism and going into social work.
Nine of these 19 pages consist of a hefty quote from one of his own creative writings, of questionable literary merit and relevance. At page 59 one reaches a chapter entitled "The Beginning of New Horizon" which eurports to be a breakfast time conversation with Lord Longford about how he envisaged the project. By virtue of the presence of a taperecorder (or perhaps Walker's unusally-retentive memory) we are treated to vast verbatim quotes, sot down in questionand-answer style, which never really come to grips with what the centre hoped to achieve, how it intended to achieve it, or why.
And so Part 1 limps on, randomly opening our eyes to problems of deviance and hurling abuse at the system which causes the deviancy and then labels the deviant "criminal."