IT’S difficult to open a local paper without reading about reckless car drivers, inconsiderate dog owners, the kids of today, selfish cyclists … the list goes on. You’d think that we were all going to hell in a handcart, that society is broken and that it gets worse almost day by day. I guess it’s always been the same.

When it comes down to it, though, most people are decent; but you notice those who decide to behave differently – the selfish, the unkind, the violent, the thoughtless and those for whom being a git comes as second nature.

I was reminded of all this when I read this week of the vandalism of the Halloween props in Hillworth Park. Teenagers have been blamed and I would guess that is the most likely age group. But it would be unfair to tar a whole generation with the same brush.

This sort of thing is down to a handful of contemptible half-wits and there is, of course, more than a chance that they’ll grow up to become worthwhile members of society. It’s not exactly a modern phenomenon either. Plenty of us will remember the furore when the Blue Peter garden was trashed in 1983.

On a similar subject, I’ve complained in the past about youngsters leaving the Green in Devizes bestrewn with litter when there are bins within easy reach. That’s just a few of them trying to wind the adults up – and succeeding. Again, if it were any more than a small minority then the problem would be much greater.

We’ve recently seen the twinning stones vandalised. Goodness knows why. The stones are a bit underwhelming but they’re fairly unobtrusive, unlike that ‘pyramid’ thing in Albion Place … but that’s another matter. The Mayor, Nigel Carter said: "This is just mindless vandalism. More and more people are commenting on what a lovely town Devizes is but there is a very small minority set on spoiling it." He’s bang on the money with that sentiment.

Most people don’t want to upset others and just want to get on with their lives. Most vote responsibly, otherwise we’d get Mr Corbyn. But we did get Brexit so perhaps I’ll leave that one.

Dog owners are another pet (pardon the pun) peeve of mine. When it comes down to it, though, the vast majority are only too quick to clean up after their pooches. But when you have the misfortune to step in a barker’s egg, you tend to vent about bleedin’ dog owners; ignoring the fact that again, it’s just very few sociopathic owners who give the rest a bad name.

And finally, another subject close to my heart that is in danger of being spoilt by a selfish minority – Devizes Beer Festival. As the name suggests, this is a festival about beer, and it’s for ticket holders only.

For the last decade at least, we’ve turned a blind eye to a few people bringing their own drink if they were part of a group of paying customers and they were discreet. I don’t want to appear sexist but this was typically (but not exclusively) female partners with wine. We won’t be able to do this anymore, though, as we’ve had more and more people blatantly taking the Mick. They turn up with slabs of beer and an overdeveloped sense of entitlement. They often claim they just want to listen to the music and join the party … but without contributing anything.

So next year we’ll have a secure site and bag searches and we’ll supply some other drinks that people will have to buy on site. That’s going to be a bit of a pain but Devizes CAMRA is not going to let a few spoil it for everyone. The show will go on because the vast majority of people are fundamentally good eggs.