Have People Been Failed by Society or Have They Failed Themselves?


A strong reaction many are displaying towards the riots is this is what happens when society fails people.

When people feel disenfranchised. This is what happens.

As a generation feels lost. This is what happens.

Economic strife hits these communities hard. This is what happens.

Young men are riddled with jealousy. This is what happens.

We’re told by people explaining they foresaw all of this that they’re not defending the events. Just giving us a bit of background and context, not defending anyone. Yet perhaps we did all see it coming, the cries of ‘this was all inevitable’ are not exclusive to those providing a context of despair for the actions of these people.

It probably was inevitable. Create an environment where the force of law is weakened then people are more likely to break it. Make sentencing so weak that a string of offences is sometimes required to receive a custodial punishment and more offences will occur. Most people drive, if you suddenly required 30 points to receive a ban then many more would speed. If drink driving didn’t come attached with a ban then more people would do it.

These individuals wouldn’t all be from deprived areas, lacking in education and moral guidance, but the effect of deterrent still works.

I don’t want us to build a virtual wall around these communities or throw youngsters in prison at the first sign of trouble. Too many people are jumping to extremes right now, if you don’t think one way then you must be a stereotype of an opposite view – or, in what is a form of condescension reminiscent of student politics, simply not understand.

I grew up in a rough part of Salford in a single parent family, my mum didn’t go out, we had a good relationship and I believe she taught me respect. She would have been furious if she heard me describe ourselves as poor or our area as a dump, unlike many today who seem determined to out-ghetto each other in a desperate race to the bottom.

I remember once really wanting a pair of Reebok Pump trainers, life seemed utterly worthless without them at the time. My mother simply couldn’t afford it though and I realised that, yes I was still gutted and tried to convince her but in the end I realised I was out of line and accepted a cheaper alternative. Some relatives were having foreign holidays and this seemed to be the amber nectar for a while. My mum and I even got some brochures once and gazed in amazement at the size and shape of hotel swimming pools across Portugal, although that was all as we couldn’t afford it.

She had a job as a bookkeeper but was right on that difficult line of working yet not being much better off than those on benefits. We weren’t in what I would describe as poverty, I’d be in trouble if I ever suggested otherwise, although these people rioting now aren’t in poverty either. Of course as a youngster I felt jealousy towards those with more and this breeds anger and in some that turns into resentment. It’s a personal choice whether to use this as a driving force or a weight to be hurled throughout life, the wider world can help a little but if you choose to carry a chip on your shoulder with pride that’s not down to anyone else.

For every carrot there needs to be a stick, this must work both ways. I was listening to youth workers in London explaining people won’t use the facilities and resources provided because they’d be ridiculed by their peers for doing so and that more funding was needed to convince youngsters to use the help already there. Society needs to assist those within it but for that to work then personal responsibility must be prevalent too, there is help there and those who want it can get it.

I get told that not everyone can do what I’ve done. This is correct of course, many could do much better and many could do worse but those who choose to be defined by their area and disadvantages make that decision themselves and it’s not my fault or yours when they do so.

Tags: education, failed, manchester, riots, salford, society

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I'm Irish, so I don't know all the in's and out's of British society but this strikes me as much as a cultural issue as it is a societal one. Don't get me wrong; I am both enamoured and in love with much of British culture; from it's glorious past in rock music to it's comedy and yes, to it's football as well.


But it has always struck me about the ever-widening gap between the classes. Much of this has had to do with history - bygones from the Victorian era. Britain has always had a class-based society. These days the best schools cost £30,000/ year to send your child to. In Ireland it is around €6,000/annum. It's still a lot of money and unaffordable for many people, even more so if they have more than one child. Ireland doesn't do many things well (duh) but the gap in the quality of education between top and bottom is fairly narrow. Yes private schools do have a better record, but it's not of the same significance as it is in Britain.


That can only be a partial explanation though as a lot of it has to be a cultural thing. Here in Ireland we've more or less bent over and taken it up the hole with the 'ah shure, we bet-der get on with it". In terms of working hours, employment, and public holiday we were already one of the harder working nations in Europe. In Greece the approach was quite different. As it is, the 'Yob Culture' is not exclusive to England, but just as was the case of football hooliganism, England is internationally notorious for it.


It's in part a cultural thing. The type of people who line up for appearances on Jeremy Kyle exist in modern times and have shown that the children are paying for it. Just look at the ages being quoted by the different papers on the matter.


But bringing it back to football hooliganism is a relevant point because this has largely been eliminated by British fans. It's only a little over a decade since the water cannons were brought out in Charleroi. Incidents still happen, but they tend to be much smaller figures of people involved. England saw that there was a crisis in this regard, as in other cases such as Heysel, and acted upon it in impressive manner.


There's some finger-pointing and blame to go around but I think there should be some confidence as well that you guys are generally pretty good at solving these matters. Once of course they come to a head.



For me it's too easy to 'blame society' as many are doing. Perpetuating a culture of victims doesn't solve anything. I am of the mind that with hard work and a will to succeed, it is possible to set achievable goals. That might mean to apply oneself, get a decent basic education and some marketable skills, and break the cycle of despair, if you want to characterise it as such. It is really disheartening for me to think that these young people appear to think they have nothing to achieve, and so lapse into this kind of lawless behaviour, in the places where they live, against their neighbours. I've been really upset about this since it began down in London at the weekend, and now that the copy-cats have brought it up north I am even more sad about it.

Not wanting to tempt fate but Im wondering why there havent been riots in Scotland or Wales?
Or in Northern Ireland in Belfast.
My mate Paddy was among the rioters who ransacked Argos in Manchester last night, he's got 500 catelogues if you want one...?
That's actually very funny, is it yours?
I wish I could claim it but sadly no, it isn't mine.

Funniest I heard was


Police closing A1 south of Newcastle to prevent former footballer travelling to London armed with roast chicken, dressing gown and fishing rod



They've raided the joke shop in Salford. It's just not funny any more. 

1. We have spent the last 30 years chucking money at most of the areas that were involved in rioting, Toxteh, Handsworth, Tottenham, so money isn't an issue.  If the only thing stopping these people rioting was a £30 EMA then we really did fail, we get told it's 'No Money, No Job, No Life, No Future', why is a teaching assistant one of the first to be charged?  Clearly got a job, a life, a future and money.


We keep getting told that it's because of government cuts, the government told councils they would get a 20% drop in budget, that's twenty percent, we need to be asking dianne abbott and tottenham council why they thought it was reasonable to cut the tottenham council youth services budget by 75%, we should ask dianne abbott why, as MP for hackney for 13+years, her area hasn't been 'fixed' by now.  Got to ask yourself who's been in charge for the last 15years in each of the areas and what their MPs and councils have been doing to address the issues.  The problems of tottenhams or toxteth's funding are not the problem of societies failure to act, our politicians have failed us in that respect.


Where we have failed as a society is not shouting loud and proud enough about the things that really matter to us.  If we want the time to fit the crime then we need to shout about soft sentencing, we need to empower our police force and parents to be able to take control of children.  Our police are not scared of these thugs, they're scared of trial by media.

So true Reggie. One of my bug bears Reggie is the cry of "Why don't the Police do anything?" The job of the police is to maintain order, detect crime, collate evidence, find the culprit and arrest them. Maintaining order the first night of riots was damn near impossible through sheer numbers. Detecting the crime, collating the evidence, locating the evidence and arresting the culprits has been ongoing. There's no problem locking the perpetrators up. Job done and all with the constant soundtrack playing in your mind "is this lawful, is this reasonable and how will it look on the News at Ten". No one is willing to put their livelihood on the line for scum when they know they'll themselves be tried by media.  


Next comes the trial and one would hope punishment. But they are defended by solicitors, who the public pay for, given the minimum sentence by judges because there's no room at the inn(HMP) and social services (again at taxpayers expense) will plead special circumstances. They'll maintain any benefits without sanction and learn another dubious trade if they do go inside.


We all know what we want but we seem unable to get it. If every person who wants change wrote to the Prime Minister saying we want, for example, a return to corporal punishment in our schools/ minimum sentencing for certain crimes/ no time off for good behaviour etc., etc., you would think that the government would listen. But we give our vote to people who then back track and U turn so fast they could get in the Olympic sprint team.

We need to start telling our MP's that they are there to represent our views not what they decide is best in their view. We need to bite the bullet a bit and not kick up a fuss if a new prison needs to be built in our area to house these people IF we want longer sentences. Heck build a small one in every town if that's what it takes. We can always convert them at a later date if the day comes when we don't need them.


Other than to be fed, watered, kept in clean conditions I don't see what else we should be expected to provide for thieves, murderers and the like. If you do something against the moral consensus of society you should forfeit all other privileges until sentence is complete.

We need to review the european human rights act or failing that whether being in europe actually serves US as it should, We do not serve the EU politicians in the same way that we do not serve our politicians.  I'm not going all right wing, or anti-eu, these are simple questions that need to be looked at.  Prisoners rights should not trump public human rights.


There is a reason sentencing is as poor as it is, there is a reason that there are not enough prison places.  A few more prisons would facilitate people being locked up for long enough for it to be a deterrent, which would no doubt end up with less crime. 


I have a joke for you all.


A looter was injured whilst stealing omega3 tablets from holland and barret in tottenham.


His injuries are said to be superfishoil.



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