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.
lol....... very amusing Reggie
As regards the serious stuff, it's got to be a combination of contributory factors but I think primarily the 'cause' was just opportunistic greed and a great desire to cause mayhem and run amok.
However I did come across the two posts below on this subject that I generally found myself agreeing with. What do you think?
I think there is a fair amount of truth in some of that but I think they are missing the point, because it's not just unemployed feral youths, its ages 10-50 by the looks of things, quite a few from outside the particular area, I personally found evidence of some of this being pre-planned by activists too.
I found a bristol based website on monday night/tuesday morning with a flyer naming specific areas involved in the bristol rioting, giving details on how to evade being caught by the police, how to hold up under questioning, listing the number and email address of a local solicitors. I also saw a picture of this same flyer that a guardian journalist had found in tottenham that has tottenham specifically named in place of the bristol areas.
I also believe that our police have been disempowered through the treatment of people on demonstrations over the last few years and the public and media roasting the consequently got, WE reaped what WE sowed. The police acted in the same manner at millbank when the conservative headquarters was attacked, meekly.
We have more than enough police to deal with these situations, we just don't have joined up laws and sentencing, criminal human rights should never trump normal citizens human rights.
What I would like to know is, in the areas that rioted, Hackney, Tottenham, Toxteth, Handsworth, all of these have been known to have issues for decades, why have the policies that are supposed to be helping the most disadvantaged failed so miserably? What exactly have the politicians and councils in these areas been doing all this time?