As I watched the shocking images of the riots last week the main emotion I felt was sadness. I just felt it was incredibly sad that such a large amount of people just simply didn’t care about the society and community that they were part of. The fact that so many seemed willing to join in the destruction and looting without trying to mask their identities was shocking.
I then started to think about the fact that many of these young people who were taking part in such blatant criminality would go on to have children themselves. What hope for those children? The fact that many of the people arrested following the riots are not ‘youths’ but people in their late 20s and 30s just goes to show that this disengagement from society is not just a new thing that we can blame on the youth of today and the state of education in this country. ne of the questions that kept getting asked as the riots were taking place was “where are the parents?” but how many parents of these children actually feel the same level of disconnetion from society around them.
Of course, in the days following the riots, the questions about why it happened began and many people were keen to blame various factors such as poverty and boredom. I really hope that in the weeks to come this doesn’t just end up with people arguing with each other about who or what is to blame. The crucial thing to keep in mind is that no matter whether we agree with the reasons given by those involved in the looting and rioting it happened and therefore something needs to be done to ensure that it doesn’t happen again on this level.
When I hear reports about those being convicted losing their benefits and being evicted I just worry about the long term – doesn’t this just risk escalating the situation by making even more families feel even more let down by society. Of course they need to be punished and as politicians are keen to say – “feel the full force of the law”. But in the long term what can be done to re-engage with the youth and indeed the communities who don’t believe that they belong or have a role to play in society?
I really hope it doesn’t descend into party political squabbling and the Government actually takes the time to speak to those who work with these young people and work in these communities to gather ideas and advice on how to move forward. I think we have to accept that budgets need to be cut and therefore do we need to be more creative in our thinking?
If the Government doesn’t involve teachers, youth workers, charities in these discussions maybe we should use the power of Social Networking to make our voices heard and also to represent all those young people (especially from deprived backgrounds) who would have been shocked and sickened by what they witnessed on their streets last week.
If you have any thoughts and suggestions on how we can re-engage with these ‘young people’ then please leave a comment below. I am not interested in any arguments about what is to blame – let’s just take it that they are many, many factors that have led up to this point and that they will be many, many solutions.