By blaming “the youth” we are in great danger of missing the point!

Published On August 11, 2011 » 1954 Views» Politics

Lets blame someone – Quick!  That seems to be the order of the day for Westminster.  The “Youth” are getting the brunt of it, and everyone is now soul-searching about whose policy is to blame!  But by focusing on what the youth never had and blaming the riots squarely on the youth, we are going to really miss the point of what has happened in the past week.  While there was many 16/17 year olds involved in the riots, there was also a lot of people who were much older, up to 40 years of age. 

What we need to realise and accept is that it has happened, We need to see stong and clear leadership from all our leaders, not only from Parliament, but right down to our local community leaders too.

We need a clear message to be sent out, by apprehending and prosecuting those responsible.  But we also need to look a bit deeper.  When something happens like this, the claims are all similar, it’s “the Youth”, “the Immigrants” etc, but we have to realise, labels are not the answer!  If it is the youth, then why have we let it happen.  They are our children and our communities.   Why on earth would the youth feel part of a community, when all that community does is call the police on them all the time to get them moved on.  If it’s a lack of community spirit, then its our community, why have we let it die?  One of the aims of what we have been doing in Kingsway is to build up a sense of community and I have to say, it’s not easy.  You can not just snap your fingers and make it happen.

The best leadership I have seen locally is at the hands of the Police.  From the top, right down to the bottom.  From the Chief Constable of Gloucestershire, Tony Melville, setting the right example in words and action, right to the front line Police, such as PC Lucy Kay, who used the likes of Twitter to keep everyone in the community alert and aware of what was going on and emphasising the need for community support.

Listening to Nick Clegg this morning, he made me feel sick.  Up to now, I have actually had some personal respect for him, he made a tough decision to go with the Coalition and has been leading his party down a very rocky road.  I have not agreed with what he has done, but you have to admire the strength and ability of a person who can lead like that.  But this morning I heard him all over the radio and on the TV discounting any responsibility at all and saying how on earth could any of the decisions in Parliament have any baring on what has happened in the riots.  Mr Clegg, wake up call, everything you do in Parliament has an effect, if not, why are you bothering? 

I think the government need to take this as an alarm bell.  We are talking about the lack of community spirit, yet many of the community building blocks are going to struggle and maybe fold.  This should be a huge banner for David Cameron to make “Big Society” work, but in practice it shows that it could rip the fabric of our society apart.  Many of the Cuts have not properly come in and people are already scared, and as this riot has shown, it only takes one spark in one area and things blow up and escalate at a frightening rate. 

 

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6 Responses to By blaming “the youth” we are in great danger of missing the point!

  1. Joe K says:

    The thing is, Barry, I don’t think anyone *has* blamed youths alone for the disorder in Gloucester. There was someone going by the name ‘speak_out’ on TiG, trying to make a spurious connection (spammed on three separate articles) between youth workers being made redundant and ‘young people rioting’. He/she put me in mind of exactly the kind of local Labour mischiefmaker that has put me off the party for so long now. Most people do accept that even people with jobs were out there making trouble.

    The problem in Barton & Tredworth, it seems to me, is that however many times Ian Mean hands out some patronising guff about what a wonderful example of a multicultural society it is, many of the people who live here, I’m only just starting to understand, know which residents, shop-owners, even so-called community leaders, are living on the wrong side of the law. When the opportunity arose, some people may have taken the opportunity to get payback that they couldn’t by legal means. Or the criminals themselves took the opportunity to damage rival businesses.

    The honest answer would be to root out the criminal elements. I don’t see that happening, though.

  2. Joe K says:

    Co-incidence, or something more sinister..?

    Seeing James Hoddy’s name up there reminded me to have a look at the Young Gloucester Labour Facebook page. I still can’t bring myself to ‘friend’ it/him. I’m more a well-wisher. Under his name, I see the address, ‘http://www.labour.org.uk/speakout’…

  3. Barry says:

    Joe, I was really reflecting the national picture. I got quite angry at comments from Westminster blaming it on the likes of Single Dads, and the Youth etc. They seemed to be spending a lot of time talking about the disaffected youth when they only accounted for 20% of the arrested people (thought its early days in the arresting).

    Am not sure what you are referring to with the Co-incidence side of things?

    Jon – To be honest, Im not – He has not admitted that Labour caused it, he is hard over that was New Labour, like it was some sort of disease of the party that he is cutting out. He seems to be hoping that by labelling this way like it gets everyone off the hook. I think its a shallow move!

  4. Joe K says:

    I was talking only about co-incidence, just couldn’t resist completing the cliche…

    It’s just that I guessed that ‘speak-out’ was coming from a shallow Labour perspective, and then I look at Young Gloucester Labour’s page and there was ‘speakout’ again.

    Maybe not so much co-incidence as subconscious association, as Hoddy’s was the first comment, and thus perhaps made me think about those comments and mention them…

    Actually, I see that as well as Hoddy, Parmjit Dhanda hasn’t mentioned the disturbances on his blog. I can’t check anyone else’s, as I always relied on clicking your links, and you don’t seem to have them any more.

  5. Barry says:

    Sorry Joe, I have made a separate links page and am repopulating. Many of them are still there, I just thought my frint page was becomming very big and long, and wanted to sort it out a bit. It also means I can add more links without worrying about just how much people are going to be annoyed by it.

    Let me know what you think, (see the links menu at the top).

  6. Joe K says:

    Oh, I see it now. Yes, that make sense. Still don’t see Dhanda’s link, but as he hasn’t posted anything since December, you might be reluctant to draw attention to it… 😉

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