The London Riots: disenchanted youth

August 17th, 2011

Where, oh where, to begin with the recent riots – a sight so horrifying that when she saw it on the TV screen, even my nan, who has seen everything, said “I don’t believe it…well I never…I’ve never seen that.”

Usually I would laugh or make some smart comment loosely disguised as agreement. Not this time. Because what I saw on the screen before me genuinely shocked me.

I said shocked, not surprised. If there’s one thing I wasn’t it was that.

See, this has been coming for a long time. You can say that it’s the fault of fatherless children, as the Prime Minister so boldly stated, but isn’t that a cop out? To my mind, this was in the water years ago. After all, we live in a culture which is obsessed with fashion and having the latest gadgets. So when people saw that they too could have access to the latest gadgets and get away with it, it wasn’t surprising that they jumped at the chance.

here has been the general conclusion that funding being cut in the youth sector was a bad idea

A friend of mine, who works in a particular HR Software firm which was very badly affected by the riots, said that he feared for his life when the rioters attacked the building he has worked in for ten years. And this isn’t like him. This is a man who knows how to defend himself, too. The only conclusion I can come to is that being trapped inside that place while it came under attack was no different from being inside a devastated war-zone.

And all the debates in the world won’t change that.

Mind you, some good has come from this. For example, there has been the general conclusion that funding being cut in the youth sector was a bad idea. Another is that the youth of today have been bombarded with so many mixed messages that they can’t fail to be confused, and that this confusion is bound to manifest itself as violence at some point.

One thing we all must remember is that we are all responsible for playing our part in the futures of the youth. Let’s remember that we are the adults with some insight, so it really is up to us to show them the way and make sure they don’t go off the rails again.

Naturally, it would be wrong to assume that because the riots are over, the problem is solved. That by far isn’t the case, and it’s a fact which the Prime Minister needs to come face to face with if he’s ever to win over the coming generations.

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