We’ve seen tremendous unrest in London over the last couple of days, whether it continues remains to be seen, either way the issues involve need to be properly identified and tackled. Certainly the initial protests were in response to the Mark Duggan incident, of which an investigation is warranted, however hereafter there are a number of issues within these communities prompting prolonged and aggrevated confrontation.
First though not primarily, is the issue of distrust of police in these areas which has been a festering issue for some time and will require significant political involvement in both the culture of the Met and the communities themselves. Secondly are the economic factors, with 20% unemployment among 16-24 year olds and 40% of those in work in service jobs it shouldn’t be too surprising that they have issues with the class structure of Britain, and this leads to my third point. The political establishment has no knowledge of or contrition over the plight of the youth in Britain, this I mean in a political rather than social or pseudo-psychological sense, there is a vicious cycle when it comes to young voters and non-voters. They are usually deemed to have no interest in politics and are therefore ignored and all policy concerns are diverted to the parents, yet the reason for the apathetic youth is lack of engagement from politicians, what understanding or preference can a young person concieve if they are never involved in the conversation?
The fourth point is likely the most obvious, opportunism. While parental discipline and negative cultural influences certainly have an impact, the main causes of this opportunism are the systemic effects of poor education and prospects, with a school system that forces teachers to focus only on the narrow curriculum in an effort to boost the schools ratings a wider knowledge and developed logic are passed over leaving young adults without the tools to achieve beyond their circumstances.
Violence and theft should be punished, yet Britain has a habit of bypassing reform in the quest for justice.