As every one knows by now parts of England suffered some of it's worst civil unrest in living memory. There's no point going over it again, we've all read about it, we've all seen the pictures, some readers may even have been directly affected. The question that needs answering is who was to blame. Absolutely no doubt in my mind, the people that took part. Plain and simple.
The bigger question, and the one that needs serious action to resolve, is who is to blame for those taking part thinking that it is ok for them to act in such a manner. Unfortunately the answer, in my opinion, is all of us. The majority apprehended so far appear to have been in the late-teen age group so are what could loosely be described as a generation. Keeping (as best I can) political bias out of the following list, this is a generation that has grown up with (in no particular order):-
- Parents that have been allowed to shirk their responsibilities in teaching their children the difference between right and wrong and the true meaning of respect for themselves and others. Children have grown up thinking that they can act as they like without any responsibility for the consequences (some even seem unaware that actions have consequences)
- Teachers who are unable to force a child to behave and/or knuckle down and learn because they may be accused of infringing the child's "human rights".
- Schools wasting more resources on the disruptive minority than the majority who are there to learn.
- Police who must be sick to death of apprehending criminals (especially juveniles) only to see the courts hand out the softest of punishments (if any at all) sending out the message that breaking the rules doesn't really matter. And afraid to take split second decisions when urgent action is needed for fear of later prosecutions if anything goes wrong.
- A system of benefits and tax credits that have almost enslaved a portion of society to non-employment. Even those that genuinely want to work find that to take a job means that due to loss of benefits they would actually be worse off.
- Unrestricted immigration which means that many that are prepared to work find that jobs have already been filled by others coming here from other countries.
- No sense of true leadership in the country. Agree or disgree with her policies can you think of any PM, or MP even for that matter that has truly given the impression of being a Leader capable of being in charge of the country since Thatcher?. The expenses scandal also lost a lot of respect for the government, many seeing it as "them getting away with it"
- Concentration of academic acheivement at the expense of vocational training. Admittedly everyone has the same opportunity in our education system, but there are some who are simply not capable of (or not interested in) academic acheivement. They may well be capable of laying bricks (just one random example) and earn good money from it but where is the vocational training in schools to help direct them down a more suitable path?
- A growing culture of instant gratification, an "I want it and I want it now" attitude. Reward without effort. We've all seen reports of how much the likes of (for example) Wayne Rooney or Rio Ferdinand earns How many that aspire to his lifestyle have been shown the dedication time and effort it took them to get to the top of their profession to be able to earn it.
- The banking crisis has caused economic difficulty which can breed resentment. The banks had to be bailed out, the alternative would have been far worse. Yet I have never seen an official version of why, set out in a simple everyday language to help people understand the situation. Lack of understanding fuels resentment
- An environment where "political correctness" often over rules common sense, and the "rights" of criminals seem to take precedence over the rights of victims.
I have long said that allowing a section of our society to grow up with the attitudes of those seen causing the problems this week is a bigger threat to our country than any terrorist group. Maybe this week was the wake up call the country needs. I said above we are all to blame, what I meant is that, in general, we have all allowed the above factors to happen with no real protest. Maybe the country as a whole needs to be a bit more pro-active when it is clear that things are going wrong with society, instead of moaning about it amongst ourselves but effectively burying our heads in the sand. Although I am now treading on dangerous ground, some would say that is exactly what has been going on this week.
What are the answers? I don't have them. It's often said that National Service bred respect and responsibility. I can't see that ever being reintroduced, but maybe some form of Citizenship test should be passed before a child is considered an adult?. Punish parents for the actions of their children? Maybe parents need to pass a test before they can actually have children.? It should be ensured that no-one who actively wants to work should be worse off by taking it. No-one should be able to simply avoid work (out of choice) and live off the state without contributing something back. And above and beyond somehow a sense of community, of togetherness, or responsibility and respect to ones neighbourhood needs to be installed. Maybe the Krays and their like had the right idea all along?
It's important to remember that despite the huge media frenzy over the disturbances those taking part are still in the vast majority in our country. I'd like to think that the picture below of one of the many clean up operations by volunteers still represents the true England. But, if problems continue to be ignored, for how long?
|Broom Army photo by @Lawcol888|