Yes, I agree it was blatant criminality, Yes I also agree that this was also a case of crass opportunism and greed, an element within our society that thinks it can just take what it wants, how it wants without any consequence or moral conscience.
It was also I agree "Gang culture" that orchestrated and conducted the proceedings, and lets take David Cameron at his word when he said
"For too long there has been a lack of focus on the complete lack of respect shown by these groups of thugs, For me the root cause of this mindless selfishness is the same thing I have spoken about for years - it is the complete lack of responsibility in parts of society"
And he is right! some in our society have no respect for property or a sense of right from wrong, some feel as if they have a divine right to do whatever they please and to hell with the consequences, they gang together, drink themselves into a near stupor and then commit mindless acts of wanton vandalism and arson, just for the sheer hell of it.
He is also right that he has been speaking about this for years, lets look for example what he was allegedly reported as saying back in 1986 explaining away a gang led vandalism and arson attack in Oxford.
"Things got out of hand and we'd had a few drinks. We smashed the place up and Boris set fire to the toilets"
|Bullingdon Club D C, top 2nd left. B J, bottom far right|
"Buller, Buller, Buller! Buller, Buller, Buller! We are the famous Bullingdon Club, and we don't give a f*ck!"
And if you have got the time this is worth a view:
So what separates their crass and reckless behaviour from that witnessed on the streets this week? and should we draw any parallels? Well for a start Gang membership is a more potent attraction, and recruitment far more easy when youngsters are away from any influence of parental control. For the PM and Boris et al it was because their parents sent them away from home to Oxford as the latest expedition on their boarding school/university careers, whereas in the inner cities there is often no parental control because in too many cases there are no parents, and in others the parents have little or no control of their own lives let alone their children's.
So in the absence of parental control these kids look to role models or diversion to keep them out of trouble, but when the local council has withdrawn all the funding for youth provision and all the local sports and social clubs have long since closed then they are easy prey for the gangs looking for fresh blood to carry out their drug running and other criminally based dirty work.
The rise in gang culture, and gang membership can be correlated directly with recent rises in youth unemployment and social deprivation, these factors are underpinned by economic and fiscal cut backs in public service. Jobless youths simply become more detached from mainstream life and quickly learn to disrespect its rules. In the first quarter of 2011 the unemployment rate amongst 16 - 24 year olds rose to 20% compared to a UK overall unemployment rate of 7.7%. As a result the numbers involved in street gang activity continue to rise.
Yes our kids are out of control, yes their behaviour is sickening, and yes whenever they commit an offence then they should be punished, you will not find many people leaping to their defence, that is understandable, but government and parliament have a duty to do more than simply be outraged, they have a duty to identify the causal link between the unacceptable behaviour young people engage in and social environment they live in.
I despair for the future of our estates in coming months and years, and I worry what sort of children these children will raise! but I can understand far more how they have got the place they are in than I can explain how those who have every privilege in life show the same lack of respect for property and public order.
And cutting back on youth services on those very same estates is not a good start.