Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Excuses For the Riots Debunked

Since the riots have subsided the excuse makers have been busy trying to find justification for the feral mobs that burned working and middle class families out of their homes as well as laying destruction to local businesses and people's workplaces. Wednesday's Guardian gives a few of them a platform in which to try and rationalise mob rule.

Last Thursday's edition of Young Voters Question Time on BBC 4, also revealed a disturbing antipathy to the concept of law and order by members of the audience and a palpable hatred for the police.Rudeness and an inability to converse and share ideas in a diplomatic manner were also on display in that the majority of these young people (between 18-35) wouldn't allow each other to speak or finish a sentence. Indeed, the presenter, Richard Bacon, had a hard time trying to facilitate discussion due to the lack of manners and etiquette needed to conduct a civilised debate. Myths and a multitude of excuses were put foward by members of the audience and have since been repeated by many commentators in the media. I will attempt to dispel a few of them here.

1)The killing of  Mr. Duggan by the police

How can stealing a wide screen TV from Currys or thieving a shiny new tracksuit or burning your neighbour's flat down be interpreted as a justifiable expression of grief and anger over the death of a stranger? The logical extension of this form of reasoning would allow anyone who felt aggrieved by any kind of violence to go out on an orgy of looting and destruction as a means of releasing anger and frustration. It would be like hearing that an elderly woman you never knew had her house broken in to and then responding to the news by torching your local family run corner shop. And as a local community worker observed on the program, where was the public display of anger at the twenty young people murdered in his borough in London by other young people over the past year?

2) Poverty and Inequality

Whilst I abhor the inequality that exists in the UK as a result of decades of neo-liberalism and indeed am a victim of it myself, it doesnt naturally follow on that this gives me a reason to loot shops, commit acts of violence and terrorise my community. The poverty that exists in the UK is of a relative kind. The welfare state in Britain provides the underclass with housing, benefits, education and a health service, all free of charge and the envy of sub-saharran Africa. I am not saying they have an ideal life, but their basic needs and those of their children are met. Whilst working in Supported Housing with today's poor I observed how many of them were so well fed they were obese and that they had money to spend on cheap alcohol and recreational drugs. The majority of them also possessed luxury electronic goods such as laptops, playstations and the newest in mobile phones. They may be poor compared to the folks that live in the mansion on the hill, but they are wealthier than the monarchs of medieval Europe. The grinding abject poverty that existed in Britain during the ninteen thirties (see Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier) and that of the post war rationing period never led to marauding gangs of unsocialised teenagers ransacking their communities. The reason being that in those decades there was no uncivilised underclass and although society was too rigid and authoritarian we have now gone to the other extreme. The working classes of this earlier epoch had a sense of backbone and a collective set of norms to which they adhered and a Labour party that promoted collective values. Cultural relativism and the doctrine of non-judgmentalism that pervade the public sector along with the enchantment with all things materialistic thanks to the triumph of neo-liberalism have eroded the responsibility of  some young people to act in a civilised manner with respect and consideration for others.

3)Unemployment

Several young rioters being interviewed on Sky News claimed that because they couldnt get work they were taking revenge on the local businesses and high street chain stores that had overlooked their job applications. As recipients of the already generous welfare state and as products of a comprehensive education system that eschews the concept of personal responsibility by labelling badly behaved children with non-existent psycholgical conditions such as ADHD, ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder) and CD (Conduct Disorder) these young rioters have been imbued with the notion that their behaviour is not their fault and that it is the responsibility of the state to cater to their every whim. They will have been indulged in this fallacy by every agency of the state they will have come in to contact with be it their schools, social services, supported housing sector, youth offending service, youth workers, Connexions and so on.  Whilst I believe strongly in the welfare state I believe that every citizen has reciprocal rights and duties towards her or his fellow citizens which precludes burning peoples homes and places of work to the ground. The UK's youth unemployment rate runs at around twenty percent and Spain's is at forty percent. The reason the Spanish youth are not rioting is that they have strong communities. Above all though their police force wouldn't spend days debating with politicians whether using water cannon was an infringement the human rights of criminals who were blighting the lives of working class communities.

4)Boredom

A middle class girl in the audience on the aforementioned BBC programme claimed that as young people are so bored what with being unemployed and not having enough youth clubs to go to they took to the streets out of frustration with the dullness and ennui of their existence. I like to call this the 'Throwing One's Toys Out of the Pram' theory. In other words, if I am not indulged and provided with entertainment and leisure by others I will terrorise my community and the lives of my neighbours. This excuse is actually insulting to the majority of the sullen, withdrawn and bored teenagers who don't resort to arsonry or throwing molotov cocktails at the police just to kill some time. I spent a large proportion of my teenage years rigid with boredom but I never once thought I would alleviate the monotony of my existence by setting fire to a school or stabbing one of my friends or a passer by as we spent hours stupified with disaffection up alleyways and on street corners. A few years ago, I used to volunteer at a Youth Club which provided the youth in the area with meaningful activities and somewhere to socialise. However, it was taken over by young hoodlums who disobeyed the rules and bullied and victimised their well behaved peers. When I challenged them I had a bottle thrown at me and a bin thrown over my head. As is usual I got no support from the other staff as they were afraid of the thugs and instead they tried to reason with them which didn't work. I almost responded Clint Eastwood style to this attack, but in the interests of keeping my job in the school next door I restrained myself. We had to close the Youth Club for several months as the manager couldnt control the rough element that kept turning up and the police and local people complained about an increase in anti-social behaviour in the area on the nights it was open. It is a glib prouncement to asssume that the building of a Youth Club will eradicate anti-social behaviour and boredom is a pathetic excuse for violence and destruction.

To end on a positive note, there was one young black man in the audience on Young Voter's Question Time who stated that it was the lack of respect for other people and their own communities that were the cause of the riots. He too was unemployed and relatively poor he stated, as were his friends, but at the end of the day he remarked that his mother and other people in his community had instilled in him with respect for others and his fellow human beings. This is the challenge that Britain must now rise to and that is instilling a common value system based on respect for others and the rule of law in our young people. This will involve a complete reversal in a lot of the social policy and a re-imagining of the welfare state where individuals are encouraged to not see themselves as victims and passive recipients but as citizens with both rights and concomitant responsibilities towards members of your community.

49 comments:

Patrick Byrne said...

The programme was on BBC Three.

Anonymous said...

A Couple of points immediately jumped out at me when I read this post:

“Rudeness and an inability to converse and share ideas in a diplomatic manner were also on display in that the majority of these young people (between 18-35) wouldn't allow each other to speak or finish a sentence. Indeed, the presenter, Richard Bacon, had a hard time trying to facilitate discussion due to the lack of manners and etiquette needed to conduct a civilised debate”.

Politicians on Question Time are always interrupting each other and even Dimbleby struggles to facilitate decent discussion on some occasions. Also have heard the shouting, jeering and general rudeness that happens every day in parliament?

“The grinding abject poverty that existed in Britain during the nineteen thirties and that of the post war rationing period never led to marauding gangs of unsocialised teenagers ransacking their communities. The reason being that in those decades there was no uncivilised underclass and although society was too rigid and authoritarian we have now gone to the other extreme”.

The Battle of Cable Street took place in 1936. This was sparked by Moseley’s Black Shirts who were gaining popularity due to the poverty and desperation of the times. 150 demonstrators were arrested and 100 people were injured including police, women and children. In the 50s there were extensive race riots in Nottingham and Notting Hill. In August 1958 around 400 white "Teddy Boys", were seen on the Bramley Road attacking the houses of West Indian residents. That sounds like an entirely uncivilized marauding gang to me.

“The UK's youth unemployment rate runs at around twenty percent and Spain's is at forty percent. The reason the Spanish youth are not rioting is that they have strong communities, possess family values and have a less generous welfare state”.

I wouldn’t speak too soon on this. There could well be riots in Spain if their economic situation doesn’t improve. There were massive riots in Greece last year due to their failing economy - despite the fact that they too possess family values and have a less generous welfare state than ours.

“the challenge that Britain must now rise to and that is instilling a common value system based on respect for others and the rule of law in our young people”.

I agree entirely and there is always room for changes in social policy. However, there also needs to be a cultural shift that rebuilds lost trust in our social institutions. Those in authority need to lead by example and we need visionaries not reactionaries to restore hope. Sadly political and financial power lies in the hands of crooks, liars and cheats and I can’t see this changing.

Anonymous said...

Winston further to your article;

I noticed in the paper today that alongside the articles blaming unemployment for the riots were articles describing quite a few court bound rioters who actually have jobs.

In another article the lack of sporting opportunities for todays youth was described as a cause of the rioting. A few pages later one rioter was described as a trainee football coach and another listed as a member of the British Judo team!

TonyF said...

Absolutely Spot on. Especially the bit about 'Poverty'.

OddJob said...

I don't think anyone could really argue with any of that. By the way I have just finished reading your book (coincidentally I was halfway through it during riot time) and it is excellent. I'd definitely buy a follow up if ever there was one.

Fishpaste said...

Sir, your continuing efforts at exposing the maladministration of your part of the public sector are of such crucial value that I see you in the same vein as the Victorian reformers who exposed the abject poverty, squalor, and exploitation of the working classes in the 18th century. The same spirit that resulted, eventually, in the abolition of slavery runs through this work like a beacon, as does the eloquence of your writing. Greatly done! Thank you.

Chris Henniker said...

I'm actively looking for work and to say it was caused by unemployment is something I actually find insulting. I'm applying for jobs, often 4-5 a day, yet I don't start fires or smash windows. Even if I'm turned down for a job, I never attack people.
This is an over simplistic justification for pure idiocy, as it implies these riots are a mechanical response to a mechanical problem. Last year, I helped conduct a survey on travel patterns in what would be the worst hit area near me (Woolwich)and someone from social services said the people who lived there were "McDonald's chip eating morons". The last person I interviewed was one. When I asked him what his religion was, guess what he said? He said: "English!" He even had the filthy tracksuit and nicotine stained teeth. I even wrote a feature on the experience for college.

Sonia said...

I have been engulfed by the underclass all my life and I agree with everything that Winston says; I enjoy reading his thoughts and experiences. Poor behaviour is not just about poverty, as some of the people I've known were not poor at all but were happy being very thick, crude, vulgar, aggressive, racist and leading very unhealthy lives. These people hated anyone who refused to lower themselves to their level. The poorest of the underclass were their own worst enemies, going from one self-inflcited crisis to the next. All the underclass I have known, without exception, had a victim complex especially whenever their diabolical behaviour was criticised. I don't think those who constantly make excuses for the underclass have spent that much time with them. However, I do not want to see benefits cut or evictions; people still have to be looked after in a civilsed society. Decent paid jobs for everybody are the key to everything. The devil makes work for idle hands and all that. Of course some will always refuse to work but I think most would work gladly. I also agree with anonymous that the crooks, liars and cheats have all the power. The underclass are a big industry for so many. Finally, I have to point out that some of the weirdest and most dysfunctional people I have ever met were social workers; they were often madder than their clients. Social work has very low standards and that is a big problem.

Anonymous said...

I just reread your early posts - full of useful insights into the system based on your experiences. It was really revealing and intersting. I work in a similar sector I see a lot of what you described. I learned a lot from reading those 09 / 10 posts.

The difficulty is now it's like reading the writing of a newspaper columnist but without a editorial feedback. Unfortunately a lot of blogs start out well then become very politically aligned and end up preaching to the choir (or becoming a straw man for angry people on the other side who hurl abuse). We need the former Winston who did reportage more than ever now.

Joker the Lurcher said...

while i can't argue with the common sense of a lot of what you write, i think you are in danger of letting your rhetoric run off with you when you write about 'labeling badly behaved children with non-existent psychological conditions as ADHD, ODD and CD'. i don't know much about ODD and CD but ADHD is certainly not non-existent, nor is it psychological. its a neurological condition which has a profound impact on people with it. i am one, as is my son. i have used my ridiculous amounts of energy to good effect and i hope he does the same.

i agree with you is that no condition under the sun is an excuse for behaving in the way we saw recently.

Nathan B said...

What's wrong with reading a book?

Poor people can join the local library - free books (with a time limit)!

Being unemployed gives you more time to read books. You can even read ones that can improve your chances at getting a job, i.e. learn a new skill.

I constantly read books to get away from the everyday boredom of 9-5 life (after 9-5 of course).

The problem here sounds like that there is a demographic of people who (a) can't read; and (b) love to steal.

Hmmmm...

Jen aka Nanny Wales said...

Absolutely spot on Winston, nothing can excuse the mob/gang violence we witnessed two weeks ago.
I would however say that I think we must bear some responsibility, I have seen it said that over the last 30 years there has been a gradual deterioration in moral standards, I would say longer than that, since the sixties which saw the rise in the Counterculture. No one would argue that certain things at that time had needed to be addressed, especially in the area of discrimination be it against race, handicapped people and certain other minority groups.
However over subsequent decades we have allowed things to go to far.As parents we always want better for our children, than we had, but along the way we have allowed our indulgence of them get way out of control. Consumerism also has a part to play, advertisements that target and tell youngsters that material things are most important.
The argument that Government/ bankers have set a bad example, doesn't hold up either, does anyone really believe that example was running through the minds of these feral youths as they burned looted and committed acts of violence?

They did it because they could !
Because we have lost control due to bad parenting, and by Human Rights legislation on corporal punishment.
Haven't as yet purchased you book but its on my 'Wish List'.

WinstonSmith33 said...

@Joker the Lurcher

I should have been more clear re:ADHD. Yes, there exists some genuine cases of this but I believe it is widely misdiagnosed in the education system to excuse bad behaviour and because it then lets the Senior Management teams off the hook in controlling badly behaved children in that if the child is 'sick' then there is nothing we can do is there? The other conditions ( ODD and CD) though are total nonsense.

Mary said...

You talk so much sense, Winston. I was a social worker years ago in an area with some pretty nice ex-council houses. The tennent were decent working class people. There was a tower block nearbye full of junkies who were terrorising the decent people. The council decided that they would build good houses and move the riff-raff from the tower block into them in the hope that good housing would turn them into law abiding citizens. When the houses were completed with double glazing, central heating, gardens ect.the tower block tennants refused to move because the council wasn't paying them enough 'disturbance money' to compensate for the psychological stress of moving house. Yoy can take the scum out of the slum but you can't take the slum out of the scum.

debsdigest.com said...

I'm recommending your book to all and sundry and I hope you've sent a copy to David Cameron. I object to tax payers' money being spent pandering to the whims of thugs. When Cameron took charge he said that he would make sure that teachers would be able to discipline pupils once again and that some of the nonsenses of Human Rights would go.
I haven't seen much difference and he's been in power for over a year. A friend who is a deputy head was recently head-butted and punched by a nine year old and she was "allowed" to touch his shoulders to restrain him. AS well as the line up of hoodlems could we have a line-up of human rights supporters please.

WinstonSmith33 said...

Thanks Deb.

- English Dad In Moscow - said...

A very interesting read thank you very much.

I have my own opinion and my opinion is a long distance one but still an opinion, I think based on common sense.

See:
http://www.englishdadinmoscow.com/2011/08/london-riots.html

Anonymous said...

I too watched that program and I was almost in despair until I heard that black lad talk. He was like a lone voice in the widerness I would give him a job if I could the rest.........no chance.

- English Dad In Moscow - said...

I've posted your link on the Telegraph forum in praise of your article and informative reply. Its a forum for Telegraph readers most of them are retired or in their 50's but I though they would find it interesting. Good luck with the book and I hope you can get some common sense across to the masses some how some way.

WinstonSmith33 said...

@Englisd Dad

Thanks

Count said...

Hello,

Have you had a chance to read this article? http://www.economist.com/node/21526396

I would very much like to hear your thoughts about the matter, as it seems that you should have a clear view if those policies would work or not.

BenK said...

Read your book a little while ago - a compelling if frustrating text. Now reading about the recent riots in Britain on blogs and in news papers makes it all sound much more urgent.

Dack said...

I was teaching a class near the end of last term and (can't recall how the subject came up) one lad declared 'There's no way I'm going to pick up my dog's shit.'

We spent the rest of the lesson discussing why that statement summed up the essence of the problem.

Bill Butler said...

It seems you guys have as much of a problem with untamed savages, and the intellectuals who enable them, as we do here in the US.

Anonymous said...

"They may be poor compared to the folks that live in the mansion on the hill, but they are wealthier than the monarchs of medieval Europe. The grinding abject poverty that existed in Britain during the ninteen thirties (see Orwell's The Road to Wigan Pier) and that of the post war rationing period never led to marauding gangs of unsocialised teenagers ransacking their communities"
Winston I agree with you 100% however a lot of the rioters do not have the education to understand this - and they are very unlikely to see it on the news.

WinstonSmith33 said...

@Count

I agree with Bill Bratton's approach in involving community groups in policing matters particularly with the emphasis on not tolerating anti-social behaviour.

I also think that a mentoring programme for young males on the fringe along the lines of the Eastside Young Leaders Academy should be rolled out across the country. However, at the same time as offering genuine mentoring and support (carrot) there should also be tough consequnces for violent crime and nuisance anti-social behaviour (stick). However, Britain seems to be so hopelessly inept at affecting any real effective social change over the past few decades. We also need to deal with inequality and shrinking opportunities in the economy which also contribute to social disengagement particularly when coupled with a society that also fails to effectively socialise many young people it is a recipe for greater division, fragmentation and social breakdown.

Louise said...

Bill Bratton is over rated and over hyped. Anyone would think he eradicated crime in LA. In reality there are 200 plus gangs in that city and they intimidate people every day.

Seriously, do you believe everything you read?

David C said...

Did big brother get you Winston? We're missing you. I read your book since your last post - excellent work. I hope you are busy with another one.
Best wishes.

WinstonSmith33 said...

Hi David,

I have recently decided never to work again in this demented sector so am afraid my blog has come to an end.

I hope it has served a purpose and shown how that when it comes to trying to guide and direct the young people of Britain society has abandoned its duty.

Hideki said...

Sorry to hear you're no longer working in the sector, without people like you bringing attention to it I wonder if it will ever get any better...

Still, thank you for your hard work over the last few years (and indeed your book), much appreciated and I wish you luck in the future.

David C said...

Good luck then, I am sure we will hear from you again, though maybe not as Winston Smith.
Thanks for trying to change things. Who knows, maybe one day common sense will be back in charge.

Zella1920 said...

Dear Winston

You are probably right to get out of this sector of work as it can easily affect both your physical and mental health (I worked in a similar area until earlier this year although on the periphery not on the front line and saw many colleagues near to breaking point if not actually at it yet) but I feel that if they keep losing people like yourself the sector cannot help but be poorer for it as will the young people.

All the best, I hope you find something where your common sense is more appreciated! (Maybe there is another book in you yet?)

Regards

Zella1920

Outreacher said...

Well thank goodness for that!

The ever growing number of disaffected and unsupported young men and women in this country need help, support and encouragement to help them get their lives on track, the last thing they need is judgemental people full of right-wing rhetoric such as Winston.

As a society we have failed so many people from underprivileged backgrounds and if we are to turn this country around we need to embrace and empower these unfortunate people, not deride and belittle them as Mr Smith takes great joy in doing.

Anonymous said...

Oh for God's sake Outreacher, knock it on the head already. I repeat, just because people do not hold your views they are not all right wing gits. Still you fail to come up with any other argument than this, weak mate, seriously weak.

Working class people despise the likes of you. Whilst you are correct that society has failed these people, I would like to point out that it is your section of society that has done so. You and your ilk are the destroyers of individual agency. You need their poverty (be it fiscal, moral cultural, whatever)to feel good about yourself.

Seriously leave us alone, we are sick of you.

Anonymous said...

Oh for God's sake Outreacher, knock it on the head already. I repeat, just because people do not hold your views they are not all right wing gits. Still you fail to come up with any other argument than this, weak mate, seriously weak.

Working class people despise the likes of you. Whilst you are correct that society has failed these people, I would like to point out that it is your section of society that has done so. You and your ilk are the destroyers of individual agency. You need their poverty (be it fiscal, moral cultural, whatever)to feel good about yourself.

Seriously leave us alone, we are sick of you.

David C said...

Can Outreacher be real? I think she has been invented by Winston to show how pathetic the other side of the argument is.

WinstonSmith33 said...

Sadly outreacher is not a figment of my imagination. To give him/her some credit he/she has their heart in the right place but his/her preferred methodology is the one currently in vogue in social policy circles.

If the current social policies that Outreacher espouses worked we wouldnt have yearly increases in recidivist youth offending as well as the hight rate of negative social outcomes for those leaving care. If gangs of marauding youths looting, burning and attacking people in their own communities isnt evidence that current social policy towards dealing with socially disadvantaged young people has failed then I dont know what is.

Zenobia said...

Outreacher, the sort of touchy feely bollox promoted by your ilk is probably part of why Winston quit. Thus there's one less person in this sector who actually seems to want to help. And that's a shame and a disgrace.

LeicsMOP said...

I hope you're able to apply your skills and willing attitude effectively in another sphere Winston. I too bought and read your book as soon as it was released, it was fascinating reading.

Best wishes for the future.

Anonymous said...

ANONYMOUS said this. anonymous is the problem. Drivelly sentimental generalisations which amount to nothing more than 'someone should, er, do something' Write to your MP. he'll put your 'ideas' in the bin like everyone else. Anonymous thinks he cares. Anonymous couldn't care less like everyone else. It someone else's responsibility. Thanks for your useless input.:
"I agree entirely and there is always room for changes in social policy. However, there also needs to be a cultural shift that rebuilds lost trust in our social institutions. Those in authority need to lead by example and we need visionaries not reactionaries to restore hope. Sadly political and financial power lies in the hands of crooks, liars and cheats and I can’t see this changing.

Gunslinger said...

As another support worker in the vulnerable youth field I sympathise with you Winston. I myself am trying to change the direction of my career but mainly due to management issues. I myself have many qualifications in this area of employment and when I am gone it will leave an organisation without any staff with even the most basic qualifications, whether this is viable I do not know but I will be glad to be out of there.

fatpie42 said...

Hi Winston,
I don't know if you are still checking the comments, but I wondered what your opinion was of this:
http://www.outoftrouble.org.uk/

It looks to me like an organisation focussed more than anything else on encouraging a lax attitude to youth offences. Asides from keeping youths out of "prison" (their misleading way of referring to YOIs), they suggest that they want to increase funding for social workers, but to do what they don't appear to say.

If teachers were told that they needed to put less pupils in detention but were not given any alternatives, it seems to me that no amount of extra funding would solve the problem.

Would your thoughts on this go along similar lines or am I missing something important here?

goff said...

The anger is getting louder and louder.
As we speak i have just heard that the bankers will escape Scott free from it all and no one will be convicted of fraud..

RBS report won't examine role of Goodwin and McKillop in bank's collapse

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/banksandfinance/8933475/RBS-report-wont-examine-role-of-Goodwin-and-McKillop-in-banks-collapse.html#disqus_thread


The elites and their middle class army who help them stay rich are paying lip service to the poor working class who are on the outside looking in hoping to be tossed the odd morsel or two but the wanton greed has stopped anyone at the bottom getting any of the trickle down effect.
Anger and envy are a dangerous mixture.
We have the corporate bosses paying themselves 45% pay rises while a working class lad gets £57 to live on,
and people wonder why they are angry.

We either make our society a fairer place for ALL to live in or expect more of the anger that took place on our streets but next time it will be on much a larger scale and people will be hanging from the lamp posts after people do what normal law and order should do and that is to rid us of those corrupt police ,politicians and elites who think it is their right to control 90% of this country's wealth.

BACK PEOPLE INTO A CORNER WITH NO WAY OUT AND THEY WILL FIGHT YOU.

Anonymous said...

Winston I agree with most of the things you write about and I too, used to work in the public sector. I simply can't work in it anymore because of oversimplistic answers to very complex issues and problems. I was often a fairly senior person in the public sector and it was often impossible to manage staff who thought nothing to 'back chatting' ganging up and acting as bullies. To set targets they interpreted as bullying, and I was given some simplistic justification for why they couldn't do what had been asked of them. I do understand, thankyou the person who thinks that to have a contrary opinion to the dominant left wing culture, what it means to come from a 'deprived' background thank you very much, as I come from one myself, However, I was taught the value of taking responsibility and not always dumping the blame onto others. I feel strongly about the class system and how it damages people's life chances, but what can damage that even more is an attitude that alot of those youngsters thinks is normal and acceptable. That is what is keeping them down. Learning to labour is how sociologists call it. Have low expectations of people and they will live up to it, have high expectations and they will live up to it too.

tony carney said...

ive just started an e petition to get rid of supporting people and save the country 1.6 billion pounds. If you agree please visit the governments e- petition website and sign Thanks

Michael McKelvey said...

For Christmas I read David Lammy's Out of the Ashes and found it and your blog fascinating. I am from Belfast where public disorder is also not unknown - interestingly in the East Belfast where the June 2011 rioting happened the truancy rate for teenagers in the relevant council ward is 40% - the UK national average is 7%, could there be a link?

Anonymous said...

Where have you gone?

Anonymous said...

Why no more posts?

Anonymous said...

Wow this post gets wronger and wronger by the day, unlucky. Still that's what happens when you just post reactionary rubbish