So we went out to the cinema the other night, I will admit to being a little apprehensive as the cinema is in one of the area’s that was hit by riots, but at the same time I didn’t want to let that crap stop us from doing something that we had planned for a while. (Yay for Orange Weds). It was eerily quiet when we got there, I don’t know if that was because it was just after 7 and so the shops are closed anyway or if people were being extra cautious. We weren’t the only ones in the cinema either, quite a few people were there to watch Captain America (I enjoyed it, felt a little bit cluttered plot wise, preferred Thor). And coming back I have to say I’ve never seen so many police officers on patrol, saw at least a dozen in just that small area. They weren’t dressed prepared for riots, but their mere presence should hopefully have deterred people.
In fact it seems to have been fairly quite across the country these last 2 nights, large enough police presence hopefully deterred the rioters. (16,000 in London alone, normally there’s 3000-6000.)
Still now people are talking about how to punish those involved and what the causes behind it are, and there see to be one or two massive and sweeping generalisations!
The biggest? That everyone involved in the riots is on benefits. There is a petition (it was on 78k signatures last night not sure what it’s on now, if it hits 100k then it will be discussed in parliament, which doesn’t mean it’ll get passed in the slightest. ) that demands that the benefits be cut/removed from all those who took part in the riots. That is a) assuming that everyone or almost everyone who took part is on benefits and b) that these people are collecting benefits themselves (and aren’t say the children of parent(s) on benefits.
First to a) I suppose it’s possible the vast majority may have been, but at the same time now that they’ve started to charge people, there’s been a teacher, a millionaires daughter, someone who wants to become a social worker another training to become a nurse. I suspect these people are probably not on benefits. So this is a completely pointless petition in that respect.
On to b) the age range of the rioters is quite mixed (from 11 years old to 47) however for the sake of argument if many of them are quite young, and potentially living at home with families who may be on benefit (see point a on that!). Then what? Your going to cut the benefit to the whole family? Is that what you want? Benefits that the parent(s) might need to feed the whole family (if there are more siblings) pay the rent etc. I can’t see how cutting the benefits would help in the slightest. These people are poor, your going to make them poorer making them angrier? Are you ok with just potentially letting people in this country starve? (Yes I know the price of food is going up and tax is higher etc but that’s a separate issue.) Are you ok with kicking a whole family out of their council house because one family member did a terrible thing?
Yes the rioters need to be punished, but I’m not sure that I can agree that this is the way to do it, give a prison sentence or even community service (make them give something back!) but I do not think cutting benefits is the way.
One of the other things being discussed is why this happened, poverty, cuts, a loss of morality + other factors. (I suspect it’ll be a mix of all of that, as well as the fact that in a riot people are even more stupid than normal.) That a lot of the problems are to do with our own cultural perceptions and not the system (which considering C said we villify teenagers could well be the case). But if it is to do with that and things like people lacking respect for authority lacking respect for the places they live. How do you change that? How do you make people learn to take more responsibility for themselves. To make them realise that looting and burning someone’s shop is the wrong thing to do.
I did mention to C the other morning that maybe when people are younger, we perhaps need to look at giving them more work experience. I know we have apprenticeships, but perhaps we need to start something at a younger age? Things where they can see how say Maths applies to the real world or just where they can take responsibility for something. I even mused as to whether something like being at sch0ol 4 days a week and then doing work experience or apprenticeship or something on that 5th day a week might work. To which C pointed out that people would throw their arms up in the air and cry out in despair, because children must been in school 5 days a week.
Now I am not a teacher and am just airing my thoughts here, but it does strike me that it was only just about 100-150 years ago when the Victorians were starting to push to get all children in to education. They dramatically changed the system, tried to get all those children who were working in factories and mines to be able to read and write, to have a chance in life and not die because a mines collapsed or got an arm caught in a machine or something equally as horrible. Is it possible that our current education system isn’t working, is it possible that we too need to dramatically change something? Yes kids should be taught science and history and match etc but do we need some way of integrating (for want of a better word) them into the ‘real’ world a little more? Of course then you also need to balance out the fact that they are kids and they should be allowed to have fun and to some extent not necessarily have to worry as much about ‘real’ world issues.
I don’t know perhaps that all sounds just a bit silly?
I just want to finish with a few more comments.
Firstly I caught a bit of Question Time last night, and then had to turn it off not long after because C got very annoyed and grumpy at the utterly stupid question/statement from one woman, who was asking/stating that because she didn’t see any police on one night in question (Monday maybe?) that they had done that deliberately. WTF?! How dare you. Yes there were issues with there not being enough police, with them not using the right tactics initially and with them to having to PROTECT the fire crews so that the could put out the fires, which meant they couldn’t always deal with the rioters. I don’t relay like being rude about people but seriously that is moronic.
On the other side of things here is an article that tells things from the police’s side of things, the long hours the lack of food.
What gets me is this bit: “As officers had their leave cancelled many expressed anger that unlike MPs, whose expenses and flights were paid to return to Westminster, there was no compensation for officers for cancelled holidays and transport.”
I am somewhat disgusted by this, the officers put themselves into harms way for us. MPs I’m sure earn more than the police do, and yet the police don’t get their expenses paid for having to cancel/come home early?! These guys put themselves on the line for us, and this is what they get back? It’s not right.