- Stopping and searching - Darcus Howe talks about his Grandson in the clip.
- Unemployment specifically youth unemployment. Has been a trigger in the past and no doubt will be again the future. As an economist I see youth unemployment as the saddest unemployment of all.
- The perception of high level police corruption witness the Hackgate resignations. This undermines respect for the authority of the law.
- Knowing it is unlikely you will ever be able to afford to live near your family.
- That at a time when stock markets seem to be free falling your Prime Minister is on holiday in Italy.
- Economic instability in Europe.
- Uprisings in other countries.
- The, not totally explained, death of Smiley Culture.
- Kettleing of students who tried to protest peacefully against cuts.
- Death of Ian Tomlinson.
- Death of Mark Duggan
- Cuts to EMA pricing many of our continued education.
- Widening gulf between the haves and the have-nots in our society.
Tuesday, 9 August 2011
MPs like Flat Screen TVs too
To seek to understand, to empathise, to explain is not to excuse or to condone. Riots are complex events with complex solutions. I have been seriously saddened by the blaming and poorly thought out quips I have seen today. The only guarantee that comes from failing to analyse what is going on is to guarantee that it will happen again. Regular readers will know that much naval gazing about the causes and consequences of poor behaviour in, especially one, of my children go on within the pages of this blog. I agree with the BBC article in which a riot is described as multiple tantrums. For a long time I saw the phrase "Attention seeking behaviour" as loaded with negative connotations but now I see that, both in our children and in society, we ignore that need for attention at our peril. The media will shout we are too soft on our children, my experience as a mother will tell me that the opposite is true.
I love London. Not quite enough to live there you understand. I did live there, for a decade, and when it came time to have a family of my own, having milked the city of its economic benefits, I left. I have no moral high ground. My daily drive to work near the Stock Exchange took me through places like Peckham and Walworth Road where the people who weren't part of the money making powerhouse lived. All three places that are making headlines today.
Today, living in West Sussex, I just don't know what to think. Stock markets and tumbling and there is civil unrest. I read this article in the Guardian before Christmas predicting that there would be riots this year, it made sense to me, I guess I was just waiting for it to happen. Today the horror of the night time has been overwhelmed by the positive power of the clean up but still with a sense of what next? For as keen as some seem to rip ""their"" community apart there are others willing to piece it back together. Events like this show us the true complexity of human emotions and behaviour. Social networking caused the problem, social networking is the solution to the problem. Only a few days ago I was blogging about the fragility of teenagers and our decesion not to land a local teenager with a criminal record. Desperation can lead to a lone act like suicide. Desperation can lead to rioting. If you are not given responsibility how can you take responsibility?
"They have no career to think about. They are not 'us'. They live out there on the margins, enraged, disappointed, capable of doing some awful things."
Families may be comforted that their loved ones are home safe but it is the photos of huge groups of football fans and religious groups reclaiming the streets that have set me thinking about how people move on from this.
Once again I have cause to note that the big things are the little things. The little things cited here are
The leadership is our society from police and politicians is not giving our great role model messages but they will pass the buck to the parents of course. Of course the current politicians don't get it, the use of phrases like "fear and discipline" when trying to motivate the very public sector workers who are picking up the pieces go to the heart of their misunderstanding of basic human motivations.
Powerless teenagers can't do much with their anger, yes, physical damage is very shocking, very visual unlike a crime like 'phone hacking. Better late night television than the MPs expenses scandal. But MPs want Flat Screen TVs too, Here are three who tried to claim for one in the expenses scandal Menzies, Lembit Opiks, David Mundell Look at the roll call of items claimed for on the final link, I noticed pink lap top in there. Who is immune from the desire for the latest shiny technology? But white collar criminals don't need to smash up buildings to get what they want, they just add some noughts to the form. We don't learn from mistakes of the past, we cyclically repeat them, after 1981 CCTV was hailed as the answer to safer cities. It didn't work this time. The Poll Tax riots made it easy for the Criminal Justice bill to be past. There is a long history of protest and unrest. The need for attention hasn't been met. It will not go away until it is. As a teenager in North London said on the news "You only came for this, you would never have come otherwise."
When we feel right we act right when we feel wrong we act wrong. As true for my children as for rioters. For anybody ccriticism of the whole person can be very hard to take -"That was a bad thing you did" is more productive than labeling someone as rotten to the core. I have seen some shocking things written today. We are all human. Does doing one bad thing make you a bed person? In Norway by contrast behaviour that might be labelled as evil is responded to with more democracy. What ever you think of their actions it is hard to argue that we don't have a disaffected, alienated, excluded underclass in the UK, those close to the situation have been describing the dangers of further cuts to budgets for some time.
I think we have come to define the ownership of material possessions as equally happiness and creating a large part of who we are. The focus on desirable items that it is unlikely those looting them could ever afford seems to make the whole affair even sadder to me. Looting happens in unequal societies One person on their own having a riot is called a tantrum and as every mother knows in the game of tantrums it is all about prevention not cure. Once the tantrum is in full flow the best you can do is rub their back, reassure them you understand their conflicting emotions and tell them you love them as they pound the floor - you can threaten, you can punish, you can withdraw favours, you can physically chastise but if you missed those hunger and tiredness cues there may be little you can do until the rollercoaster is over. Prevention, staying connected.
Attachemnt parenting shows is that if we don't look after our babies when they erupt as teenagers it becomes everyone's problem, as Camila Batmanghelidjh writes so well caring costs but so do riots. I would add that it is unlikely that the cost of the repairing the damage caused by the riots will ever come close to the cost of the bank bail out operation.
I have no idea how I would behave in a different set of circumstances, I hope never to be so desperate but I suspect that everyone has a tipping point. The little things are the big things.