Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Tories got it wrong on cause of riots

The official governmental enquiry recently published its report into the cause of the summer riots. Unsurprisingly, the tories and right wing tabloid journalists blaming it all on a feral underclass of gang members was wrong.

As the Independent reports:
  • Only 13% of rioters were involved in gangs
  • Two thirds had eduational special needs
  • 42% had relied on free school meals
  • Nine in ten had failed to achieve five A* to C grade GCSEs
  • Over three quarters had previous convictions
What this shows is that the vast majority of rioters lacked education, lacked prospects and lived in poverty. While it doesn't excuse what they did, it is easy to see how people with no hope and no money decided to steal things when they saw the police standing by and letting people get away with it.

It also shows the folly of harsh sentences. If three quarters have been punished for breaking the law before then it just goes to show the truth in the mountain of evidence proving that prison sentences make people far more likely to reoffend than if they are given community punishments combined with rehabilitation.

As I said at the time, the only lasting solution to the riots will be to tackled the underlying social causes. This means improving education and reducing inequality. I think policies like the Lib Dem's pupil premium to provide more money for the pupils from poor backgrounds are a good step in the right direction but both the government and society need to do far more.

1 comment:

  1. Only the Tories, living in their isolated world of mansions, weekend shooting parties and dressing for dinner, would have taken the easy way out of the riots.

    "Just the scum, my dear fellow, don't worry we'll bang them up for a few years. Pass the port would you?"

    But of course, unless you actually understand the cause, you can't understand the remedy.

    There are millions of people in this country who are so angry that their lives have to be seriously affected by the greed and incompetence of a very few people at the top and in the finance industry.

    Mos of them had little to do with the mess that their lives are in. There are no jobs for them. The factories that once employed hundreds of thousands on production lines are all but gone, and those that remain employ a fraction of the ones that have gone.

    What else can they do? Once they would have left school on Friday and started in the mill, mine, foundry, or whatever, on Monday. Now they sign on.

    They have very little, and most of what they do have is crap.

    And even that is being taken away from them.

    In the meantime, those that caused the trouble, have been rewarded, all as if nothing had happened.

    It reminds me of a line from the Bible:

    For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.


I'm indebted to Birkdale Focus for the following choice of words:

I am happy to address most contributions, even the drunken ones if they are coherent, but I am not going to engage with negative sniping from those who do not have the guts to add their names or a consistent on-line identity to their comments. Such postings will not be published.

Anonymous comments with a constructive contribution to make to the discussion, even if it is critical will continue to be posted. Libellous comments or remarks I think may be libellous will not be published.

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Oh, and if you persist in repeating yourself despite the fact I have addressed your point I may get bored and reject your comment.

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