Wednesday, 17 August 2011

shocked out of silence

I haven't blogged for months, being busy with other things, but these riots and the government reaction shock me into writing. The hoodies clearly see themselves as at war with society and with the police in particular; the last thing we should do is declare war on them with rushed court hearings disproportionate sentences and talk of water cannon and rubber bullets. Extreme action will provoke extreme reaction.

The disaffection of many young people is the result of thirty years of market-driven politics, with school playing fields sold to developers, cuts to funds for youth clubs, discrimination against single mothers and so on. We are constantly incited by advertising to want more and more material goods, yet many young people are poorly educated and have poor prospects. At the same time they hear stories of billionaire bankers, politicians fiddling their expenses and police selling stories to newspapers.

In the 1950s and 60s the tax rate for high earners was 90% on both sides of the Atlantic, and investment in schools, technical colleges and universities was improving the lot of the relatively poor. Now we are becoming a caste-ridden society, with the 7% whose parents can afford school fees taking command again. Our old-Etonian Prime Minister declares war on hoodies - just what they want!