Political Promise

City on Fire

In Matteo Bergamini on August 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

Matteo Bergamini is a Londoner left ashamed and shocked by the rioting that plagued the capital last night. 

Thick black smoke rose into the night sky and rioters burnt another building to the ground. The fire brigade not daring to step into the lawless streets let people’s houses burnt to the ground. Stores were ransacked and employees locked in their stores, scared of the streets now ruled by mobs and gangs. Police sirens could be heard over the screams of people, yet no sign of the protectors. Last night, it seems, the thin blue line collapsed. Welcome to the 2012 Olympic city and Capital of our country.

It is hard to describe how or why such a tragedy took place. Some speculate it was organised by underground societies who started the movement to show police and the government that people can only be pushed around so much. Others suggest it was simply opportunism, gangs of youths deciding to go on a rampage robbing as much as they could possibly find and carry. This second suggestion is the favourite of main media platforms as the BBC hinting many times last night “it is just mindless violence”. The way people took advantage of the lack of police is clearly shown by a man waiting for the green light before crossing the road, while holding a TV he had just stolen from a shop nearby.

To me however this shows the lack of police in major cities now, the incompetence of some parents and the failure of our educational system. One girl when “interviewed” just shouted “I am taking back my taxes!” She, like so many, is a product of our system, a system that is failing the next generation. We are creating a generation of lost lives and this can be directly blamed on poor schooling and parenting. If the schools were to administer a dissent education then the rioters would have known that robbing shops is far from “getting back your taxes.” However schools are only half the child’s life, the parents is the main disciplinary factor in a child’s life, or better yet they should be. Many of the rioters were between the ages of 13-16, which just begs the question of what the parents were doing when their child was ransacking a load of shops?

It was quoted in the Sunday Times last Sunday that  1 in 3 children is leaving primary school this year without having mastered essential reading, writing and arithmetic skills. The national test results showed in fact that more than 30,000 11 year olds are leaving school with a reading age of 7 or below! With such a poor start in life and little to do thanks to our stagnant economy can we really say that we didn’t bring some of this upon ourselves?

It is clear to me that these riots started for one reason. In Tottenham because the police shot an unarmed man, this created a huge uproar which escalated. However the escalation will never be justified by that shooting and indeed many of the rioters in Birmingham and London probably didn’t know the name of the man shot by police. Indeed when interviewed a girl gave a reason totally separated from why the Tottenham riots started. Ignorance is a dangerous tool in the wrong hands and even more so if left to fester on its own. I believe this was proved last night and possibly in nights to come.

  1. Great article! The riots throw up a lot of questions that need answering about why there is such disquiet! Clearly the scale of unrest represents the scale of discontent amongst people especially the young working classes.

  2. thank you. Indeed it does, however I also believe it shows how bad our educational system is. The girl shouting “I am taking back my taxes” shows how badly the last generation is educating huge amounts of our own. Its a sad sad reality..

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