As the dust begins to settle a week and half after the violent disorder seen across the UK which started in Tottenham following a peaceful protest over the fatal shooting of Mark Duggan by Met police officers before spreading first across London and then onto Bristol, Birmingham, Leicster ,Nottingham, Manchester and Liverpool. I feel it’s time for a reaction from someone who counts themselves amongst the young community of London.

The scenes of that week were undeniably horrific, embarrassing and hurtful to all of us, and that includes ‘us young people’ too. One posting on facebook “If any of you decide to get involved in the riots and brag about it on here, I will actually give the police your name and any other information I have on you.”

But all of this local sadness makes little difference to the fact that the international image of London and the UK as a whole as been undeniably damaged less than a year before we host an event which involves public order policing on an all together larger scale if different in nature: The London Olympics.

And this is not just an issue of PR, it is one of politics too and as the nations ears rang with flawed Tory rhetoric extolling the virtues of a harsh criminal justice system in which rioters, many of whom live in areas charecterised by social deprivation and suspicious attitudes towards both the police and the state, and their entire families were punished through the removal of benefits and social housing. Many failed to recognise the important points left unspoken  as a false moral high ground was set out with no room for debate. These riots took place against a backdrop of deep seated public anger; at Government spending cuts ; nearly a million 16-24 year olds unemployed; trebling of tuition fees and crucially the removal of Education Maintenance Allowance for many. None of these issues excuse the violence and it may not have been at the forefront of the minds of those nicking themselves a cheeky pair of trainers but they go along way to explaining why violence spread so quickly.

Yet despite this the cuts to youth services are certain to go ahead, I only wish that in time the public will see this Governments many erorrs of judgement for what they really are, before it’s too late.

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