Wednesday, August 10, 2011

London rioters: disaffected youth or hoodlums?

londonriotPicture credit: National Post Newspaper

For too many young Brits, “fun” includes a rampage through public streets, burning and looting stores at random. One young woman in Croydon, South London described her evening of fun to a BBC Radio reporter as “…chucking things, chucking bottles, breaking into stuff,” and concluded with, “It was good, though; it was madness.”

Why are so many young Britons, seemingly, not able to tell right from wrong?

“The UK has more young people without work or education than even Romania and Bulgaria.

“Only four of the 27 European Union nations have more poorly educated and unskilled young people.”

Daily Mail
May 26, 2011

Some call the rioters Britain’s “lost generation:” the increasing number of children from broken homes coupled with high rates of school dropouts, which culminate, inevitably, in a high level of youth unemployment—there are 1.5million people in Britain who have never done a day’s work in their lives. Of these, 600,000 are under the age of 25.

For this, some blame absentee fathers, the gap between the haves and the have-nots, and a lack of decent role models. Others say it’s cause is rooted in the pervasive belief in self-entitlement among that island’s youth.

My belief is that the United Kingdom is plagued with political correctness—which is stifling that society—and an anything-goes, civility-is-for-toffs attitude. And not to be ignored as a contributing factor is plain old racism, which is never far from the surface in many circles. Permissiveness and a belief in actions without consequences are far too prevalent in today’s Britain.

These are impressions I have gained from afar, which were reinforced by visits I made to the United Kingdom in the past 20 years.

It’s time for parents to step up and be accountable for the attitudes and actions of their children—according to police reports, eleven-year-olds were involved in the riots. Discipline, respect for authority and self-reliance needs to be instilled at an early age and then reinforced throughout the education system. Rights need to be balanced with duties and obligations.

Social workers and those administering Britain’s many assistance programs must stop coddling their clients and provide their services with a greater degree of tough love. Healthy adults should not be on government support beyond a reasonable timeframe without having to contribute in a tangible way to society through work/volunteer programs, or some such pay-back device.

Authority figures at every level in Britain—in the home, at school and in Parliament—must teach and reinforce decent values, and lead by example.

I say all this as a former British citizen who has retained a great fondness for that nation and who is saddened by what I read and hear.

I fear that Britain’s institutions and culture, its society at large—traditionally among the most admired in the world—is on a downward trajectory with a dismal future.

And I’m even more fearful that Canada is but a decade or two behind.



© Russell G. Campbell, 2011.
All rights reserved.
The views I express on this blog are my own and do not necessarily represent the views or positions of political parties, institutions or organizations with which I am associated.

1 comment:

  1. I do not disagree with the various reasons given, but in my opinion the main reason is due to the British allowing political correctness to trump their traditional rule of law. We are headed in the same direction. When a country ceases to apply the law equally and fairly to all law-breakers regardless of colour, religion, sex, ethnic identity or whatever, this is the result. The bottom line is if you reward bad behaviour, expect more of it.