Young people have been totally disenfranchised and are right to be upset about it.
The government’s cuts to EMA, trebling of tuition fees, scrapping the future jobs fund, cuts to youth services and the increase of police powers which discriminate against poor kids and ethnic minorities (a black person is seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person, for example) all make for radical and negative changes to young people.
The government’s cuts are choking off job creation and growth – there are no jobs for young people.
I am a university graduate and could not find any work whatsoever for almost eight months.
This is the background which we must view the recent riots across the country in.
Responses to the riots have varied, but there is one theme that has gained the most attention: rioters have no excuse for their actions.
This reason has allowed the government to give police more powers, which can only have negative consequences on the way young people view the police.
Water cannons and other means of breaking up rioting have been supported by the government.
However, rather than breaking up the riots, I fear these new weapons and powers will make rioting worse.
The riots ought to be condemned. There is no excuse for violence. What happened was wrong, and people’s lives have been set-back.
But we cannot ignore the context in which these riots took place.
The riots did not take place in affluent areas, but in the broken and deeply impoverished neighbourhoods in our country.
When the government gives the impression that it is not concerned with young people; particularly those less well-off, it is not a surprise that young people will feel that their hopes, which may have once been possible with the support they were getting, have now been dashed, and snatched out of their hands. The future hopes of these young people have gone.
If we want rioting to stop, then the government and people of this country need to pay attention to the real, desperate situations that many of our citizens are living in and improve, not reverse, the support that they and their communities rely on to survive.