Friday, 12 August 2011

Croydon Clear Up and Lessons Not Learned

The dust has settled and calm has been restored to Croydon. A combination of an increased police presence and local community groups has returned our streets to its residents.

Some of the still boarded up businesses and empty window displays tell the tale of the mob's fury. That wilful destruction we saw on our tv screens, of the decades of blood, sweat and tears that had built so many businesses and homes from the ground up.

In the past week, I have listened to numerous political commentators and MPs all focusing on the identifying the causes of these 'riots''. The truth is, we already have our answers.

30 years ago after the Brixton riots, Lord Scarman declared the reasons for the riots as being "complex political, social and economic factors".

What followed was a flood of governement funding directed at town regeneration, addressing diversity issues, policing, training schemes for young people and the expansion of a benefits system, which is now so vast and often abused, that it is widely acknowledged as being no longer fit for purpose.

Despite all of those initiatives, Scarman's words remain as true today as they did back then. While you can continue to throw money at problems and hope they go away, and then as we are about to experience it, cut that funding, there is one constant that remains throughout - society.

If society would rather indulge in the ruthless instant pursuit of material things, instead of investing in itself and its core values, then you will end up with the society you deserve - a broken one.

Where selfish people without morals, boundaries, education and ultimately employment, choose to express their unhappiness with their lives by destroying the very communities they live in.

That is what happened this week.

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