As I’m writing this on Monday evening, London is having it’s third night of riots and fires.
The news channels are already making a big deal about the ages of some of the people children involved and asking random people: “Why oh why oh why??”.
Well maybe here are some clues:
A 2008 BBC article – UK Society ‘Demonising’ Children
The joint report by children’s commissioners for all parts of the UK said attitudes towards youngsters were hardening across the country.
The experts said crime committed by children had fallen between 2002 and 2006, but the numbers criminalised had gone up by just over a quarter.
Their conclusions are part of a United Nations review of standards in the UK.
Another from the same source and same year: UK is Accused of Failing Children
The UK has been accused of failing its children, as it comes bottom of a league table for child well-being across 21 industrialised countries.
The authors say they used the most up-to-date information to assess “whether children feel loved, cherished, special and supported, within the family and community, and whether the family and community are being supported in this task by public policy and resources”.
It’s generally acceptable to describe young kids and teenagers from certain social-demographics with the derogatory term “chavs”.
We install devices that emit nasty sounds that only teenagers can hear to stop them “loitering” in groups where we don’t want them (it’s called “free assembly” for everyone else, a legally enshrined right)
The papers print headlines about the “feral youth” and tell teenagers that adult society is scared of them.
Tell people they’re worthless, that they’re criminals, that they’re dangerous.
Tell them often enough and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
So whose fault is it, Mr Journalist? Go take a look in the mirror. You’re certainly partly to blame.
Or put another way:
And before any smart alecs mention Otis Ferry or Charlie Gilmour – they weren’t rioting.