I never watched Jeremy Kyle’s TV show until this Summer holiday. Kyle hosts a show where family members outline their personal domestic dilemma. There is a common theme to the disfunctionality Kyle daily hosts. Individualism trumps responsibility, greed and consumerism beat generosity or community hands down. Part of what has happened to Britain since Thatcher fundamentally rebooted society is now being played out nightly. Thatcherism never went away you know! It’s all back with a bang.
The investment in communities that Hessletine oversaw after the riots of 1981 was effectively a sticking plaster. Communities have fallen apart not because of a lack of money but because of society has left young males mostly black behind. Societal changes in terms of skills set necessary to get on, the value of education, the need for a sense of responsibility both in terms of family and in the wider community have left some sub sets behind. Where there’s a vacuum alternative values will take off as a sub culture where new values that dictate power and esteem within peer groups seem alien. Young males seem to be at the bottom of the pile in Britain and even within that sub group, young West Indians seem to be even further down the pecking order.
Deploying extra police and scrambling COBRA to deal with the issue as if those responsible were Al Quaida members won’t really achieve as much as a good rain shower. The old fashioned right wing analysis of conscription or short sharp shock is as obsolete as the left wing analysis of community neglect by local and central government. After 1981 Michael Hesseltine did see that housing stock was updated, that communities did get the investment needed in terms of leisure centres, educational supports and youth projects. These communities have much more than many that I know in Wexford but such investment cannot make up for a societal value change.
Society has changed greatly, the looters are to organised mobile phones, blackberries seem to be the first thing to rob, followed by the top brands in sports wear. Then there are the designer clothes that can be sold on the black market, the plasma screens, the branded products and of course there’s the alcohol. The 21st century rioter cares for the planet, recycling the empty bottles as petrol bombs. For the 21st century rioter it is all about power. I find it interesting that young males in the bond markets are playing havoc with the euro and company stocks. The young generation seem to be saying to older generations you haven't got the power you thought you had once.
David Cameron last year said he didn’t believe in the importance of multi culturalism. This is an enormous mistake Any society that ignores the warning signs is in trouble. If you want an insight to the mentality of those presently at the heart of this tune into to Jeremy any day.
Ireland is no longer a single culture society and we should carefully watch what is happening in the UK. Our minorities are smaller, they are more dispersed throughout the country and more integrated. However for us there also remains the real possibility that if societal values were to change here the result would be no different. There’s a real fear