Cleaning up the physical mess of the horrendous riots of last week may take months. Clearing up the mess caused by broken trust and shattered societal bonds in already deprived communities will take far longer. In so many ways, the violence will have horrendous consequences for all involved.
Politicians and thinkers have been quick to offer their reaction to the violence and the reasons behind it. Knees have been jerking on both sides of the political spectrum. In many cases, the gut reaction of both left and right is wide of the mark. People need to go beyond posturing and rhetoric and consider ways to ensure that this will never happen again.
Many on the left have underestimated the importance of strong families
Some on the left, such as Ken Livingstone and Harriet Harman, were quick to blame the government’s cuts. Whatever you think of the government’s deficit reduction agenda, it would take some argument to suggest that a culture of alienation and nihilism has sprung up in just over twelve months. The social issues that have provided a fertile territory for this violence have developed over decades—blaming the government’s cuts programme is using the riots for short-term political gain.