On Saturday 13th August I was part of the Channel 4 debate on Street Riots: The Live Debate. It was an honour to be part of this important discussion and listening to what was said, observing the behaviour of some of the contributors and even having a chance to offer a solution. 

My husband and daughter were mobbed by a crowd of rioters on the Monday night on their way home. My 11 year old was terrified by the ordeal. Some of the shops in out HIgh Street were devastated by the actions of the mob.

I spoke with some of the shop workers affected before I went onto the show. A local estate agency was smashed up. They said that since the riots their busy office was now deserted. People walked by thinking that they were closed down. The lady I spoke with said, "We are trying to entice people to live in the area. But who wants to live somewhere that seems as rough as this? It has affected our business badly."

The manager in our local Tesco Express spoke of how frightened his staff were, and the impact of being closed for 3 days. Tesco may be a huge company, but the workers are local individuals who felt terrorised by the actions of a few people.

My niece spoke of how a gang hid in their car outside her home in a quiet cul-de-sac in Croydon. She and her baby daughter were also terrified.

So I understand the human impact of the situations. 

But I am also trying to understand the social influences that created the situation in the first place. I don't know it all, but I have seen it and experienced it all. 

There has been an undercurrent in our society for a long time. The problems in our society run deeper than just pure bloody-mindedness. Our politicians sit with their affluent lifestyles and expensive educations and they don't understand what it is like in the real world. Even if they can't work, they have trust funds to support them. What makes it worse is that they stole and robbed and lied over their expenses and then they condemn the rioters for looting and stealing. Pots and kettles. I do not agree with looting and stealing and arson and rioting, but I agree less with the way in which their twin brothers and sisters: politicians, are speaking about them. Lawlessness is caused by disillusionment. People in jobs are scared they will lose them. Cuts, cuts, cuts and more cuts. They are still trying to cut the police by 20% despite there not being enough police on the streets when people lost their homes and businesses were razed to the ground. Politicians need to recognise that we are in a revolution. Even when the riots are over, unless the real issues are acknowledged and dealt with these undercurrents will continue to brew and will explode again. One of the biggest issues in this country is the lack of ability to parent and teach children effectively. Social Services and the Government have taken away discipline by telling children they have all these rights without telling them about the consequences of these 'rights'. Part of the rights includes parents:
  • not shouting at them (emotional abuse)
  • not smacking them (physical abuse)
  • not being forcibly kept at home against their will (various types of abuse)
Parents who do these things are often threatened by their kids that they will report the parents and under current legislation: children do not lie. If a child says something a parent is told "the child said it therefore you cannot deny it and you cannot argue with it." Trust me, it was said to me.

In a society where authorities can threaten parents with all kinds of sanctions and even accusations of abuse are logged as criminal offences, parents are too scare to parent. They are told to keep their children at home, but if the children choose to go out, it is illegal to restrain them or lock them in. It is illegal to fight back if your child attacks you. 

I know someone whose son had his hands round her throat after breaking 2 of her ribs. She struck out at him to get him off her and hit his head. She was told that she could be charged with assaulting him.

In this screwed up and twisted and perverted moral climate, we wonder why there is no choice but to sit in despair. Teachers are accused of abuse if they try to discipline children in school. Morals and values are no longer taught, but homosexuality as 'normal' is forced down their throats, even if it is against the child's religion.But then we are told that we must cease to be Christian and allow all other faiths to celebrate their festivals. We sit and watch unfettered immigration stifle our access to decent education and jobs. Parents are not forced to teach their children English before entering primary school. As a result, English speaking children are held back by those who don't understand a word the teacher is saying.

My aunt is a supply teacher. She has said how difficult it is to teach children who have little or no English. People are allowed to live here for years. Given council houses and benefits, but they don't speak a word of English.

Integration is discouraged, with communities of foreign nationals congregating together and turning parts of the UK into no-go areas.

Immigration is a great thing when it encourages tolerance and enhances communities. But allowing ghettos to form and not enforcing a minimum language requirement to stay longer than 6 months is stupid and ridiculous. We are an island and we simply have no more space.

People are sick of seeing how their lives are being worsened by changes. Prices are going up. Wages are going down. Benefits are being cut. My husband works between 60-72 hours a week just to earn enough money to match what we had on benefits. Why work then? Because it gives him a sense of duty and self-respect. 

By cutting benefits and jobs at the same time we are creating a country where people cannot afford to live. People on benefits are called scroungers and scum. It won't be long till they choose to become what they are accused of being. And hence we see the riots.Furthermore, the politicians are refusing to listen to their constituents. Young people, students, disabled people, low-income families are fed up with being demonised and ignored. Middle income families are finding it harder to make ends meet. Yet when the riots kicked off, the most important politicians refused to leave their expensive holidays to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with those who had lost their livelihoods. Police were left to face the frontline without the support of their politicians and without enough resources to meet the need. The public became more angry, more determined to get what they could out of a society that said "You don't matter any more."Innocent people lost everything and the criminals are being rounded up and punished. The first is tragic and the latter is reassuring. But instead of knee-jerk reactions to the crisis we should recognise that we are in a revolution and that it is time for change and effective change.I am not trying to apportion blame to immigrants or police. In my opinion the blame firmly sits on the shoulders of the Government and their ignorance about the people they represent.Two last thoughts:
  • Taking away benefits from criminal offenders that are not convicted and evicting social tenants is not the answer. If those people have nowhere to live and no money, they are more likely to turn to bigger crime to survive. You can't get a job easily with a criminal record and with no home. It will create an even bigger problem in the long run.
  • Politicians should be paid minimum wage and be forced to live on the amount of money they ask the rest of society to live on. Perhaps then they will truly know the reality that the majority of society are forced to live with.
Food for thought above and I hope you understand that this is my opinion.
steve hilton[leicester]
15/8/2011 01:48:37 am

hello kizzy , i have to laugh at all these mps saying its all to do with backgrounds , mmm , so a millionaires daughter gets caught along with an olympic ambassador , and teaching assistants , no sorry thats garbage , i was on a discussion board other day' an 18yr old black girl from wolves who obviously had tunnel vision she didnt listen to anyone , i stated to her that most gang crime is black on black gangs , in london , that is actually a fact , now my mrs who is not rascist says to me " they dont help themselves " doing it ,
yes there are alot of kids from crappy households , who basically havent got respect for anyone , , the parents i feel seem to just ignore them , do wat u want , no way would i let a kid of 8,9 10 be roaming the streets at like 11pm , these kids who got caught rioting , who lets be honest nothing will happen to them , there parents need prosecuting ,
like u mentioned this country has so many stupid pc things , u cant hit kids , i do and mine r 15 & 17 , i do not let them disrespect me show off in front of there mates , it doesnt bother me , the exception is these parents that abuse there kids cuz they aint got time for them and probably feel they are in the way , we had riots in Leicester , on Tuesday , nothing major a few windows smashed in city centre , and decided to loot pound stretcher of all places , over next 2 nights Leicester police , stopped and searched ppl that looked suspicious , anyone wearing masks and scarves over there faces got pulled up , and even kids roaming the city centre on bikes got stopped and there bike tyres let down , they also put pictures in our local paper and 3/4s of those have either handed themselves in or have been arrested , they got no praise , Birmingham and London followed suit 2 days later with the mask thing ??? why.
kids nowadays want everything now , so these riots proved it , tv's mobiles trainers stolen , community's are standing up to these idiots , a major problem cud of happened in Birmingham regarding the murder of those 3 guys , it cud of fueled race riots , if it did kick off i think there wud probably be trouble everywhere.
so what is the solution? , gang leaders that prey on the youngsters , need bringing to court , parents in bad areas need educating more about the dangers of gangs , they need maybe more contact with the schools there kids go to , if there kids are showing problems let them pull the parents in , i hear its bcuz theres no father figure banded around in the press , wat a load of crap , thats just an excuse , in america its the mothers that rule the roost, lack of jobs , government cuts , etc etc , are not an excuse for wat these mindless idiots did , there hard up we are told , but the kids all have blackberry phones , every part of the uk has dodgy areas , its upto that community and the police to talk to each other , dont blame the police for wat happened , they are limited to wat force they can use, that is a" government problem"
i can understand the anger among the british public saying u send billions to other countries in aid , and yet u wont do anything here to help , it is very wrong, personally i think that is a major problem we feel let down , we cant continue sending silly money to africa , , yes there kids r dying , well sorry we have heard this for 30 years now send them contraceptives not money ,in our society they wud be done for child neglect , cuz as we all know the african government is corrupt and most of these places who have famine r run by islamic extremists ,

15/8/2011 02:17:47 am

Hi Steve,

Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the time and thought you put into your response.

I agree with a lot of what you say, especially about aid to Africa. We need to remember that charity begins at home.

I agree that there was a considerable amount of sheer criminality and terrorising going on with the riots. I agree they started for a 'reason' and ended with copycat behaviour.

Parents do need educating about gangs. I live in an area with serious postcode wars. Iain Duncan-Smith talks about the work he does in Waltham Forest and it is ok where I am. I have not seen the gang violence on my street , but it has happened nearby.

I was in Jamaica last summer. The country is 'poor', but yet they too have mobile phones. In fact Digicel is now 4G not even 3G. They have food growing on their land, they have very low taxes and a free hospital treatment. Yet they still beg and steal and have no shame in doing so blatantly. It is also a dangerous country and full of corruption and bribery (the police cars all have stickers on the back with a number to call to inform about corrupt police it is that bad).

The youth of today live in a me-first society where they have no respect for their elders and no respect for their communities. We used to have a 'don't shit in your own backyard' code of conduct, but that has eroded.

But we must still appreciate that there are always root causes. To deny they exist is to remain blinkered to what we cannot always see. To dismiss this and not address the real issues puts us in danger of it happening again.

I still believe the government need to LISTEN and to consider what we are saying. We do not need to read bout asylum seekers renting houses for £8000 a MONTH in West Hampstead.

I am British born and bred. I want to be proud of my country but it is falling apart around me. I don't want to be a casualty of my skin colour and tarnished with the same brush as other people without a white skin, but I have to accept that in some circles they can't see beyond it.

I never felt black since the 1980s except in 2 places: Scotland and London. The best place I ever lived was Bolsover (Boza) because people didn't see my tan; they saw me. If I don't look in the mirror I don't see it either. But society does and it sickens and saddens me in equal measures.

We need policies that increase our pride in our nationality without giving away our identity to satisfy those who choose to live amongst us.

Tensions are rife and people are angry. Unfortunately that anger has been misdirected and has caused so much misery to so many innocent people.

The police did the best they could in a difficult situation. I admire their resolve and their guts in dealing with the marauding mob. I am glad I was not one of them. Politicians on the other hand?

We need to stop blaming lone parents and benefits claimants. But we do need to ask questions of those who are cutting services to young people. I believe we should bring back National Service at 18; whether military or voluntary, but it should be a condition of every citizen. I also believe that immigrants and asylum seekers should be forced to undertake National Service as well s a condition of living here for the first year. They need to gain adequate English and communication skills, pride in their chosen homeland and respect for our values and customs as well.

I also believe that communities of immigrants should be broken up and total integration should be mandated. the Human Rights Act needs to be amended to give parents back their parental rights and to stop people who have never paid into a system from claiming from it.

Harsh but that's my opinion.

Thanks Steve for giving me more food for thought.

steve [leicester]
15/8/2011 03:34:20 am

i can go off on one sumtimes lol , but yes this country is the pits i hate it ,i understand the colour thing , all my daughts mates are black , and i hold my hands up and admit, i didnt like her hanging round with them , but now there always round our house , they respect me and my mrs, that is all that needs to happen in today's climate get kids respecting there elders , and there fellow members of the community ,
yes respect is a two way thing , but parents shud be enforcing that on there kids , the way kids talk to adults is disgusting , years a go u cud give em a thick ear , now by law u cant ,
politicians think they have all the answers they dont , there all corrupt in one way or another , they line there own pockets , the only time they speak up is wen they have been caught out , they dont live in the real world ,they give u a load of spille to get u voting for them , and then they do the opposite , we have our very own idiot Keith vaz who only gets involved if there's a film crew about.
back to the riots i think although we didnt have any major problems Leicester police shud be shown some praise in the way they have dealt with everything , u get some idiots on the police FB page saying why praise them its there job?.they even arrested the EDL leader the other night in the city , a rumour going round was the EDL were coming into the city to help the police --- why ?
oh by the way Leicester also holds the record for the youngest person in the uk to be tagged , an 11 year old , he lives nr us and he really is a nuisance along with his gypo mates ,

17/8/2011 02:41:49 am

I love this Kizzy! I agree with everything youve said lol especially to do with the national service but those to who are 16 & over those who don't have a job should be put into a community service thing that way they can't be at loss or bored. I agree with the immigrants thing as well if they are here they should abide to our rules in the country. I think they should be put on the council list like everybody else to wait for a house/flat and be put into a Bedsit/hovel like everyone who has to wait for a place! it just seems to me sometimes that goverment are scared to fight back at them cos they should be treated like the rest of us here x

18/8/2011 07:54:43 pm

Hi Rebecca,

Thanks for your comment. I think you have a point there about the council list. I do not thin they should priority housing either. I think that if people come here they should gain benefits many indiginous British people will never qualify for. An article about a family of Somalians renting a house in West Hampstead for £8000 a MONTH was shocking!! The man does not work and has never worked in the UK.

I feel another blog is needed here. Watch this page.

steve [leicester]
19/8/2011 06:24:36 am

i find it amazing that for the last 10 days our politician are still trying to put the blame on anyone and everything , they really aint got a clue ,
IT IS bad parenting
IT IS because of this gang culture fixation with the kids
IT IS because society is up the spout
IT IS because there are no role models in there families
IT IS because of the need for everything for nothing
IT IS because parents are afraid to whack them if there doing wrong
IT IS NOT the fault of the police or the government or even lack of jobs , cuts , THAT is just an easy excuse for the british ppl to point at


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    August 2011


    Social Policy


    I am mixed-race ('black' to some people), disabled, female and living on a housing estate. 
    I also have an excellent education, been to a private girls' school and have lived in London, the West Midlands, the East Midlands/ South Yorkshire, Central Scotland and North East Scotland. I have lived in posh areas, and a zero point council estate. I have lived in an ex-mining town miles from the nearest town, and the middle of cities. I have been on Income Support and had an excellent job with a major bank. I have spent months in Dallas at a private university and studied at local colleges of further education.I have been at the mercy of Social Services, faced institutionalised and ordinary racism. I have faced genuine community spirit and total inclusion. 
    I am an eclectic mix of lower class and middle class all rolled into one. I have studied sociology, religion, media, computers, anthropology and social policy. 
    I speak German and have been to both the rural parts of Jamaica (with no running water) and a 5 star hotel with everything on tap. 
    I guess that gives me a wide view of the world and the pressures that affect ordinary people on a day-to-day basis.

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