While watching this whole riots mess in London and other places in England, it’s struck me how often ‘youths’ are mentioned. The UK already had a problem with young people, which I am seriously afraid has become even worse now. When I lived in the East End of Glasgow I could see that wherever young people got together in the local park, a police patrol was sure to turn up and search them. Now, that could be seen as preventive action designed to keep us safe, but has anyone considered what it means to be young and constantly under police supervision? I know the feeling as I grew up under communism, and regarded the police as abusers. That is a serious problem which is getting worse in the UK.
One could wonder why are young people seen to be so angry, so easy to give into anarchy and violence? One may also ask if this is anything new, really. But if you try to view the situation from a young person’s perspective, you may find that the future looks pretty grim to them. It’s the older generation who have control over the government, police, local communities, schools and even the church. Young people have no say in anything and are generally regarded as potential trouble. That is no way to grow up, and this really, really worries me. I think that when my kids grow up and become teenagers (may the Lord help me) and they tell me they were stopped on the street and searched by police for no other reason other than their age, I would be very, very angry.
So who’s to blame? I wouldn’t start with young people. Let me say that again. I wouldn’t start with young people. Who created this socio-economic situation in which only the over 30s get decent pay and have a say in their own destinies and often in the destinies of others? Who created this economic climate in which advertisers bombard us with messages that we are all inadequate unless we buy the rubbish they sell. Is it any surprise that young people look at all this stuff that is advertised all the time, and that they can’t afford and probably never will be able to afford, and feel utterly hopeless and powerless? They see programmes on TV about older couples having £500,000 to spend on a fantasy home by the sea while they can’t even get a meager flat. Is it any surprise that they feel oppressed and prevented from emerging from their situation?
Yeah, by all means, increase police presence! But don’t think for a minute that this will solve the problem. The problem is much, much deeper, and it goes to the heart and fabric of our society – a society they did not shape and design. Let’s keep that in mind and get some perspective!