Sunday, August 14, 2011

Searching for Answers

A 12-year-old boy shields his face as he leaves Manchester magistrates' court after admitting burglary, during this week's riots in the city. Photograph: Nigel Roddis/REUTERS

The UK is bitterly divided on the reasons behind the riots – some blame the unrest on opportunistic criminality, others say conflicting economic policies and punishing government spending cuts have deepened inequalities in the country’s most deprived areas.

Matthew Goodwin, a politics professor at University of Nottingham gave another perspective. “There’s a fundamental disconnect with a particular section of young Britain and sections of the political establishment,” he said.

Many of the youngsters themselves struggle to find any one plausible answer, but according to one blog Citizen’s Free Press: Ireland, the author suggests a widespread sense of alienation as a contributing reason after documenting tales spun by this youthful aggregation who made up the majority of the arsonists and looters.

A sampling of those arrested and charged: A 30-year old lifeguard; a 26-year old trainee plasterer; 25-year olds, one a chef and the other a call center worker who earns £14,000 a year; a 24-year old graduate who wanted to be a social worker, 23-year olds – an Electrical engineering student, a scaffolder, an electrician and a full-time carer to a disabled mother; 22-year olds – an accounts clerk and an estate agent; 21-year olds that included a freelance journalist, a Civil engineering student and a Law student; a 20-year old retail assistant; a 19-year old Computing student; 18-year olds that included an Olympic ambassador, an A-level student, a charity volunteer, a youth worker and a forklift truck driver; a 17-year old unnamed boy charged with robbery; 16-year olds that included an unnamed girl charged with burglary other than dwelling and two unnamed boys charged with violent disorder and arson with intent to endanger life; a 15-year old unnamed girl charged with burglary other than dwelling; 14-year olds – two unnamed girls charged with intent to steal, an unnamed boy charged with violent disorder and burglary and another unnamed boy charged with possessing an article with intent to cause criminal damage; and two 12-year old unnamed boys, one charged with theft and the other charged with burglary other than dwelling (Webpage, accessed August 14, 2011).

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