Thursday, 19 February 2009

Preparing for Riots but not at ncvo

The last 2 recessions saw major riots in inner city Britain . The riots in Bradford in 1993 saw the army and tanks on the street.

What is the prognosis for Britain in 2009?

I saw the effects of the Brixton riots in 1981. A toxic combination of alienated Black youth , harassed by the " Sus " laws and against an economic background of staggering levels of youth unemployment were the tinder box that led to those riots , both in Brixton , Toxteth and elsewhere. The local third sector and community organisations were crucial to the regeneration of Brixton that followed the Scarman report . This was also the time for a flowering of local community action ; the Waterloo action group spawned the Coin St social enterprise which is so incredibly brilliant under their CEO Ian Tuckett , who has been running it since the 80s . I knew him when our hair was a lot longer and we dressed less elegantly . But without the third sector in partnership nothing would have changed . So lets learn the lesson for 2009.

Could this happen again? Well the same toxic mixture is there potentially . A hugely alienated youth that now faces growing and massive unemployment. In the inner cities we have a particularly problematic situation with black and minority ethnic young people who feel that stop and search is aimed at them and that the UK is anti - Muslim as a result of the passion aroused by the misguided approach to the " war on terror ".

Clearly the government has set in train contingency plans for tackling a major outbreak of civil disobedience this summer ,but have they thought through the political consequences?

I am now working on my informal report for James Purnell .Due in next week . I will be working on this over the weekend , unhindered by the ministrations of holidaying Hound. I see James soon , which is always a privilege . If , as the CBI predict we are heading for over 3m unemployed we need to ensure we avoid the evil social consequences . This is the time when the third sector comes into its own . Working in partnership we need to be at the forefront of job creation and support for longer term unemployed . We need to be there supporting the work of Job centre Plus . We need a massive flowering of the full time volunteering sector .

And government need to look beyond the need to sort the financial sector to how can we prevent another generation being consigned to long term unemployment and the social consequences that brings . Where is the Government Action Plan for tackling mass Unemployment ?

I was discussing how we might work across the sector , with housing associations , private companies and the best sector organisations at breakfast with the Futurebuilders team .Capital investment will be key to any major initiative.

Breakfast was in the Cinnamon Club again .Twice this week ; people will talk . Great to bump into Richard Vize who edits the Health Service Journal . My breakfast was entirely necessary as I had an over jolly time at the NCVO Dinner.Kevin Brennan speaks at the reception ; on the flu pandemic that followed the end of World War One. Not clear on the link here. Something about service delivery I guess?

Hubert was on fine form ; greatly enjoying himself. And he had spotted the spoof Boggs Blub. I do have to say the wine was hardly at an acceptable third sector level . The white was too sweat . A back of lorry delivery ? Sponsored by the Guardian . David Brindle must do better . There are standards to be maintained in our sector. Professionalism and cheap wine make uneasy bedfellows. And I am sure this is not the stuff Hubert drinks at home , as he has a fine nose for a good wine.They also serve cake . Allusions to Marie Antionette not appropriate !

And finally , thought for a Chief executive ;

Drink and you will sleep well ,
Sleep and you will avoid sin,
Avoid sin and you will be saved ,
Ergo , drink wine and you will be saved .

( German proverb )


MikeC said...


Can you please provide some hints about how the voluntary sector will help with sustainable job creation.

Stephen Bubb said...

I shall . im working on that . its right to focus both on support in the short term and on sustainable jobs for the future.