Friday 12 August 2011

NO; not a "sick society".

I always hated the political soundbite "broken britain" and "sick society" is even worse. That sort of knee jerk simplification gets us nowhere.

ACEVO is having a meeting of CEOs next Tuesday to have an initial discussion about recent events and what our sector response should be. We will be working with NCVO to respond to Government.

I have asked members for views. A couple of interesting points already :

"One thing we need to head off at the pass is that this is all about gang culture. Yes, gang members were involved in some of the violence and crime - but so were a lot of others with little or no affiliation to gangs. The causes are many and complex - my biggest worry at the moment is that we will lose the chance for a serious debate, and hence serious answers, in the Gadarene rush for simplistic solutions.

Anyone thought about why no riots in Wales and Scotland?? "


"One key issue is whether communities feel that they have a real stake in, and sense of ownership of, their area. Does anyone like IPSOS Mori measure this? People in our housing co-ops look after their properties remarkably well – perhaps not surprisingly since if things get broken they either charge the tenant or the co-op pays (in which case all members share the costs)! I know we have talked about community buildings being “the only ones not touched” in some previous rioting – was it Bradford? Establishing a link between engagement in local institutions and absence of destructive behaviour would certainly support investment in developing such engagement "

Reading through the accounts of people being charged dispels the myth this is just a class of "feral rats" or gangs. I agree with Ed Miliband that we should have an enquiry. But we shall certainly be reflecting on this in our sector.

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