Posted 19th August 2011

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All I did was take a short holiday and I come back to “dislocation in the financial markets” (to use Bank of England speak) and riots in our cities. Well all I can do is apologise and assure you I will take more care when I go on holiday in the future!

The scale of the riots has been broadcast across the world. Naturally there has been reference to gang culture as the cause, but how then do we explain the teaching assistant, the young middle class, well educated people from affluent backgrounds, arrested for looting?

Moral neutrality is a problem. There is an expectation of entitlement, that we can have whatever we want, when we want it. But how do we combat it?

I do believe that there needs to be an element of fear instilled in the minds of criminals. I must admit though to being shocked when I read of the two young men who were imprisoned for 4 years for posting details of riots on Facebook. When thinking about it though, these actions are threatening the very fibre of our society, so it is right they should have the proverbial book thrown at them. But 4 years?

There is clearly a lack of suitable role models in society, from absent fathers to politicians committing fraud. But we have seen a healthy sense of solidarity emerge amongst communities affected by the riots. The court service has been working through the night to process the offenders and big businesses have stepped in to help the smaller shops get back on their feet after decimation caused by the scumbag looters. Fantastic – more of the same please. This is society pulling together to do what is necessary to deal with this bizarre situation we are facing.

What about Glasgow? Once having had the highest murder rate in the country, their community leaders were able to inform police that there would be no rioting – how impressive is that?

The method which seems to have success is that of confrontation. Making the rioters confront the communities that they have offended, name and shame, even ostracise. But the communities cannot deal with these problems by themselves, either for fear of injury or prosecution. Neither can this be left to the police and courts to sort out. To deal with the rotten parts of our society, we all have a role to play.