U.K. riots probe fails to note role of fatherlessness: gov’t panelist
LONDON, May 21, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Britain’s political class, bureaucracy, criminal justice system and social services are dominated by a politically correct ideology that has allowed the proliferation of a gang culture that instigated last summer’s English riots, one of the government’s four-member investigative panel has said.
Officially, the report by the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel blamed lack of confidence in police, materialism and poor parenting. But Simon Marcus, the founder of an inner city boxing club for troubled youth and a member of the panel, said that the official report ignored the biggest factor, which was the continued breakdown of the “traditional family” and the resulting fatherlessness suffered by huge numbers of Britain’s young people.
Writing in the Spectator, Marcus said that apart from the issues the panel’s report did cover, “poverty, inequality, consumerism, entitlement, policing, [and] discipline,” it had “failed to address the deeper causes” which were, largely, an “epidemic of father absence.”
The riots saw thousands of teenagers and young adults looting and torching homes and businesses in four cities in a week-long rampage, and are only the beginning, he said.
In the lives of British young people among the lower classes, many of whom are now almost entirely cut off from the working world, the emotional gap where fathers and intact families should be, he said, is being filled by a growing subculture of gangs, violence and crime.
“Many may be in denial of this reality - but in many parts of our country this culture now owns the streets and last August it simply did what it says on the tin,” Marcus wrote.
In addition, Marcus said he had identified “more sinister agendas” at work: “far-left activists were handing out leaflets calling for more riots”.
“Weeping families and burning homes seemed not to bother such people in their celebration of disaster.”
Between 6 and 10 August last year, the riots spread from 11 “working class” districts of London through media attention and social media like Twitter and Facebook, to Bristol, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool, along with several towns by the end of the week. Homes, businesses and cars were torched, shops looted and five people died in riot-related incidents.
In the end, 3,100 people were arrested, with 1,000 charges laid for a total 3,443 of crimes across London alone. At least 16 others were injured and rioters caused an estimated £200 million worth of property damage.
As the founder of a charity that works amid the subculture, Marcus said he is no stranger to the violence and destruction of the world of gangs.
“I have seen gang culture dominate areas, observed how the disintegration of the traditional family has devastated poor communities and watched our broken welfare and criminal justice systems further demoralise and fracture our society.
“Yet a local government culture of psychobabble, ideology and self-perpetuating bureaucracy remains in denial.”
Many of his questions, he wrote, were left unanswered by a social services system that fails to keep adequate records, largely out of blindness to the causes of Britain’s social disruption. Marcus said he wanted to know how the greater numbers of intact families and the presence of “faith groups” affected the areas that saw little or no rioting, like the heavily Muslim dominated Tower Hamlets area. He also asked for offenders’ past criminal records of “soft sentencing” as well as their ongoing reception of public welfare benefits, wondering how these had affected the pattern of violence, but was told there were no such records available.
The “denial went everywhere,” Marcus wrote, all the way up to senior police refusing to consider that the violence was in any way gang-related.
Repeatedly in the panel’s investigations, Marcus noted reluctance on the part of officials to face up to the one constant. He “sensed the discomfort in the room” when youth leaders spoke of the problems of absent fathers and family breakdown and the contribution of “over-generous welfare” to the development of the “gang culture” activity.
This culture was clearly in charge during the August riots, he said, despite the constant assurances that only a small percentage of those arrested were known to be involved in gangs. Marcus notes, “76 per cent of convicted rioters had previous convictions and nine out of ten were known to the police,” and the 19 per cent of known gang members arrested were more than enough to have been instigators.
The soft and gentle approach to crime by politically correct officials, he said, has left terrorised shop owners, children and teenagers to fend for themselves on streets shared with long-term, hardened criminals who know they have nothing to fear from police or the courts.
Moreover, the ideology that blames “poverty” for all bad behaviour, is trapping people in a mindset of helplessness.
“When criminals feel there are no consequences, the moral is they will break the law. When our society says that children know best, the moral is that adults have no authority. When we tell people they cannot succeed because of elitism, poverty and inequality, the moral is that there is no point in trying: someone must do it for you.”
Now that the government’s report is complete, it is going to be left to independent groups to point out that “many of our discarded traditions, structures and institutions used to work,” including the 60 per cent of teenagers in one part of London who, sick of the bad behaviour of their peers, voted to bring back the cane for discipline in schools.
The solutions, he said, are already known to the “moral majority” of the British people, the many who, after the riots, spoke of “morals, values, family and community” and the armies of volunteers to turned out to help clean up.
Gangs must be broken, he said, but the ideologically driven system must too; politicians who preach “harmful policies” should be voted out and social workers who refuse to improve should be sacked; prisoners must be denied the vote and Islamic “hate preachers expelled”.
“It may mean you are shouted down in public and even discriminated against. But the best way to begin to turn around our struggling, crime-ridden, fatherless communities — and the only way to save the futures of terrified, miserable children — is to acknowledge the facts and policies that brought us here.”