Robert Leitch is a party activist who is working in Parliament for a Conservative MP.
Last week’s riots across England have kick-started a wide-ranging and almost limitless debate about the state of our country’s morality, social interactions and general well-being. This debate looks likely to continue for some time as politicians in particular attempt to secure an ideological understanding of the destructive episode.
Broken families, a weak criminal justice system and poor standards of discipline in our school have, amongst other factors, been used as the basis of many arguments. In truth, it is likely that all such factors have played a role in the obvious disfranchisement of a growing minority of predominately young people.
In my view, however, an underlying issue cannot be ignored in this period of self-reflection. The concept of aspiration has simply become distorted for many young people. Likewise, the definition of "success" in life has changed between former generations and the young of today.
In part, our modern-day celebrity culture may offer some explanation. Back in 2008, I worked in a secondary school in South-East London. During my conversations with young students, I was frequently surprised at the low level of aspiration that many possessed. For most, their dreams were limited to becoming a footballer, a pop star, or some form of TV personality. Any suggestion of a career outside of these narrow parameters was often met with utter despondency.