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Robert Halfon MP: It's cheap politics to blame the Coalition for these riots. The causes go deep.

HALFON-robert Robert Halfon is MP for Harlow.

No doubt there are those who seek to blame the riots on 'cuts', 'unemployment' and the like. 

Yet, the Coalition Government has only been in power for a year and, even with the austerity restraints, public spending is still above 2007 levels.  Labour left office last year with unemployment at 2.5 million - hardly likely to strengthen the social fabric of the nation. To blame it all on post-May 2010, is not just cheap politics, but ignores much deeper causes.

Of course the riots are copycat episodes encouraged by anarchists and looters.  Just watching the robbery of shop after shop confirms this - as they use 'anti' social media to plan and organise.

Of course too, part of the problem is caused by weak sentencing, soft policies on crime: when anti-social behaviour is tolerated for months and years before being properly dealt with.

You can accept all these arguments, but also acknowledge that poverty plays a central part.  This is not material poverty - if you define it as hunger and habitation - but something much deeper.

I think Richard Littlejohn in the Daily Mail explains this  best when he writes:

"One thing is certain: this wasn’t about poverty, not in the material sense. If there’s poverty, it’s spiritual poverty, moral poverty and poverty of ambition.....This wasn’t a political protest, or a demonstration against oppression, it was a grotesque manifestation of our shallow, instant gratification, I-want-it-and-I-want-it-now consumerist society, coupled with an extreme explosion of the kind of casual violence which scars our town  and city centres across Britain every weekend."

In other words, moral relativism, moral equivalence, family breakdown and absent fathers, the weakening of social capital (the glue that binds community together), the failure of our education system over decades (a huge proportion of children leave school illiterate) and the glorIfication of the drugs/gang/culture have all contributed to this disaster.

So,  when we consider our response, answers must be found to all the above. Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Gove and Theresa May are the most important links in the chain to dealing with the fundamentals.

Without forgetting that those thugs convicted, should face the toughest sentences the law allows.


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