11th August, 2011. The date is very important for this post. It is a reminder of when society in parts of England went hey-wire. On Saturday there were riots in Tottenham, London. These then spread to other parts of London and then over the next couple of days, to other cities.
What started the trouble? A peaceful protest by a group of people mourning the loss of someone who had been shot dead by the police. I know nothing of the circumstances surrounding this shooting so will say no more than this protest was hi-jacked by rioters who looted and burned parts of Tottenham. 25 families lost their homes because of a fire started in a shop.
That's all I'm going to say about the actual troubles. There will be plenty of news reports to look up if you want to know more.
What I want to emphasis is that it was a SMALL MINORITY of thoughtless, criminal, thugs who caused all this damage. Who reeked havoc, destroyed homes, stole from shops and made life harder for already hard-pressed ordinary people who work in the shops and offices that were wrecked.
6 MILLION people live in London. The vast majority of them saw no trouble whatsoever, but they must all have been in fear. But this is Britain and while some hooligans ran riot in around the edges, beach volley ball was being played on Horse Guards Parade.
So who is to blame?
DON'T BLAME the teachers. To any of the rioters who moan 'Can't get no job. Ain't got no prospects. Schools let us down.' my response is - every single child in this country has the opportunity to go to school and learn. If you bunked off school or disrupted the classes that's YOUR fault. Teachers are only normal people after all, they are not super beings. If you cannot pay attention and listen to what your teacher has to say then you will get nowhere. So, some classes might be boring. Let me tell you, there are lots of things in life that are going to be boring. Teachers aren't there to entertain you.
DON'T BLAME the politicians. Many of the trouble-makers were under age, but not all by any means. How many of those on the streets were old enough to vote - and out of those how many did? We live in a democracy. Many people in the world look to us with envy because of this. We are fighting in Afghanistan to give the people there the chance of experiencing this. And what do many people in this country do? Shrug their shoulders when it is time to vote and mutter 'It's not worth bothering, nothing ever changes.' But that is precisely how things do change. If you didn't vote you haven't got a voice so don't complain if you don't like the cards you have been dealt.
DON'T BLAME the economy. I know times are hard, especially for those who haven't got a job, or are having benefits cut because they won't work. But no one in this country is starving. If it is true that the riots were organised through social networking sites then the participants must have been able to afford computers or the latest hi-tech phones. Somewhere along the line we have created a 'must have' society whether we deserve the rewards or not. And not all the rioters were unemployed. Some had jobs. Whether they still have those jobs today will be interesting to see. And all those trying to get jobs will now have something on their CRB when it is checked. Oh dear, was it really worth it.?
So what went wrong.
For the vast majority of people who live in this wonderful country, absolutely nothing. I know lots of hard working, caring people. I've worked with hundreds of well behaved, motivated children. I feel safe walking the streets.
For others, maybe we should start right back at the beginning.
Maybe we should stop supporting teenage mothers by being sympathetic and treating them as victims. I have never said sex should only be within marriage, but it should only be for overs 16s at least, and maybe over 18s. Maybe the first words in a sex education class for senior schools should be 'Sex is primarily for making babies. The fact that there is some pleasure involved is nature's way of making sure that after 9 months of pregnancy where you feel like you are growing to the size of an elephant, hours of painful labour before the excruciating pain of giving birth followed by months of sleepless nights, you actually want to do it all over again to keep the human race going.'
Maybe corporal punishment should be brought back as a deterrent.
Maybe more should be done to inspire children to be more than a prize winner on Britain's Got Talent.
Maybe all those who are found guilty of the crimes that have been committed over the last few days should be lined up in front of the shops they looted with a placard around their neck to name and shame them. But they would probably feel no shame - that is the sad thing.
Maybe we should reintroduce The Stocks and let people throw rotten food at them until they truly say sorry.
Or send them to work for nothing on the fruit farms that attract so many hard working foreigners.
I certainly don't want to see them sent to prison where they will get a warm bed and three square meals a day.