2) The lack of moral authority in key institutions – the number of high profile scandals that have hit institutions like the Police, Parliament, Banking and the Church has hugely undermined the moral authority of the establishment. It stokes a sense of injustice among many urban young people that they cannot trust the ‘suits’ and that ‘everyone is on the make’. Internet and 24hr news coverage now mean that far more people read the headlines about banks paying the ridiculous bonuses, MPs claiming on houses that don’t exist, Police being paid by newspapers and priests abusing children. Surely these are just middle class versions of shop looting? They see ‘the grabbing hands grab all they can’ and believe they are following suit.
3) The collapse of family – there is no way that the Police can stop the numbers of young people who are determined to cause problems. Policing demands consent and they will always be outnumbered. What we are seeing is the massive impact of broken and dysfunctional families. Where are the dads stopping their kids from going out and rioting? Too often it is left to mums struggling alone who cannot physically stop their children. A cocktail of poverty, amoral attitudes, both parents having to work and the loss of any sense of personal responsibility means that the traditional barriers to poor behaviour simply don’t exist. We have been too scared to talk about family breakdown for fear of being judgemental but it is the biggest cause of poverty, exclusion and violence in the UK today.