A failure of the political establishment?

This post may divide opinion – especially between the politically-partisan and those who are party-politically neutral. This post stems from a number of media debates I have observed that have degenerated into party-political point-scoring as people try to put forward their views as to the underlying causes of the riots.

As I said in my last post, I don’t know nearly enough of what the underlying causes are. I don’t know enough about what sparked the whole thing off. I don’t know enough about what sustained it. This is why I think there needs to be an in depth inquiry to tease all of these things out rather than relying on the headlines. If anything, we need to find out – whether through the criminal justice system, through an independent inquiry or through research to find out from the rioters themselves why they chose to do what they did. This news clip from the BBC gives a glimpse into the mindset of some of those rioting. The reason? If we can comprehensively find out the reasons why the rioters and looters did what they did – and what drove them, we might improve our chances of preventing such violence from happening in the future.

I’m still of the view that it is at times like this that the more able politicians who can gain the confidence of their communities and beyond, will be the ones that rise. As far as Twitter is concerned, Stella Creasy has stood out like a shining light in the face of circumstances that would expose weaker MPs as being found wanting. I’m also of the view that weaker politicians – especially those in higher public office – will be found wanting very quickly.

What would I like to see from our politicians?

I’d like to see them coming together and acknowledging that what has happened is a symptom of the failure of the political establishment and that they will work together to find out what happened, why and what will be done to deal with the underlying causes to stop this from happening again.

There’s a HUGE amount of anger, fear and anxiety out there as a result of the riots. Surely the job of the politicians at the moment is to get out and about to soothe all of these emotions. Surely they should be communities that they are supporting the police with everything necessary to restore peace – and explaining to people what “everything necessary” actually is, so that it doesn’t hear like a soundbite. Have the party political debate once peace has been restored. Until then, show some leadership.

As Matthew D’Ancona said in the Evening Standard:

“Until order is restored, all else is distraction. Until shops stop being boarded up at 3pm, all analysis is pointless”


2 thoughts on “A failure of the political establishment?

  1. Hi, tweeted a few points at Puffles earlier but thought it deserved a longer explanation. I’m nothing more than a local activist, who’s been a paper candidate a few times but I’ve been involved in politics for a while so I’ve got plenty of opinions to share.

    So, first up then I think it’s obvious that these riots are a failure of the political establishment, and agree that an investigation is essential.

    Getting the politicians to work together however, that’s another matter. My experience of politics is that it is always a ruthless nasty game of oneupmanship, it would be nice if it wasn’t. At one of my first political outings an opposition councillor introduced herself and then told me she was going to report me to the authorities (full details are a bit tedious but her complaint was rejected). The opinion of my friend who ran our recent general election campaign was that “running an honest, positive campaign” was a mistake. The years I’ve spent in politics have left me with a very cynical view of it all.

    So, as a partisan Labour supporter I think that the problem with an investigation is that by the time it reports, the riots will have moved down in the list of political priorities. Based on what I’ve heard so far (the interview you link, and this one) I’d say that there’s a good chance that my lefty views, that the root causes are unemployment, social exclusion, inequality and a whole bunch of recent reforms that hit young people hard are at the root. I think this needs to be said and it needs to be said while people are still going to hear it. Further to this, I worry that people like Matthew D’Ancona (who I view as a highly partisan Tory) are attempting to shut down this debate.

    So, that’s my two cents, let’s find the root cause, but don’t expect us politicians to shut up, we’re just not going to do that.

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