In the wake of the shooting, the media and politicians have raced to give their “solutions”.
Tory leader David Cameron talks of a “broken society”. But it is the policies of Margaret Thatcher’s government in the 1980s that fractured society in the first place.
New Labour has continued the neoliberal policies which increase the problems faced by working class communities.
“Poor parenting” is one of the reasons given for youth crime. But families are put in situations that make it very difficult to sustain a happy family life, or even to spend much time with their children.
British workers work the longest hours in Europe. Millions live in substandard or overcrowded housing and face cuts in basic services.
Child poverty in Britain is worse than in much of Europe.
A recent study showed that of the top ten areas where people felt there were anti-social behaviour problems, three were former mining towns and two were towns with declining steel industries.
Many young people cannot find work. Doug Nicholls, of the Unite union that represents youth workers, said, “Gang members are almost exclusively from deprived backgrounds. Their tales are of isolation and rejection from work and family. They see no horizon beyond this.”
Youth crime cannot be separated from issues of employment, poverty, housing and resources. Even the Daily Telegraph admitted last week, “From chronic unemployment was born widespread drug and alcohol abuse, which spawned violent turf and murderous gang wars.”
Measures against gang crime and anti-social behaviour have failed miserably in preventing crime. These issues cannot be dealt with by imposing more legislation or by criminalising young people.
We need to deal with poverty, deprivation and the lack of self esteem many face.