Earlier this month a spate of terrifying violence and disorder erupted on to our streets. Communities were terrorised, individuals attacked and city centres trashed. Horrendous images on our TV screens of burning buildings and mindless looting created a climate of fear in which people were scared to leave their homes – and in which public trust in the capacity of our police force to respond effectively was shaken.Oh woe, woe and thrice woe!
The Green party unequivocally condemns the violence and vandalism which has left indelible scars on families, businesses and urban environments across England.You just know there’s a ‘but’ coming, don’t you?
As a political party we believe it is crucially important for the fabric of UK society that the government and the police strike a balance between keeping our streets safe and upholding the hard-won civil liberties of our citizens.Well, yes. That’s not really a controversial view, is it?
… we are concerned that Cameron's encouragement of draconian punishments will undermine respect for the law. The harsh sentencing of riot perpetrators to "set an example" is overtly political and wholly misguided.
The varying sentences given out so far reveal serious inconsistencies and an alarming lack of proportionality.Ah. Right. I see where we’re going with this. Although it would be churlish to point out that, if the law were not so lax other times, these punishments wouldn't be seen as so disproportionate...
The Greens also completely oppose withdrawing benefits from those linked to the events, and the eviction of families from state-supported housing. Such measures will only exacerbate existing problems of poverty and alienation – cutting off ever further those who we must seek to bring closer.Yes, it’s clearly ‘poverty’ that makes people steal, riot and set fire to buildings.
Ultimately, underpinning any analysis of the riots should be a recognition of the deep inequality that lies at the heart of British society.What ‘inequality’?
So too should we understand the effects of a consumer culture that promotes endless material accumulation, an aggressive sense of entitlement and a demoralising level of status anxiety.Translation: ‘We’re just helpless slaves in the hands of the eeeeeeeevil Big Business!’.
In focusing on long-term solutions, the government must show it is willing to address the shocking level of inequality that exists in our country. Research by Unicef suggests that the UK is one of the worst places to live as a child or teenager in the developed world – largely thanks to the growing gulf between the haves and have-nots.That ‘gulf’ not being lack of food or dwellings, but iPods, the latest trainers and flat-screen TVs.
We need policies to create a more equal society.I note you haven’t advanced any in this little polemic.
We also continue our call for government investment in the clean industries of the future, to create millions of new green jobs and help our transition towards a greener future.Aaah, yes, there is is, the money shot. The Green agenda, and Caroline and Jenny won't point out to you that it just doesn't work!
And we demand bold measures to tackle the scourge of tax evasion and avoidance which allows those at the top of society to loot the public purse with impunity.Funny you are writing this in the ‘Guardian’ then, isn’t it?
Oh, and just to cap it all, they extol the virtues of the anti-gang initiative in Glasgow, brought in under the auspices of the front-runner for the top Met job:
…to tackle the gang culture which blights our inner cities, the Greens propose the introduction of Community Initiatives to Reduce Violence (CIRVs) based on the successful model we have seen in Glasgow.Well, Inspector Gadget has a few words to say about the reality of that, as opposed to the shiny, well-spun PR puff pieces released to the media…