"Parents are fearful about how they chastise their children," Clasford Stirling, a veteran youth worker, who runs the football club at Broadwater Farm community centre in Tottenham, said. "There's been an erosion of authority for a long time. Parents move very gingerly not to upset their own kids – that's the reality."Ooh, that’s an unfortunate reality. And it's not something everyone who has a brain hasn't seen coming for a long time, as MacHeath points out.
Broadwater Farm estate is again at the centre of the unrest in London. Mark Duggan, whose death last week sparked London's riots, was brought up here, and sent one of his sons to Stirling's football classes. On Wednesday, Stirling was making arrangements for his wake.A youth worker? Is that part of his duties?
Or is he tied to the family somehow?
Strangely, Amelia doesn’t seem to want to find out…
Struggling to make sense of the violence that has turned buildings on Tottenham High Road into smouldering piles of rubble, Stirling wondered whether weakened parental authority might have something to do with it.I’m pretty sure it didn’t help, Stirling.
"Bad behaviour and criminality has been glamorised on the streets. Teachers are scared to punish children. The modern child isn't frightened of their parents. They don't care if the police lock them up," he said.And is that a bad thing, Stirling?
Well, not entirely:
Hovering between sympathy for the youths' sense of alienation and anger at their stupidity, he said the continued police stop-and-search tactics damaged children early on. "There is a big problem with stop and search. These searches leave a scar, a mark on that child. I condemn the violence, but we have to look at the frustration that everyone is going through. They don't have a platform, so they let off their frustration on the streets," he said.It’s good for parents to discipline their child, to lay down rules and boundaries, but not for the police to enforce society’s rules and boundaries?
How’d you work that one out, Stirling?
Highly respected for his work with young people on one of London's most troubled estates, Stirling, who was given an MBE in 2007, has a sharp sense of the unease which has been simmering. This hostility towards the police, combined with an absence of parental discipline made for an explosive combination, he said.The police you in the next breath declare to be the 'enemy' for having the temerity to stop and search them?
"I've been doing this for 32 years, and I am worried. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't," he said. "Parents are losing their jobs; that overspills into the family – they can't buy them this or that." For their children "there is a reality to poverty. There are no jobs, they have nothing. What have they got to lose? Some didn't even bother covering their faces. They're not trying to rob the banks, they're going to Currys, they're stealing trainers, they're that poor that they're risking going to jail for a flatscreen television.
"Why aren't the parents calling up their children and saying, 'Come back here at once'? They can't. Those days are gone, that authority has gone. A lot of parents are not able to stop their child from going out. Young people have had enough. Look at how brazen they have become, going right up to police."
Gosh, it’s really hard to see where they pick up those attitudes, isn’t it?
And what about the area’s MP, David ‘Mastermind’ Lammy? Is he going to ‘pass’ on this?
Lammy knows the subject of weak parenting is so politically explosive that he was momentarily reluctant to discuss it at such a tense juncture.
If those people are all spouting the muddled ‘thinking’ of ol’ Stirling, it’s probably just as well. They aren't part of the solution, Lammy. They're part of the problem…
"The right have a lot to say about parenting, but no one on the left wants to talk about this. A void has emerged around it. It's a profound problem."
He laments the closure of a number of local youth clubs as a result of funding cuts.
"These were some of the people who could talk to these young people, and they've lost their jobs."
Across London in Kilburn, Jane (who asked for her own name and her son's to be changed) said being a mother to teenage sons in central London had been a "horrendous" experience. Her 18-year-old son, Luke, was arrested on Sunday night, with a group of seven other boys aged between 14 and 19, on an estate in Kilburn, erecting a barricade to stop police cars entering the estate. Some of the other boys in the group threw stones at a police car, scratching the paintwork. They spent 22 hours in police cells, and Jane heard nothing about where he was, until he was released without charge on Monday night.It’s telling that no mention is made of Mr Anonymous, the children’s father, isn’t it? And are we supposed to assume that this is the first time ever little Luke has been incommunicado for a night?
Neither Luke, who has trained as an electrician, nor his elder brother, 20, can find work. "It makes me depressed and angry," Jane said. "I've always made sure they go to college to get decent qualifications, and it's just pointless. The longer they have no work, the longer they get used to lying about and not doing anything, then the less they want to work.But as we’ve just seen from the list of those charged so far, it’s not lack of a job that causes riots or looting!
If he was going to work, he'd be coming home at 6 or 7 and he'd be too tired to be hanging around on the street at night."
Sitting with his mother on the sofa, under instructions not to go back to the estate that evening, Luke agreed. "You can't find work, so you stay on the streets. If I'd had a job I wouldn't have been out late on Sunday night."
Luke has his own clear, if idiosyncratic, moral code. While he supports protesting against the police, he disapproves of the stealing./facepalm
His hatred of the police comes from having been stopped and searched on an almost daily basis since he was 14, he says.Even allowing for hyperbole, and it being just every other day, that’d be 730 stops! He would need his own hard drive on the PNC!
Surely there are some adults in this hellhole, some people in a position of authority, that don’t blame everything on some mythical ‘other’?
That’ll be a ‘No’ then.
Yanna McIntosh, a volunteer youth worker with children and young people aged between 11 and 24, said as a parent she also worried most about effect of stop and searches on young boys. "You've got people here who have been turned into criminals by the stop-and-search policies. They are rude and intimidating and bullying. I have first-hand experience of that. That's what begins the violence," she said. She recoiled at any government criticism of parenting, pointing out that new policies forcing single mothers to start looking for work when their child turned five, were making life very difficult.*sigh*
That’ll be a ‘No’ then.
Excellent post - and thanks for the link.
"You've got people here who have been turned into criminals by the stop-and-search policies. They are rude and intimidating and bullying."
By coincidence, 'rude, intimidating and bullying' pretty much sums up the behaviour of the gangs of boys to be seen hanging around many town centres - or does Ms McIntosh see things differently?
BTW, I'm sure there's a Pythonesque sketch somewhere in the assertion that 'they're that poor that they're risking going to jail for a flatscreen television.'
I'd like to have these events rechristened from the BBC meme of 'English Riots' to the 'ROBOs'.
(Riots Of Black Origin)
In keeping with the MOBO theme there could even be an annual after dark award ceremony with prizes such as Xboxes, flat screen TV's and JB Sports shopping trips.
Don't be so harsh on David Lammy; you can't expect everyone, not even a Minister for Higher Education, to know that the winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for physics wasn't Marie Antoinette.
It's not like he's utterly brain dead and only gained his position as the result of a minority ethnic quota.
A friend of mine who is a Swede flew to Birmingham airport last month to attend a training course in the West Midlands of England.
He told me that when he got there he seriously wondered if perhaps he had got on the wrong plane.
I could support protesting, if that actually happened.
Hell, even if people were protesting FOR something I deplored, i.e. the global warming scam, I would have some degree of admiration for the idiots. At least they could be said to care about something enough to get off their behinds, no matter how misguided.
That is not what we have seen over the last week. Instead it has simply been a larger scale version of the feral activities most of us see on an all too regular basis in our cities.
The non-existant punishment dished out in the majority of cases will simply lead to a higher background level of lawlessness. I mean, 18 hours community service for looting? Oh please...
Hold on a sec, here. I'm not justifying burning and looting but it's a bit much to expect young people to appreciate getting stopped and searched all the time. I certainly don't want to be stopped and searched everywhere I go.
After the riots, are we all to stop criticising the overbearing state taking our money and trying to run our lives? Suddenly do we all love the Big Government? Is the solution Even Bigger Government? I say not.
Julia, have a listen to this.
Produced with taxpayers money by the GLC Police Support Committee! With support like that, who needs enemies?
1 year before PC Blakelock was murdered.
"We have to kill, kill..."
Clasford and the rest ought to watch Chris Rock
Probably what David Starkey was trying to say badly + having to contend with a very partial Emily Maitlis and 2 other tossers.
His hatred of the police comes from having been stopped and searched on an almost daily basis since he was 14,
I wonder why.
Why doesn't his mother get his father to have a word with him?
Clasford Stirling, a veteran youth worker
Just look at all the good he's done.
Last year I got arrested for stupidly returning some stolen property to the family it had been nicked from- being a good neighbour is a mug's game these days.
The DC who nicked me also had to drive me to the nearest Designated Processing Centre as we don't have a local 'nick' anymore.
As he knew it was all 'BS' i wasn't hand cuffed and sat upfront chatting with him -in German surprisingly enough.
Suddenly there was a call on the radio about an 'illegal rave' and also questions about needing armed backup.
The copper swore :"Oh FOR FUCKS SAKE! I know that area. Trust me Shinar, that IS NOT A FUCKING RAVE. It'll be 4 kids leaning on their ricer with the doors and boot open playing music too loudly!"
(he was right too)
He then went on to say that it really worried him how a lot of his colleagues reacted towards the 'yoof', the mindset that anyone in hoody is guilty and that they were building up trouble for the future by overreacting to 'concerned citizens'.
Remember that this was in 'white' norfolk, so I can well believe that a black 14 year old Londoner might get stopped/searched more times than he's been to school.
rooper T - I have much the same misgivings as to where this is heading as you.
Thing is, IMO, there is a difference between order and authoritarianism. For any society, or even civilisation, to function, there has to be order or everything else goes down the pan soon afterwards.
Now the last thing I want is more police powers, what I do want to see is them using the ones the already have to at a minimum protect us from feral scum. Better yet would be them to protect us from a feral State but that's just dreaming, I know.
If anything LESS laws would be better, i.e. legalising and taxing drugs would remove the vast majority of theft, burglaries, etc...
That was too easy to fisk. Progressives can't put a coherent argument together.
Cutting down on inner city stop and search will keep Op.Trident in overtime....
"By coincidence, 'rude, intimidating and bullying' pretty much sums up the behaviour of the gangs of boys to be seen hanging around many town centres - or does Ms McIntosh see things differently?"
"In keeping with the MOBO theme there could even be an annual after dark award ceremony..."
"...you can't expect everyone, not even a Minister for Higher Education, to know that the winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize for physics wasn't Marie Antoinette."
I NEVER get tired of seeing that clip!
"He told me that when he got there he seriously wondered if perhaps he had got on the wrong plane."
Sweden has it's own problems, though, does it not? They aren't so far behind us.
"...it's a bit much to expect young people to appreciate getting stopped and searched all the time."
If they just stole, stabbed and shot themselves, I'd say 'let them have at it!'. But they don't, so until they clean up their 'culture', they'll just have to put up with it!
"Produced with taxpayers money by the GLC Police Support Committee!"
"Clasford and the rest ought to watch Chris Rock..."
Ah. There's another clip I never get tired of seeing.
"Cutting down on inner city stop and search will keep Op.Trident in overtime...."
Indeed. And more armed stops = greater chance of someone innocent copping it.
There are no jobs, they have nothing.
I bet I could walk down one of London's major shopping streets (Oxford St, Regent's St, Kings Road, Tottenham Court Road) and see job ads in the shop windows.
One of the best bits of TV in recent years was a Panorama programme in Swindon where the presenter found jobs for 3 lads within days. Yeah, they weren't as rock stars or gigolos, but the idea that there aren't jobs out there, even in this recession, is a myth.
No jobs in London for trained electricians? Total, complete and utter bollocks.
The victim culture has become so strong that even bullshit like this is accepted and broadcast as gospel.
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