James Forsyth

Riots and responsibilities

Riots and responsibilities
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The riots are fast in danger of becoming the forgotten issue in our politics. The social and cultural problems that they laid bare have been knocked out of the news by the continuing financial and political drama in the Eurozone

But if we, as a society, don’t work out how to address these problems then they will simply get worse. The essay by David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, on what happened this summer in The Guardian magazine today is thought-provoking even if I don’t agree with all of its conclusions. .

Interestingly for a man of the left, Lammy accepts the points that the riots were about culture as much as anything else. As he writes, ‘the mothers sitting nervously in my surgeries were not just talking about money. They were talking about the culture in which their children grow up.’ 

Part of the problem is the lack of suitable male role models. Lammy points out that one in four children these days are raised by a single parent and one in four primary schools has no male teacher. Addressing this issue is a key part of any solution to these problems.