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PCS statement on the UK riots

(11 Posts)
ttosca Wed 10-Aug-11 18:44:08

Thousands of our members live and work in the communities that have been hit by the vandalism and looting of recent days. Tragically many people have lost their homes, and many more their workplace, potentially their job and income too.

We echo the words of the Fire Brigades Union, “these events illustrate the bravery and commitment of London’s firefighters, and the entire capital will be grateful to them”. Our emergency services in London and other cities have once again shown that they play a vital role in protecting the public.

Public sector workers, from police community support officers to welfare advisers and from teachers to youth workers, will have a huge role to play in rebuilding and in maintaining a sense of community. The government has spent recent months disrespecting these workers and attacking their jobs, pensions and pay; it is time for that to stop and for them to recognise their valuable contribution to society.

As communities clear up, we have to step back and recognise these disturbances did not happen in a vacuum. It is not condoning violence to say that simply dismissing this as 'mindless criminality' is to give up on our responsibility to look for causes and solutions.

Youth unemployment is at its highest level on record, and further and higher education costs are set to soar. Public services are being slashed in many communities with councils cutting youth services and eligibility to housing. Welfare cuts and privatisation mean jobcentres are being closed and benefit cuts are causing anguish and hardship to many.

Our society is more unequal than at any point since the 1930s. There will be those who will call for tougher sentencing and more police powers, but these will not solve the very deep problems facing our country. As PCS has argued, we need investment to create the jobs and build the infrastructure that our communities need.

We should also resist attempts to demonise young people in general. They have been the biggest victims of this recession. The lawlessness of the financial and political elites is a much larger problem that our society must address.

In the coming days and weeks, we must address the complex issues that have led to the recent days' incidents across London and elsewhere, and caused so many to be rightly shocked and appalled.

Mark Serwotka Janice Godrich
General Secretary President

EdithWeston Wed 10-Aug-11 18:59:39

It's a pity that this otherwise admirable statement is marred by the 5th, 6th and 7th paragraphs in which they play opportunistic political games in pushing their own narrow agenda. It's pretty tasteless, really, to try to capitalise on this so very early on (but at least does serve to make Miliband look better).

But the last paragraph is also spot on. Let's begin by identifying those issues (such as what led an educated 31 year old in a steady job to steal), then decide which - if any - of their agenda might be relevant.

ttosca Wed 10-Aug-11 19:38:31

They're not trying to 'politicise' the issue or selfishly push their own narrow agenda.

Riots are a political issue, and they (the PCS) genuinely believe (rightly so), that social conditions - including poverty, inequality, lack of jobs - contribute to the context in which these sorts of anti-social explosions can take place.

They are not separate issues. They are intimately related.

newwave Wed 10-Aug-11 20:41:02

ttosca, you are wasting your time, the likes of claig and more so NG2 will never accept or consider their is any corelation between the extremes of income in our society and the lack of hope for the future for many on the bottom rung of a broken ladder of oppertunity.

The argument that this did not happen in the past (pre ww2) is a red herring, in those days the rich and powerful were almost a different race now the affluent and the deprived live cheek by jowel with the resentments that causes.

Hackney is a prime example the "yuppies" move in and gentrify an area and housing costs rise pushing out the old working class who have to move to even worse areas.

This is a minor thing but symptomatic of the problems:

A London council has removed a large number of 19th century lamposts from the streets of a deprived area and relocated them to a more affluent part of the borough whist replacing them with standard lamposts, when asked why this was being done they stated "they would enhance the character of the affluent area", no chance of the council enhancing the area they were originally in then.

Obviously the above example has nothing to do with riots but goes to the contempt shown for some sections of society, btw it was a Tory council.

scaryteacher Wed 10-Aug-11 20:46:28

The minute an adult uses the word 'disrespecting' I switch off. Very Catherine Tate.

claig Wed 10-Aug-11 20:48:52

'Riots are a political issue, and they (the PCS) genuinely believe (rightly so), that social conditions - including poverty, inequality, lack of jobs - contribute to the context in which these sorts of anti-social explosions can take place.'

Does the PCS believe that about football riots too?

newwave Wed 10-Aug-11 20:52:11

Does the PCS believe that about football riots too?

Nah, thats just because Millwall supporters need a good kicking, think of it as vermin removal grin grin

EdithWeston Wed 10-Aug-11 20:56:22

I said they were pushing their own agenda because of the "as we have argued" bit, and because they are way, way premature in ascribing causes.

We are not sure that the troubles are over; we do not know who the criminals were, let alone their circumstances; no one has actually analysed this to bring out which are the important factors. But PCS seems to know the reasons already.

claig Wed 10-Aug-11 20:57:22

'The minute an adult uses the word 'disrespecting' I switch off. Very Catherine Tate.'

good point. 'disrespecting' is a mantra of our society, it's even at the top of the list of concerns of gang members. "respek , maan", "are you dissing me?" Sounds like the PCS is up with the lingo and down with the kidz. I wouldn't be surprised if some of them even wear hoodies.

Solopower Sat 13-Aug-11 22:47:50

What are the 'opportunistic political games' they are playing, Edith? Not sure I can see it.

rabbitstew Mon 15-Aug-11 13:48:32

I think the verb disrespect is actually in the Oxford English Dictionary and its use dates back to the 1600s....

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