Thursday, 11 August 2011

'Tory Government Will Lead to Rioting,' Says Deputy PM

By Ben Aulakh

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg predicted in March last year that austerity measures pushed through by a Conservative government could lead to rioting on the streets.

Speaking to Sky News on April 11, in the run up to the general election, Mr Clegg said, “If the 
Conservatives come to power, on a thin mandate, and slash and burn public spending, a violent backlash is not inconceivable.

“There is a danger in having any government, of any composition, which doesn’t have a proper mandate to govern right across the country, trying to push through really difficult decisions, and I think there is a very serious risk of rioting on the streets.”

More than £80 billion has been cut from public spending by the government, in a bid to halve the deficit over the course of the next parliament.

One part of these spending cuts, the Conservative's decision to scrap the EMA grant – which helps young people stay in education after 16, is being cited as a significant driver of youth unemployment, and in turn, youth crime.

The number of 16 to 24 year olds out of work currently stands at around 952, 000, the highest rate of youth joblessness since records began in 1993.

More than a fifth of young people are now classified as being out of a job, with the number of 16 and 17 year olds out of work having risen by 27, 000 towards the end of last year.

The General Secretary of the UK’s biggest union Unite, Len McCluskey said that young people who feel disconnected from society are at the heart of the recent violence.

He said, “Events of recent days have shown us that a substantial minority of young people simply do not feel connected to a society where the prevailing ideology prizes individual wealth above everything else.

“Unemployment and the dismantling of the social infrastructure can only make this worse, addressing these deep-rooted problems takes time, dedication and political will but what is clear is that super-charged tough talk about law and order will not on its own work.” 

“Our communities need now to be given the resources and the support they need to get back on their feet.”

Nina Power, Senior lecturer in philosophy at Roehampton University writing in the Guardian echoed this sentiment that the inequalities in British society are responsible for the wave of violence on Britain’s streets.

She said, “Decades of individualism, competition and state-encouraged selfishness – combined with a systematic crushing of unions and the ever-increasing criminalisation of dissent – have made Britain one of the most unequal countries in the developed world.

“Images of burning buildings, cars aflame and stripped-out shops may provide spectacular fodder for a restless media, ever hungry for new stories and fresh groups to demonise.”

However, we will understand nothing of these events if we ignore the history and the context in which they occur.”

A Spokesperson for left-wing activist group the Coalition of Resistance is very clear about what is behind the rapid spread of rioting,

“Although this violence was sparked by the death of Mark Duggan by police, the trouble we have seen has been building up for many months.”

“Brutal austerity measures, spending cuts to every public service, rising unemployment, attacks on education, police tactics on demonstrations and the increased use of stop and search has meant that anger towards this government has heated up to boiling point.”

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