Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Burning

Sadly, horrific pictures of arson, looting and damage to property in the lovely city of London are filling tv screens around the world. Rioting is taking place mainly in east London, but it now seems to be spreading south. Watching tv news from a few thousand miles away, it seems as if the the whole city is burning.

The British Prime Minister calls it the work of hooligans and thugs. No doubt, a great deal of it is. However, the PM is overlooking the real issues that have ignited these riots. The Afro-Caribbean community in UK is hit hard by recession. Unemployment amongst its youth is high, school dropout ratio is also very high. These are very serious social problems which need to be addressed if the society is to follow a balanced path with opportunities for all. By sweeping such problems under the rug, the British Government is only allowing them to fester.

The police appears under attack, out numbered and ill prepared. The British police must also share some of the blame for this crisis as there is a strong racial bias amongst police officers towards the Afro-Caribbean community. The senior police officers must ensure that racism is routed out completely from their force. The recent publicity against the police about some of their members being bribed regularly by News of the World may also have reduced their effectiveness and perhaps emboldened some youth to take them on.

With 2012 Summer Olympics around the corner, Britain needs to put its house in order. A repetition or extension of riots could put Britain's hopes of hosting Olympics in serious jeopardy.

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