Smith: What societal problems have the London riots exposed?

By: /
14 August, 2011
By: Gordon Smith
Executive Director of the Centre for Global Studies and CIGI Distinguished Fellow

There clearly are “societal problems”. We know most of them well – the growing gap between rich and poor, a lack of economic opportunity for youth and immigrants failure to integrate. But there is something more, something we know less about. That is the readiness of too many of today’s male youth to engage in violent destruction as a thrill and the sense of entitlement of people that it is OK to steal electronic goodies and clothing. Many of these are not the poor and oppressed – indeed they co-ordinate activity on their BlackBerrys and wear, and steal more, high end sneakers. Prime Minister David Cameron is right to take a tough line on criminality. Somebody also tell me why people are charged within hours in London, but not in Vancouver. Finally I have sympathy for the police – they are damned if they don’t and damned if they do. Talk about Monday morning quarterbacking!

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