Praying for rain rather than riots

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PHEW! What a scorcher.

T-shirts in March. Warm enough for a paddle at Cleethorpes.

Welcome to Spring.

Everybody’s happy.

Well, almost everybody. I bet the police are a bit edgy and praying for rain.

You see, it seems to me that there is always more trouble when it is warm and people feel carefree than when it is overcast and gloomy.

That was certainly the case with last summer’s riots.

The weather was warm and – just right for spending prolonged hours out of doors and helping yourself to someone else’s valuables.

You will have heard of the independent report by the Riots, Communities and Victims Panel which tries to get to the bottom of the problem.

It points many fingers in many directions.

But none of them are heavenwards, berating the lack of cloud.

For I predict that if there had been a downpour, the riots would have been snuffed out along with the arsonists’ handywork.

Instead, we are left with the English reaction to any disaster: tearing our hair and blaming ourselves. Pass the hair shirt, please.

We are told there was a lack of support and opportunity for young people from ‘500,000 forgotten families’.

Forgotten by whom?

They certainly seem to have enough money to sponsor their chosen lifestyle of loafing around all day.

They have a roof over their heads.

They have a small army of outreach workers doing their best to make their lives more fulfilling.

Who has forgotten them?

Themselves, that’s who.

They have forgotten that they may not have a job because they squandered the chance of a good education.

They have forgotten the basic rule of civilised society that they need to respect the rights of others.

Don’t get me wrong. We have a broken society.

The model came off the rails some years ago and I can’t see it getting any better with a Government which reduces taxes for millionaires but makes sure your lunchtime pasty will be taxed to the hilt.

But I am not going to fall for the old sob story that the riots were everybody’s fault except those who thought it was a good idea to lob a brick through Currys’ window and help themselves to a plasma telly. (For the record, I am not aware of any Curry’s store being plundered by rioters. I merely chose the name as an example of a well-stocked and appealing high street store).

For years now politicians have boasted about how much more has been pumped into our education system.

The chances are there for the kids to take.

But there is something in too many young people’s lives which make them believe they are above and beyond the help of mere adults.

They are too arrogant, mimicking their pop idols who swagger around the stage, laden with gaudy jewellery and give the impression that life is easy.

It isn’t.

It’s pretty hard.

And having a Riots, Communities and Victims Panel make excuses for the riotous behaviour of a feral population is not going to make it any easier.

The sooner we all learn this the better for everyone.