We are currently on holiday in Gorleston-on-Sea and really, we could be abroad. London is only 100 miles from where we are, but it could be an ocean away, and we are untouched by what is going on, apart from watching in horror along with the rest of the nation.
I had a row with my husband and father-in-law about the riots. "Eh its all against the Government, people are fed up with the cuts". What a load of rubbish that is. This is nothing to do with a protest against the Goverment, in my opinion. It's to do with greed, with decline in respect and morals, and young people who feel they have nothing left to live for except gaining more possessions. The originial motive, protesting against the police for the killing of a young man, has been totally lost. It is not about that anymore.
Watching the riots spreading to Liverpool and my adopted home city of Manchester I was struck by the age of the rioters, no more than bits of kids, on holiday, with nothing better to do. If you believe reports, then it's all about getting possessions that they do not need to pay for.
One of the first things I noticed when I moved to England, was how important posessions were. I had never noticed it so much in Tasmania. The "designer" goods aren't so prevalent, or, indeed, expensive, in Tasmania. Sure kids probably want the latest surf gear or trainers, but the "bling" culture is no where near as prevalent in Tasmania. I was struck by how young people would aspire to the very best of everything, bags, shoes, clothes that even to me, on a modest but decent wage, seemed completely out of reach.
And I can understand why these youth are fed up. Material possessions have become so important. TV is more than TV these days, living rooms resemble theatres. We don't just watch telly, we play games, we live virtual lives. The "real" has become "unreal".
And what is sad is that the vast majority of young people are not feral, running around the streets, setting fire to shops and robbing the latest flat screen television. But I do think that young people will find themselves, potentially, further marginalised as a result of this, which is terribly sad.
I don't blame parents alone for this. Life is tough, there is not enough annual leave, or dispensation for parents in terms of emergency leave and parental leave. A lot is put on parents, particularly of teenagers, without a lot of support. Many people don't have extended families, to help with the children, to do things with them and keep them occupied.
I hope that the outcome of these riots is that we all take a long hard look at ourselves, our communities, and how we can help each other, to parent, and to guide our young people, and to reknit the social fibre that should link us together, not tear us apart.