Last night and this morning the complete, the total, the wanton destruction of my manor flashed before my eyes. Nationally downplayed, due to its Olympic Host Borough status, but real, extensive and irreparable damage occurred nonetheless. Already ailing and wounded businesses attacked, perhaps mortally wounded. My jeweller’s shop vandalised, ransacked, looted. Bank and retailers all falling victim to the carnage displayed before us. This precious, cherished space desecrated by burning buses, looting teenagers and abject moral poverty. How have we allowed this to happen – on our watch, in our land? How will we avert further madness and mayhem when there are already too few police and many jobs are going to be cut?
Regardless of where we live, who we are, what we think – these are OUR children. These angry, aimless, anarchistic beings are our offspring, our future, our heirs. What have we done (or not done) to allow these the destructive, the vengeful and the lost to commandeer our streets, destroy the work of generation and further impoverish our recession-struck homeland? What have we done? Where have we been?
Why didn’t we notice that our children were marching to a very different drum beat from our own? Why didn’t we see and stop the disaffection displayed in small things? Why didn’t we heed their speeches and realise that “hope” was a word completely expunged from their vocabulary?
It all has so little to do with the manslaughter of Mr Duggan; yet, it has everything to do with it. The underlying issues and problems are the same. Where is the communication – the two way conversation to which each person contributes? Where is the embedded and deeply ingrained sense of respect, value and inclusion? Where is the commitment to harmonious, positive, co-dependent living?
We spend hours and millions abolishing childhood, propelling our children from the cot to the catwalk from the nursery to the nightclub, from diapers to disillusionment (with as few stops as possible in between) and then question their lack of responsibility, their earth-shattering immaturity and their all-consuming selfishness. We all know that the most highly prized plants grow slowly and steadily. It is the wild flowers and weeds which rush to maturity; invading, disturbing and potentially creating chaos in well-ordered and well-managed surroundings. For best results, we tackle weeds when young – before they ever have an opportunity to multiply – and consistently monitor and nurture our growing spaces.
So, where have we been? What have we been doing? How have we missed the signs? We know how to cultivate and care. We know the rules and we have the resources. This is an alarm call for all of us; our country, our communities and our children – especially the feral ones – require our immediate care, concern and intervention.