From my friend Hannah on the riots - a letter to the Kent Messenger:
Maidstone Green Party utterly condemns last week's arson, looting and violence. If any good might come of it then let's hope that it serves as a wake up call to government and the impact of its policies on society. Unfortunately the rhetoric from Tories, Lib Dems, Labour and even Helen Grant is to deal with the problems by escalating the violence towards the trouble makers. Simply responding to angry, disenfranchised people by turning water cannons and plastic bullets on them will not deal with the underlying problems in society. That is not to say that the minority committing this violence should go unpunished, but that the violence also needs to be understood and its causes need to be addressed.
Sadly, while Helen Grant calls for more violence towards children by their parents in 'troubled' households, I suspect there is already too much violence in some of these families. Perhaps more compassion, understanding and support for these children might make a difference, but simply exposing them to more violence will not teach them to be non-violent. Not only doesn't she understand what young people need to grow into responsible adults, neither does her party. They are closing youth centres, stopping young people from modest backgrounds going to university, preventing some even staying on at school beyond 16 with the withdrawal of the Education Maintenance Allowance, presiding over rampant youth unemployment and they are now calling some young people 'feral'.
It is any wonder that young people are becoming increasingly disenfranchised. Furthermore, widening inequalities in society will make it more violent and less cohesive, yet that is exactly what the Tory / Lib Dem coalition are doing. Meanwhile bankers and MPs are getting away with looting society 'legally' and the constant bombardment of the need to consume more, have the latest fashions and possibilities for quick wins in life, all contribute to disillusionment and anger in people.
Maidstone Green Party