Did youth unemployment cause the England riots?


The violence and looting seen in London, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester and Salford this week has been condemned by as “sick” by David Cameron, “sheer criminality” by home secretary Theresa May – and a senior police officer claimed the looters simply “cannot not control their own greed.”

But Hackney MP Dianne Abbott and former London mayor Ken Livingstone both stressed that the young people involved clearly feel they have “no stake in society,” suggesting that youth unemployment and a lack of opportunities for young people in deprived areas could be the root cause of these shocking scenes.

Just two weeks ago, Graduate Fog reported that four in ten young unemployed people feel they are “not part of society.” One in four admit they are relying on state benefits as their main source of income. One in five believe they are unlikely to ever get a job or career in the future — and seven in 10 say their potential is being thrown away.

What do you think? Are the riots a crude form of protest, an explosion of anger and frustration among bored, impoverished teens and twentysometings who lack focus, ambition – and a job? Or is is there simply no excuse for violence, theft and anarchy on this scale?