Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Give our kids a future... that includes Barnet!

Last Saturday I joined in the 'Give our kids a future' march from Dalston to Tottenham Green. It was called and organised in just three days by anti-cuts and Kurdish and Turkish community groups in Hackney and Haringey, two of the boroughs worst affected by the riots.

The march had several demands:
• A culture of valuing, not demonising youth and unemployed people.
• Support for those affected by the rioting, including the immediate re-housing of people made homeless as well as grants for affected small businesses.
• Community led regeneration and restoration of damaged areas.
• Reversal of all cuts to youth services in our boroughs.
• No cuts to public services! Instead, investment into and regeneration of our communities, including housing, jobs, education and sports facilities.
• An independent community inquiry into policing methods in our boroughs, and an end to discriminatory stop and search.
• Availability of legal support for all those arrested by police - young people face potential sentences that will affect them, their families and their wider communities for years to come.
Those organising the march knew that it might be misinterpreted, and that feelings are still raw in the area, but they felt that it was important that a different political response be aired to simply "lock them up and throw away the key".

On the Thursday before, I attended a meeting of Haringey Alliance for Public Services, Haringey's counterpart to our own Barnet Alliance for Public Services, where the march was discussed. On Saturday I helped to leaflet public onlookers as the march took its course. What I learned from those suggests to me it was a correct decision to organise the march. Onlookers were neutral to positive, and nothing went wrong on the day.

The government has announced an extra £10 million each for Tottenham and Croydon to recover from the riots, in addition to the £50 million it is giving London-wide. But what about the cuts? Can anyone honestly say that they think riots and anti-social behaviour generally are less likely as a result of Haringey, for example, being told to cut £40 million from its budget this year?

And what about Barnet? We got off relatively mildly in the recent riots - but what about the future? And why should we wait till trouble comes to our doorstep before we take notice of what is going on? Services for young people in Barnet, and public services generally need to be defended and rebuilt, not cut, as Barnet council plans to do. Roger Tichborne at the Barnet Eye blog has noticed that Barnet council plans to sell off yet more playing fields and community buildings. Property developers are likely to benefit from this, but not the young people of Barnet.

The rot has to stop; anyone who cares at all about what sort of society we live in has to take up this demand: give our kids a future!

Pictures from the march here.


Rog T said...

Thank you !

David Duff said...

In the long and utterly, eye-stabbingly tedious history of the most soppy, peurile slogans seen on a banner "Give Our Kids a Future" must rank up there with the very worst!

(Perhaps one error slightly spoils it, there are two syllables in "Future" and you should know how difficult that is for the 'grunts' to chant!)

vickim57 said...

DD, you are doing my work for me.

Do you have any children?

Cynicism leaks out with every word you utter.

David Duff said...

I do, or rather, I did because he's an adult now. However, his future was largely guided by me (and the 'Memsahib') because I kept on his case and instead of wasting time on demos begging for OPM (Other People's Money) I kicked up at the schools he attended and at the local education authority when I felt they were not doing their job.

My advice is simple, if you have children do not under any circumstances rely on others to do their best for him or her, only you can do that!

Rog T said...

In the long and utterly, eye-stabbingly tedious history of complete arseholes, David Duff is some where near the middle of the queue, being a totally nondescript, class "C" knobhead, not even able to make the first division of arseholiousness.

My advice David, try harder. You may one day excel at it, but please fuck off and try somewhere else because you are extremely tedious

David Duff said...

I love you too, Roger, but alas, it is the love that has no name!