Eviction for looters? I like the idea, but wouldn’t it create more harm than good? By Calum Setterington, Project Director

In response to the recent riots one punishment being suggested is the loss of social security and social housing for those convicted of rioting and looting. Whilst I like the idea and agree with those who suggested it I fear the problems it would create far outweigh the advantages. The social costs far outweigh the social benefits. In short we only have to look at the impact upon dependents, employment and future prospects that limit the usefulness of this policy.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles, on the BBC called for “…looters to be evicted”. And in theory this is a great idea, but we often find crime circles around desperation, poverty and poor education.

The riots cannot be blamed solely on young, uneducated and poverty stricken individuals. In fact, we have seen people from across the employment spectrum appearing before the magistrates courts around the country ranging from students, mothers, school caretakers and teaching assistants – highlighting how the problem is not just about bored and uneducated youths.

The theme of evicting those convicted of rioting and looting is hard line and would definitely show the line taken by our government and security forces but there are a number of problems with it.

First of all, we often see a connection between poverty and crime. When people are desperate for something, usually something that makes them feel good, safe and secure they are more likely to commit crime in order to finance these things, whatever they may be. By evicting people we will be taking away that security of somewhere to live, making them more volatile in society.

Secondly, who do we evict? Just the individual(s) convicted or their families or housemates? The potential here is to further damage individuals’ lives and prospects especially children.

Thirdly, forcibly removing people from their homes could damage employment prospects. By moving someone out they may not be able to feasibly work in the same place and may have to move where work is less available. If this is the case then people will become even more dependent on the state for support and security.

Despite all of this, convicted rioters and looters should be punished in a way that hurts and affects them and I do agree with Pickles. What do you think should happen? Let us at the Young Political Bloggers know!


‘The Big Society’ – What Big Society? The time may have come… By Calum Setterington, Project Director

A major theme of Cameron’s and the Conservatives election campaign in 2010 was the ‘Big Society’ but what does this mean? Have we seen anything of it?

One thing that is accepted by most people is that Britain is divided and broken in many aspects. Whilst multiculturalism brings its advantages it also brings its disadvantages. Whilst being part of the European Union brings its advantages it also brings its disadvantages. One could go on and on, but you get the picture.

Despite being elected in 2010, the Conservatives have actually been unable to implement many things leading to the ‘Big Society’. However, the recent riots across England have shown that actually underneath under all of the trouble, tension and strife there still remains a core of spirit, a core of community and a core of pride in all things at home.

It is in fact heartening to see men and women patrolling their high streets, their town centres and their neighbours property in order to protect them all from the barbarous, animistic and simple rioters and looters that have driven terror across the streets of our towns and cities for those few days at the start of August.

Men have sadly died trying to protect their property and communities most notably the three young men run over deliberately in Birmingham.

Cameron when addressing the nation referred to some elements of British society being “sick” and I have to agree with him. The vast majority of rioters and looters have simply jumped on the band wagon with no connection to what was thought to be the spark for the riots – the police shooting of a man in Tottenham. In fact most people cannot blame issues of boredom, unemployment and lack of opportunity they are simply, and no more rioters, looters and thugs – people with no regard for society, their neighbours or their communities.

One issue that does face Britain is the dependency upon the state and the belief, held by some, that they should have everything delivered for them. This is wholly wrong and is something that the coalition government needs to look at addressing. Nobody is owed a living and support by the state. The Welfare State was created to help people in difficulty, in health, socially and economically. Instead one of Britain’s greatest assets has created numerous problems of greed and demand.

From this boredom, greed and negativity comes something very positive and bright for the future – there is a core of people who care, who are willing to fight for their beliefs in a democratic and civilised way, who are willing to challenge those who wish to challenge and bring down society as a result of what they see to be a poor hand in life.

Despite the criticism of Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ it is ironically not the politicians who have shown it best at work – but the people of the United Kingdom, the good, honest and hardworking people of the United Kingdom.