Diane responds to the Riots Communities & Victims Panel report

27 Mar 2012
Diane Abbott, the MP for Hackney, which saw some of the fiercest rioting said today:

‘I welcome the emphasis the report puts on the social and economic causes of the riots. In the first 48 hours after the riots, it was right to focus on restoring order. But, since then, the Prime Minister has insisted on putting the riots down to “criminality, pure and simple”. This report completely demolishes his kneejerk response.

‘I am glad that the report has restated the fact that police and community tensions were one of the underlying causes. And I welcome the emphasis on education, jobs, support for families and the effects of modern materialism.

‘This report vindicates my submission to the panel, in which I set out the economic and social issues, including the effects of the rampant materialism, consumerism and inequality that we have seen in recent years. My submission addressed the ‘Get Rich or Die Trying’ I see all around me in my community.

‘A third of those young people involved in the riots were excluded in the previous year, whilst two-thirds had special educational needs, so it clear that education is a key issue here. What we have seen really reflects an unspoken crisis in the country’s efforts to raise educational standards in some of the inner cities.

‘A number of communities feel they don’t have any control over their own lives. They feel harassed by the police and marginalised by their job prospects – and are bombarded with reminders of lives they will, in all likelihood, never have. In the week after we have seen the top rate of tax for millionaires cut and the Conservative Party hawking intimate dinners with the Prime Minister for £250,000 a go, I think communities like mine are absolutely sick of being told ‘we’re all this together’, when it’s absolutely clear that we’re not all on it together.’


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