Evicting council tenants will cause more problems

Rushed and ill-judged policy changes, in particular evicting council house tenants involved in thr rioting, may lead to more problems

By James Gregory, Kevin Meagher and Daniel Elton

There are calls this morning for council tenants involved in the rioting to be evicted from their homes. While this is an understandable reaction to those who have rejected solidarity with the wider community, rushed and ill-judged policy changes will, in all probability, will cause more problems.

James Gregory, senior research fellow at the Fabian society writes:

” Firstly, if social housing tenants are evicted from their homes, there is no law in place to say that they will not qualify for housing benefit in the private rental sector. This, of course, is likely to be more expensive.

 ” To this we may say that it worth the cost if neighbours are saved from the misery of anti-social behaviour.

” But this brings us to the second problem. If we assume that rioters are indeed likely to have been anti-social neighbours (not an unreasonable assumption), we are simply transporting the problem elsewhere.

“Indeed, it is likely that the problem will move to our nascent slum private rental sector, where irresponsible landlords will do nothing whatsoever about such behaviour.

“Of course, all this assumes that it is even legally viable to evict tenants for behaviour (rioting) sometimes miles from their homes.

 “Thirdly, it is difficult to see how this will not in some cases fall foul of emergency homelessness legislation. If, for example, single mothers were rioting (an odd picture but one that fits with the anecdotal evidence emerging from the riots), it is hard to see how we could evict – and not at all clear that we would have the stomach to so do.

“After all, many of the rioters are teenagers and barely adults. And more are likely to qualify for social housing in the not too distant future (how long should they be excluded for?)

 “This is not, I should stress, meant to be an excuse. My larger concern is with exacerbating social (and personal) problems that predispose some people to this kind of behaviour.

They should be punished – without leniency. But the way to do this is through the criminal justice system, not the sticks and carrots of a punitive welfare state.”

Kevin Meagher writes:

“The threat by a growing number of local authorities to evict social housing tenants convicted of rioting or looting is certainly an eye-catching sanction.

“Councils including Salford, Barking and Dagenham, Hammersmith and Fulham, Grenwich, Westminster, Nottingham, Southwark, Wansdworth and Croydon have said they will seek to implement the threat.

“Barking and Dagenham’s council leader Liam Clarke explained:

“’We will not hesitate to take appropriate legal action…[against] any local person convicted of offences relating to these disturbances and will seek to evict any of our tenants who are found guilty of such crimes.’

“Meanwhile Salford City Council leader John Merry said he would push his local Arm’s Length Management Organisation, Salix Homes, to:

“‘take the most serious action against them [tenants involved in looting] and that may involve eviction.’

“Posting a message of support on Twitter yesterday, housing minister Grant Shapps endorsed this approach, saying:

” ‘I will back social landlords who evict tenants involved in any rioting.’

“Unfortunately, as we have seen when eviction powers have been used by social landlords before, it simply relocates problem tenants rather than addressing the root causes of their behaviour.

“Often it involves transferring nuisance families and individuals into the private rented sector, costing the state more in housing benefit, dispersing anti-social behaviour and blighting areas of the private sector market.

 “This idea of evicting tenants also sounds a bit like the fines that are always said to be awaiting residents who break hosepipe bans. The prospect of prosecution, however, is disproportionate to the ability of the authorities to actually enforce the threat.

“Hence few, if any, people are ever prosecuted for turning on their garden sprinklers in a drought. But at least the threat of enforcement is meant to act as a deterrence and most law-abiding people oblige. Here we have the reverse situation. The rioters and looters have already committed their crimes.

“The idea also calls into question whether the perpetrators of the disturbances are actually social housing tenants at all.

“Our televisions are full of pictures of young people and children perpetrating these crimes. Given their tender years, it is unlikely those few that are ever identified – and then successfully prosecuted – will hold tenancies themselves. More often that not the tenancy will be held by a parent.

“So would we see a lone parent bringing up three toddlers face eviction because her ten year-old son was involved in looting?

“The cost both to the innocent siblings and the public purse would be prohibitive. Moreover, the current law around eviction focuses on whether the nuisance behaviour occurs in and around the tenant’s property.

“As leading property law barrister Nicholas Grundy, Head of Chambers at Five Paper has pointed out the grounds for eviction:

“’…relates to things coming from the premises or being convicted of an offence in the vicinity of the premises. So it has to be in the vicinity. If you live in Tottenam and travel up to Enfield that won’t be in the vicinity. That’s the first problem.’

“To make good on the sabre-rattling, the government would have to change the law in this area, opening up fertile new ground for legal appeals – with the taxpayer undoubtedly left to pick up the tab.

“There is no argument that those involved in the mindless violence and larceny we have witnessed should be caught and punished, but half-baked gestures are doomed to failure. Let us see in six months time how many tenancies are actually revoked.

 “As MPs gather today to discuss the events of the past few days our political leaders should eschew the temptation to reach for easy solutions to this crisis. There aren’t any.”

40 Responses to “Evicting council tenants will cause more problems”

  1. Double.Karma

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems: http://bit.ly/qRr4q9 : writes James Gregory and Kevin Meagher #riots

  2. Karen Purdy

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems: http://bit.ly/qRr4q9 : writes James Gregory and Kevin Meagher #riots

  3. Katie

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems: http://bit.ly/qRr4q9 : writes James Gregory and Kevin Meagher #riots

  4. Lucy Ashton

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems: http://bit.ly/qRr4q9 : writes James Gregory and Kevin Meagher #riots

  5. Duncan Stott

    RT @leftfootfwd: Evicting council tenants will cause more problems http://t.co/csNtq7n << Precisely.

  6. gimpy

    RT @leftfootfwd: Evicting council tenants will cause more problems http://t.co/csNtq7n << Precisely.

  7. Michael

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems l Left Foot Forward – http://bit.ly/oLBlvO

  8. Jo C

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems l Left Foot Forward – http://bit.ly/oLBlvO

  9. bryan

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems l Left Foot Forward – http://bit.ly/oLBlvO

  10. Peter Raynard

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems: http://bit.ly/qRr4q9 : writes James Gregory and Kevin Meagher #riots

  11. Alan Marshall

    RT @TheRightArticle: Evicting council tenants will cause more problems l Left Foot Forward – http://bit.ly/oLBlvO

  12. Katie

    @cllrtobyneal You're right – twitter isn't great big debates! For me this article sums my feelings up well http://t.co/9KxCEq7

  13. Robert Sprigge

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems: http://bit.ly/qRr4q9 : writes James Gregory and Kevin Meagher #riots

  14. Anon E Mouse

    Nice to see the Labour activists are up to their usual trick of rewarding richer people whilst advocating punishing the poor.

    Tell me this. Why should someone who is wealthy and rent an expensive property be subject to eviction for bad behaviour yet poorer people in council housing are now forced to put up with badly behaved individuals?

    Of course James Gregory, Kevin Meagher or Daniel Elton don’t live in social housing and do not realise how much damage these mindless thugs do to normal life and the decision should be down to the individual landlords / housing associations, just as they are for richer people in private rents.

    There used to be a time when Labour cared about the working classes and the poor in this country but this misguided article shows those times are now long long gone.

    Labour, the party that rewarded the bankers, city slickers and spivs like no government in history, now wants to keep the poor suffering with these feral criminals that should be behind bars.

    Nice…

  15. Robert

    But of course they are not all poor people who rioted are they telegraph has a greeat bit about a young lady who is a director of a company riots steals a TV her income per year is into the £100,000 her father owns some great news papers.

    Another is a lady who is to become a social worker her parents are well off middle class.

    Another is a teaching assistant middle class.

    The sad fact is you lot only see the council houses.

  16. Robert

    As for being labour I would not vote for that bunch of morons, I use to but got out years ago.

  17. Anon E Mouse

    Robert – The sad fact is James Gregory, Kevin Meagher or Daniel Elton are just not representative of the working classes or the poor.

    If they were they would understand that these shell suited thugs that rev cars up with loud music night after night and threaten people with their vicious looking dogs when asked to be quiet because people have to get up for work need to be booted off the estates.

    The shame of Labour is the way they seem to want to represent law breakers and using working class people’s taxes to do it…

  18. scandalousbill

    Anon,

    You say,

    “The shame of Labour is the way they seem to want to represent law breakers and using working class people’s taxes to do it…”

    Bullshit!

  19. Anon E Mouse

    scandalousbill – Hey don’t sit on the fence with your opinion fella.

    These three individuals are advocating that these law breakers should be allowed to stay in social housing where it tends to be the homes of poorer people. Stay in housing in areas they have trashed.

    Which bit of my remark was factually inaccurate?

  20. Ed's Talking Balls

    Thankfully the government has the power to change laws and/or make new ones, by passing Acts of Parliament. Polite society retains the means to deal with this scum and must not be afraid to use them. When the carrot is shown not to have worked then it might just be time to give the stick a go.

  21. KevinJump

    RT @leftfootfwd: Evicting council tenants will cause more problems http://t.co/scocZQM

  22. scandalousbill

    Anon,

    As the OP has stated, Criminal punishment focuses upon the individual and the offence committed, eviction does not, it can affect the offender’s family and dependants, who have not been charged, given any form of due process, allowed a defence, etc., but may suffer sanctions regardless of their knowledge or involvement in any offence committed. This is not the rule of law.

    What is clear from the aftermath of the riots and looting is that no one particular social class, age or ethnic group was responsible. They were not all kids, they were not benefit recipients, etc. Cameron’s attempt to steer the focus of the debates on the riots toward council tenants and bad parenting, is highly inflammatory, discriminatory and not supported by the evidence which is emerging from the courts. The coalition position, as articulated during today’s debate does not provide any sort of solution, but further aggravates a terrible situation. Criminal offenders can be brought to justice without the stereotypes that have been used by Cameron, Warsi, May and the right wing press. I would even go so far as to say that the situation would have been less polarized had Cameron and cronies remained on vacation.

    Incidentally, I have, in the past, lived in social housing for several years, and from my experience, the safety and well being of the residents there was given a lower priority by local authorities, and their suffering at the hand of the yobs pertained more to this form of institutionalized neglect than who happened to be their neighbour.

  23. John Green

    Your article is very inaccurate.

    Not only is it possible to evict troublesome and criminal tenants from social housing, it has been happening very successfully for many years. A council leader, interviewed on BBC, explained that several problem estates within his council juristiction had been revitalised by booting out problem families in such a manner.

    The fact that a small number of the scum responsible for the criminal actions we have seen this week are juveniles will not save them as criminal behaviour by ANY member of the family will result in eviction. This council leader from, I think, Nottingham is also proposing the eviction of scum living in rented property.

  24. John Green

    Rather than describing the rioters as “a dispossed urban youth with complex social problems”, I prefer to call them scum.

    All societies have a layer of scum floating on the surface. The role of the police and the courts is now to skim this scum from the surface of our society and bang them up.

    There are many theories as to why our society is so broken and why we have so much scum. There are the usual bleeding hearts presenting these people as victims. We have had a widely-distributed interview from that appalling man Livingstone finding numerous excuses for their actions.

    We have had a layer of scum in our society for as long as anyone can remember. The reason we have so much of it slushing around these days, I am sure, is a product of the following:
    f) a very large number of useless parents
    g) an obsession with rights brought about by many years of misguided liberal policies
    h) an absence of any sense of duty and obligation
    i) an obsession with, and an overwhelming sense of envy for, fame, celebrity, bling and personal possessions
    j) a belief in a lifestyle built around dropping out of school at an early age and claiming benefits for life, supplimented by crime and often drug-dealing

    My solution to this societal problem is a mixture of the following:
    A) demonstrate this lifestyle choice is not a good one by impossing prison sentences on the scum we collect
    B) the benefit of a prison sentence is that life will become much less comfortable for each piece of scum, involving loss of employment, eviction from their home and loss of benefits paid by the state
    C) for each successive conviction, scum will permanently lose a significant proportion of their benefit which can be restored only by significant and hard work in the community
    D) parents are made to share the punishment that follows misbehaviour of their spawn, through naming and shameing, loss of home, loss of employment or benefit

    We have spent far too long throwing money in the wrong direction and excusing scum behaviour as an inevitable result of poverty, lack of ambition and local community resources. It is interesting that, in each of the London boroughs affected by the recent riots, local community leaders have come forward to lament that years spent developing support programmes for local young people and for the unemployed have proved to be so unsuccessful.

    We need very quickly to teach the scum that they are individually responsible for their actions. If they choose not to participate fully in our educational system and therefore make themselves unemployable, then they face the consequences. If they choose to rub their genitals against those of a different gender, then they are responsible for the child who may appear as a result. Money should be taken from their wages or benefits at source to pay for the welfare of that child. Should that child misbehave in the future, both parents will be held accountable, whether or not they reside with the child.

    It will probably be impossible to rescue anyone who is currently swimming in the layer of scum. By concentrating the very youngest in our communities we may slowly over time drain the pond of scum.

    Enough. It is time the scum faced a harsh reality.

  25. Anon E Mouse

    scandalousbill – I was brought up on Hattersley council estate until my granddad (a Labour councillor in Manchester) got things sorted for us so I do know the situation on these estates.

    I also know that landlords and housing associations MUST have the rights to evict tenants that are not behaving properly and in breech of their agreements. Or what is the point of the agreement?

    As for the better off, if their landlords want to evict them then I’ll go along with that as well. People should be free to choose who then do and do not keep as tenants and I do not wish to live in a totalitarian state where politicians decide these things.

    I also happen to think that if people are convicted of burning someones whole life to the ground and all is left is the clothes they leap from the building in, then they can get what’s coming because it will not be as bad as the position they have put their victims in.

    Not one of the three individuals who have “written” this ill informed anti working class article lives in social housing and once again we have the landed gentry old monied types like the countess toff Harriet Harman telling us how we should live whilst living in luxury herself.

    To suggest that the poor on council estates should have to suffer at the hands of these anti-social yobs just because they are poor and can’t afford to move shows just how out of touch Labour has become and with only 8% of people blaming the cuts for this (which haven’t happened yet) it’s time the party woke up.

    When union leaders earn in excess of £140k a year it’s no wonder they don’t get it. Being poor isn’t a choice for these people and you advocate them being poor and miserable with the feral underclass created by Labour forced on them.

    Endangering lives for greed and burning 45 families out of their homes obviously isn’t bad enough for you scandalousbill. What do they have to do to be evicted? Why don’t you care about the law abiding people suffering with these thugs on their estates?

  26. scandalousbill

    Anon, and John Green,

    What your underlying positions advocate is guilt by association. This is not the rule of law, full stop.

    The criminal justice system provides a process whereby offenders are made to face the consequences of their actions. If additional amendment to current sentencing practice is required, it is within this context that debate should occur.

  27. John Green

    scandalous bill

    That is exactly what is now happening. The scum resonsible for the recent criminal acts are now being sentenced. We can only hope that the sentences are severe enough to deter other scum from following their example.

  28. Anon E Mouse

    scandalousbill – When did I advocate punishing people by “guilt by association”.

    Tell me why councils should not have the rights to evict people who are in breech of their tenancy?

    So far I have heard Labour councillors from Salford and Nottingham who want to do this and why shouldn’t they…

  29. Graham Taylor

    Please come to Tower Hamlets and talk to my neighbours on my estate – you know the type of hard working working class peaple that the Labour party used to represent and whom used to vote for us.

    As a Fabian, and a hard working Labour Party activist your attitudes turn my stomach.

  30. Leon Wolfson

    @1 – The Tories wanted less bank regulation, so would have furthered welfare for bankers, city slickers and spivs. Except you won’t admit this, and claim that Tory actions while out of power are irrelevant, while Labour actions while out of power are super-relevant *again*.

    @7 – Yep, punish the poor harder while choking off the job supply. Typical Nasty Party tactics.

    Typical Tories come to troll and prevent rational debate here rather than posting on sites for the right.

  31. Anon E Mouse

    Leon Wolfson – Despite your obvious limitations and your constant outpouring of lies and untruths in this fine blog I would just point out that being the danger magnet that you claim to be I do not understand why you didn’t head to the riots to deflect the trouble towards yourself.

    After all I have never met anybody who, by his own admission, has been shot at, bombed and ambushed (twice) by a marauding gang of the BNP.

    I have never heard such unbelievable nonsense spouted in blogs so I for one will be treating your remarks and tall tales with the derision they deserve….

    MMMMMWWWWWWWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

  32. Clare Fernyhough

    John Green and others. Deary me! You’ve obviously not been following the news very carefully have you? You do make some valid points nevertheless, but I have replaced the term ‘scum’ with ‘young person’, ‘people’ etc.

    What shall we do with all of the youngster that were rioting who were offspring (not spawn) of the middle classes ? Do we deprive their parents of income and home? I don’t think that would go down very well, do you?

    We are all outraged, of course. The young and old, educated and not, better off and poor, who committed these acts must be punished, but by due process of law. There are some good points you make in that respect:

    A) demonstrate this lifestyle choice is not a good one by imposing prison sentences on the ‘people’ we collect. My addition:they also need appropriate rehabilitation so that they avoid doing this again.

    B) the benefit of a prison sentence is that life will become much less comfortable for each ‘person’
    My addition: prison can be a deterrent it is true, but in this distorted age we live in, it is often a badge of honour. What would be better is restorative justice, so that these people have to both pay out of their pocket and use their time to rebuild and clean up these areas.

    As for your other solutions, taking benefits and homes away from people who are already poor won’t work because:

    A) The problem is being moved on not addressed

    and

    B) If families are left without income they will likely commit further acts of robbery or criminality to survive.

    Reactionary politics that makes law ‘on the hoof’ often results in bad law too. Better to look at structures in society that will help prevent this in the future, like compulsory community service for young people as a matter of course as part of the ‘citizenship’ modules, and more action with regard to truanting. Also, there have been a few projects where whole families have had mentoring and support; they are expensive, but if my memory serves right, in almost every case family life was transformed and they stopped receiving asbos, getting in trouble with the police, and were supported into work.

    You describe these people as products of the following; please see my annotations:

    f) a very large number of useless parents. My point: there are probably many more good parents than bad parents in the UK; if there were not, the UK would be in a real mess!

    g) an obsession with rights brought about by many years of misguided liberal policies. My point: whilst I agree that the Children’s Act has caused problems, it did so for me (see below), M. P.s of all political persuasions have passed legislation to protect children. You also have to remember that children are subject to the laws their ‘betters’ make for them. So the blame lies firmly with successive governments who have made such laws if they are deficient in any way.

    h) an absence of any sense of duty and obligation. My point: I agree, but again we have to ask ourselves just why don’t they feel like this?

    i) an obsession with, and an overwhelming sense of envy for, fame, celebrity, bling and personal possessions. My point: totally agree, but probably for different reasons than you. These youngsters don’t make the films, tv and adverts or approve what is aired on tv; no, that is done by very highly qualified graduates and business people often fed in from the top universities in the country. The ‘watershed’ has no meaning when explicitly sexual rap and other music videos are shown in the middle of the day, and programmes like ‘sexetra’ are available on the freview without parental locks, and the equipment is found in every child’s bedroom.

    Did the youngsters ask to be exposed to that? No! It is hypocritical for us as adults to say they should not aspire to these things despite knowing that it is adults who have exposed them to such influences. Adults who are well aware of that, including successive governments, have allowed the floodgates to open with regard to these influences, perhaps under pressure of media moguls and corporations eager to sell their goods. It is an absolute disgrace that we expose the vulnerable to these things.

    As for advertising they use psychologists to work out how to appeal to people, including young people. The fact is that impressionable youngsters are exposed to this continually; even if you restrict it in your own home (as I did), they end up seeing it somewhere else. Now that internet and phones are so advanced it is almost impossible to stop your youngster from being influenced in some way.

    j) a belief in a lifestyle built around dropping out of school at an early age and claiming benefits for life, supplemented by crime and often drug-dealing. My point: I agree to an extent, but again youngsters are conditioned by what they see around them. They cannot choose where they live. In addition to that, there will never be full employment in this country. In boom times the number of jobs in the economy are around 600,000; at present, the number is 400,000. I presume you know the total unemployed in the UK? Do the maths. Some of these youngsters will never have jobs.

    What should be done then is to give them and other people something useful to do in the community so at least they have the pride of knowing that they are earning their benefits (not worthless job placements that amount to cheap labour), which will give them a sense of pride in themselves and in their communities. No one has addressed this because no one likes to state the fact that there will never be enough jobs for everyone. What has happened this last week shows us that something has to be done for these people in terms of their quality of life. People who are happy, loved, have a worthwhile occupation and so are contented do not go looting!

    If we want a better society, we have to make a better society. Strong societies are built by systems and yes laws that support that. I did not feel supported as a parent. Something horrible happened to my family that seriously affected my youngest. When I approached the relative authorities for help, I had many meetings, but I was told they could not provide support because I was already a good mum; they could not do any more.

    Because of the Child Act, when my youngest kept running away, despite being vulnerable and ill, I was told by the police that the act said that I could not be informed of her whereabouts because she was 14. When she did return, the police told me that if I locked my front door in the evening to prevent her running away, I would be arrested. How can a parent discipline a youngster when they now hold all the cards? Children are routinely calling social services, the police and threatening their parents with ‘childline’ because they cannot get their own way. In that sense, I agree that recent law has put too much power into the hands of children. It is hardly surprising that parents facing insurmountable problems, give up because they have no power to ‘discipline’ (which comes from a Greek word that means ‘to make a learner’; I’m not saying we should hit them)

    If this was 10 years ago, my youngster may well have been involved with looting, not because she is bad, but because of being vulnerable, impressionable and ill. There would have been nothing that I would have been able to do about it, because I would be prevented by law from doing something as simple as ‘grounding’ her. Does that mean that I should lose my home or be punished financially? I don’t think so.

    There must have been many good parents of these so called ‘scum’ who were in exactly the same boat. There were also different groups involved in this. The ‘usual suspects’; people committing crimes under the veil of the riot. People who were looting. People intent on causing damage, setting fires, and hurtling bricks in full knowledge that lives could be at risk. People with a genuine grievance against the police. Youngsters looting because they got carried away with the moment. The list goes on and on. ALL of them are wrong and should be punished appropriately, but different people were there for different reasons so we can’t tar them all with the same brush. Also remember that the cerebral cortex in young people does not mature until the age of 21 or above. This area of the brain is needed for maturity and for understanding consequences. This is the reason teenager, even those from good families, cause their parents hell and do the most stupid things that sometimes endanger themselves or other people.

    I don’t belong to any political party so I have no axe to grind in any way. I don’t believe in being soft on people, but I do believe in supportive systems and this cannot just come from the home environment, we need a society that promotes this. Unfortunately, we do not have a society like this, and these kids didn’t make the society, the rich and powerful did, so if they don’t want this to happen again, those who can need to sort it out. It is too late now I fear.

  33. John Green

    The very good news is that in excess of 1,600 pieces of scum have been arrested so far. More than half of these have appeared in court and been sentenced or referred to a county court. Some have begun prison sentences and the first evictions from social housing are taking place. Convicted students are being thrown out of college and hopefully some of this scum will lose their employment. We can only hope that the rest of the thick layer of scum floating on the surface of our society will take note.

    Would it not be nice if those representatives of the gutter press that are read by the pieces of scum who can read, such as Sun, Mirror, Mail, Express, Star etc, would combine to offer substancial rewards to those citizens who can identify the scum not yet apprehended for the violence, thieving and malicious damage carried out in our city centres.

    The last week of Parliament before the recess was marred by the hopelessly inadequate performance of the Select Committees interviewing the executives of NOW Corporation and the senior officers of the Met. The performance of most committee members was utterly gormless. Yesterday’s debate was not much better with Labour members queuing up to blame the riots on cuts to police numbers. The facts are that police numbers in the Met last year were 33,000 officers. During this last weekend the number was just over 32,000. When the full quota of 20% redundancies is reached we shall have the same number of officers nationally as we had in 2003-4 and in the Met as we had in 2007. I cannot remember a surge in rioting scum during those years. Still, Labour has never let the true facts spoil a good story.

  34. Anon E Mouse

    Clare Fernyhough – What you fail to notice is that whilst richer people can live decent lives not wrecked by these despicable individuals, created by a state that has pandered to their bad behaviour for decades, poorer people are forced to put up with them.

    These lawbreakers need to be moved on from decent people trying to get on with their lives. Where they live is their responsibility and not the problem of the state. In fact what business of the state is it where they live?

    This is not North Korea, Cuba or any other of those other horrible places without freedom.

    There is simply no point in having Tenancy Agreements if they cannot be enforced and the councils are quite right to act within their legal rights to have these people removed ASAP.

    There is also no excuse to force poor people in social housing to put up with this unacceptable type of behaviour when richer people wouldn’t. The drinking in the streets, revving cars and loud music half the night because they have nothing to get up early for.

    I would go further and suggest that wealthy people, like Ed Miliband living in Primrose Hill, should take some of these shell suited tattooed thugs with their vicious dogs in as lodgers and show that he does indeed understand the situation and want to help…

  35. Ali

    I am quite strongly in support of removing problem families from the area they live in. I’ve actually seen it work first hand in a way that I don’t think was predicted.

    I come from a very socially deprived town, with a history of being (supposedly) the ASBO capital of the UK. Eventually the council adopted this policy, and the effect was quite dramatic. I have no doubt that the original intention was to make an example of people and scare the parents concerned into controlling their children, but in reality it worked for a completely different reason. It was fairly obvious that the problems occurring were being orchestrated by maybe four or five ringleaders, who were controlling the weaker kids. When the group was broken up and moved to other areas, the destructive influence was removed and the vast majority of them returned to being normal teenagers – there were a couple of exceptions, but out of a group of 20-25, four that I can think of that ended up in prison.

    Perhaps we should stop talking about this as a punitive measure, and start looking at it as a way to help families that are struggling to cope with the effects that a inherently criminal minority has on their families. The boys controlling the gang were genuinely frightening, borderline personalities – I was frightened of them all as an adult, so I do have sympathy for the kids who got caught up with them. Most of them did as they were asked because they or their families were threatened if they didn’t. Their families didn’t step up to “control” them, because it put them at risk of physical assault or damage to their property. I’m only in contact with one of the families concerned these days, but the Mother tells me that although the initial process was stressful, it’s still the best thing that ever happened to her and her family.

  36. Paul Meagher

    Evicting council tenants will cause more problems: http://bit.ly/qRr4q9 : writes James Gregory and Kevin Meagher #riots

  37. Revolution

    It’s all kicking off and the middle classes are getting scared.

    Wait until their pensions are wiped with the next financial collapse and we’ll see how many of them are on the streets themselves.

    I have never had so much ‘entertainment’ in a long time, the riots were brilliant for this country – a real wake up call for the sheepeople masses.
    Watching the media, politicians and police fall over themselves trying to ‘work out the causes’ has been hillarious. Everyone was ready, they were just waiting for the next ‘spark’. The murder of another man on the streets of london by a police officer provided that spark – but the tinder had been there for some time.

    Some of us knew this was coming and have been preparing, that’s why I have no fear of what’s coming up next.

  38. Alfred Watts

    John Green

    “The very good news is that in excess of 1,600 pieces of scum have been arrested so far.”

    Carry on John, your brave words will all go missing during the next riot – oh do you really think this is it?

    Have you learnt NOTHING from history man?

    You right wingers are all the same – you ‘solve’ conflict by starting wars, you ‘solve’ poverty with greater inequality and you ‘solve’ disunity by providing more division.

    All you will do is create more recruits for the uprising which is occuring….or do you still believe that’s not going to happen?

    I bet you though this recession would be over by now too!

  39. Alfred Watts

    Were you abused as a child John Green? – do you want to talk about it?

    Keeping all that hate botled up inside is doing you no good.

  40. Shamik Das

    @SamAmbreen No worries! Here's our take on it: http://t.co/taw9xHM – lemme know if u fancy writing a follow up for us. cheers!

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