Earlier this week, David Willets suggested that many of the young people involved in the riots in England’s cities belong to families with absent fathers. It was a surprisingly unguarded moment from the usually composed higher education minister. What is more surprising, however, is that many within government circles seem to think that blaming the parents is plausible as an alternative to the explanations centred on poverty and inequality favoured on the left – as if family breakdown, like the unrest itself, has nothing to do with the experience of hardship.
In the ongoing search for the deeper causes of the riots, the shortcomings of parental support are certainly a key part of the story; yet it is primarily the state, rather than mums and dads, that is at fault in this regard. When the state abdicates its role in providing due care towards those on the threshold of adulthood, outbreaks of super-sized adolescence are almost inevitable.
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Image: Beacon Radio