Damian Thompson, Telegraph (London), August 8, 2011
The roots of these appalling events are many and tangled, but for the moment let’s just focus on one: the way Britain’s educational establishment has cringed helplessly in the face of a gang culture that rejects every tenet of liberal society. It’s violent, it’s sexist, it’s homophobic and it’s racist. But it is broadly tolerated by many people in the black community, which has lost control of its teenage youths. Those youths scare the wits out of teachers and social workers–and some police officers, too. The threat of physical violence is ever present in many schools, and one can hardly blame individual teachers for recoiling from it. But we should and must blame those schools and education authorities that have made extra space for gang culture in children’s lives because they believe it is an authentic expression of Afro-Caribbean and Asian identity. We are seeing a lot of black faces on our screens tonight; it’s a shame that the spotlight can’t also fall on those white multiculturalists who made this outrage possible.