Monday, August 15, 2011

To Mr. and Mrs David Cameron from Nathaniel Tapley

Much has been written on the riots in Britain and no doubt there will be many theses produced in the coming few years.  Having spent May to July in Europe, much of it in England, I must admit to not being surprised that the riots have occurred, deplorable though all such acts are.   In the many pages of analysis look for those that address the systemic factors that  have given rise to the riots but perhaps more importantly look to the future and ask: starting from here how is the situation to be dealt with systemically?

For me one key issue to look at is the English schooling system and the very low percentage of students who go on to A levels.  In some ways aspects of  the schooling system are designed to  produce alienation - and this has nothing to do with teachers and the many well intentioned people who contribute to schooling.  It is a long-standing structural problem in my view - yet to be fully overcome despite recent innovations.

But this is only one aspect of a complex situation.  Natt Tapley points to another important facet - that is the role models that leaders provide, and in this respect his letter is a beauty. Nothing alienates more than those who cannot walk the talk - it is bad enough when those who do not know that that is what they do prognosticate but even worse when this behaviour is pursued knowingly.

No comments: