Parents in the dock after England riots

Ironically, it was International Youth Day on Friday. The annual event is supposed to serve as a global reminder of how precious new generations are.

Babatunde Osotimehin, director of the United Nations Population Fund – an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity – suggests dialogue with young people is the way forward .

In a message on the UNPFA’s website, Dr Osotimehin said:

Today on International Youth Day, and every day, youth should be able to participate in decision-making in their families, communities, and nations.

The voices of youth should be heard in meetings within governments and within the United Nations.

Yes, youth participation is a matter of human rights and it is also a matter of being effective at addressing the challenges that we face as humanity.

In our world today there are 1.8 billion young people aged 10 to 24.

When societies embrace youth as partners, we improve our chances of finding solutions to our most pressing problems.

Today too many young people are deprived of opportunities, peace and stability.

As never before, youth are bombarded with sexually explicit images. There is a growing need for sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services that meet the needs of young people.”

The UNPFA’s goal is to reduce extreme poverty by 2015, by focusing on three core areas of work “reproductive health, gender equality and population and development strategies” which, it says, are “inextricably related”.

In the aftermath of the England Riots the spotlight has turned to familial responsibility.

The blame is being laid at the door of so-called “dysfunctional families”.

And, judging from all the scathing comments, statements and finger-wagging this includes single parents, unemployed parents, young mothers and errant fathers.

The family should be the foundation from which each child springs from into the world.

But to surmise this whole shameful episode is a result of bad or non-existent parenting is at best too simplistic and at worse disingenuous.

Below are several definitions for the word: society.

a. The totality of social relationships among humans.

b. A group of humans broadly distinguished from other groups by mutual interests, participation in characteristic relationships, shared institutions, and a common culture.

c. The institutions and culture of a distinct self-perpetuating group.

2. An organisation or association of persons engaged in a common profession, activity, or interest:

3.a. The rich, privileged, and fashionable social class.

b. The socially dominant members of a community.

4. Companionship; company:

5. Biology A colony or community of organisms, usually of the same species

The clean-up campaigns taking place across England and the selfless words from bereaved father Tariq Jahan, whose son, Haroon, was killed in a hit-and-run incident during the riots in Winson Green, Birmingham on Wednesday, serve as reminders of what is great about England.

So-called educated people representing different schools of thought taking to denigrating other races and cultures as well as each other on television is both unhelpful and irresponsible.

Resorting to labelling or pigeonholing certain sections of society is regressive and tired. In fact, I can feel ennui setting in. 

Let us dispense with the name calling and get on with the business of rebuilding a society we can all take pride in.

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Goodness! They are dropping like flies…..

“This can’t be the first resignation…,” Ken Livingstone talking to BBC News 24 about the shock resignation of Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson.

Mr Livingstone also indicated that others within the met should be off too.

Sir Paul could not have predicted that a few weeks of “R and R” at the glamorous Champneys would leave his glittering police career in tatters on one miserable, wet Sunday evening in July 2011.

How the mighty are being wiped out by the NotW scandal.

I have to admit when this whole saga began unravelling at alarming speed almost two weeks ago, I could never have predicted the whirlwind would have swept up so many high-profile figures.

It is no longer a question of what will happen next but whose head will be next on the chopping block.

Anyone else either directly involved or connected in any way to this saga must now be viewing this as a reign of terror.

Maximilien Marie Isidore de Robespierre would have been proud…..


Plurality call over the NotW fallout

No doubt buoyed by the latest developments which have seen Rupert Murdoch fly to the UK and apologise in person to the Dowler family and Rebekah Brooks arrested, Ed Miliband is now calling for plurality in the media.

Interestingly, he has the firm backing of Nick Clegg who outlined the need for it, along with “diversity” and “accountability” in the media, on Andrew Marr this morning.

Hang on a minute!

Anybody would think the close relationship between the press and politicians is something that has recently occurred in this country.

Neither is it unusual for one man to own a substantial amount of the press.

William Maxwell Aitken (1879-1964) the first Lord Beaverbrook, made his mark in newspapers, politics and finance.

Apart from having a successful parliamentary career – he was one of only three men to serve in the cabinet – he acquired the majority shareholding in the Daily Express and the Evening Standard.

Lord Beaverbrook also courted his fair share of controversy.

The point I am trying to make, if you had not already realised, is that I doubt that there has ever been a time when parliamentarians did not rub shoulders with journalists and their editors.

After all, at least half of them would have attended the same schools and universities – Oxford and Cambridge.

I am all for more transparency but we must be realistic about what is actually possible without going to extremes to make a point, especially a political one.

Why did Rebekah Brooks choose today to resign?

Gone but not forgotten.

Rebekah Brooks will certainly not be forgotten by Milly Dowler’s family or the 200 News of the World journalists who are currently filling in Job Seekers Allowance forms.

I thought I would let the dust settle – hence no post yesterday.

I do not claim to have an oracle but something told me someone or something was about to give.

Yesterday morning the wise and much-respected former editor of the Guardian Newspaper, Peter Preston, appealed for calm as other voices were calling for ways to muzzle “The Press”.

Later on Tony Blair talked about “getting everything out in open”.

Mais excusez-moi! He must be aware of the proverb: “People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.”

This from a man who apparently “doesn’t do God” but then promptly converts to Catholicism after leaving office.

The words “kettle” and “black” also spring to mind come to think of it….

I am not even going to mention the so-called “dodgy dossier”.

Oh, damn it!

Then the Huffington Post reveals the FBI is to launch an investigation following reports alleging the phones of 9/11 victims may have been hacked into.

Meanwhile, father and son Murdoch make a surprise u-turn after refusing to appear before a parliamentary committee next Tuesday, and leaving the beleaguered Mrs Brooks to take MPs’ questions on the chin.

Finally, one of the richest men in the world who just happens to own a staggering seven percent stake in News Corp – making him the second largest shareholder – grants Newsnight an exclusive interview.

Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal stated the News International chief excecutive would have to resign if there was any sign of her involvement.

Lo and behold Rebekah falls on her sword the next morning and her successor is swiftly announced.

Of course, we can all speculate until the cows come home but it is likely we will never actually discover why she chose to leave when she did……..