Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/656/11091
Boris Johnson visits Waltham Forest
Tories have no solutions to youth crime
Waltham Forest is a borough which has an above average rate of violent youth crime. This can have a devastating effect on the lives of people who live in our area, so the opportunity to ask questions at Boris Johnson's recent 'community conversation' was welcomed by many. But in reality, the forum failed to address the causes or offer solutions to violent crime.
Claire Laker-Mansfield, Waltham Forest Youth Fight for Jobs
The most ironic comment of the night came from the lips of Boris Johnson himself: "What will ultimately tackle the problem of youth violence is economic prosperity - jobs and education for youngsters." Well, perhaps on one thing Youth Fight for Jobs (YFJ) does agree with the mayor!
It is a complete lack of opportunities and the desperation that often follows from that which can lead some young people down the path of crime. But the reality is that what this Tory-led government is doing and what the Mayor himself is doing regionally is working to actively deny young people those opportunities.
"What young people need is some 'pre-pre internships' - to be taken on for a week in the city for experience" was what one panel member (a former city banker) had to say on the matter.
But one local resident was far closer to the mark when he shouted out "people need jobs" as Boris Johnson was condemning local parents for failing to exercise enough discipline.
Boris's panel lacked any representatives from the youth offending service in our area. That's probably because it's being cut massively due to Tory austerity measures carried out by a Labour council. None of the hundreds of public sector workers who work with young people were given a say and there weren't any representatives from local community campaigns or trade unions allowed to speak.
Even more worryingly, the panel did not include any young people and those who were in the audience were denied the opportunity to ask questions and describe the problems they face.
Youth Fight for Jobs challenges Boris Johnson to return to the borough to answer this question:
'As a result of government funding cuts carried out by the mayor's own party, the local council is cutting services which include the Youth Offending Service, Safeguarding Children, Community Learning and Skills, Education Welfare officers, and careers advisers. It is becoming harder to remain in education if you come from a poorer background because of the Tory fees increase and cutting of EMA. The mayor himself has scrapped free travel for young people over 16, making it harder to travel to college. Does the mayor agree that these moves are likely to add to the problem of youth crime in the area?'
In The Socialist 2 February 2011:
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party youth and students
Socialist Party workplace news
Socialist Party Marxist analysis