What a difference a year makes. This time last year, London and the rest of the United Kingdom were in a state of shock as riots (and subsequent looting) held the authorities hostage for over a week. Writing on this subject back then, I stressed that what was needed was a collective response from both the government and wider society in dealing with the complex background context that had fermented the riots. I talked about the need to engage with each other and to start the process of ‘linking’ to not only understand each other but to strengthen communities, add to social cohesion and contribute to personal and professional development through friendships made, as well as work undertaken across the partnerships. Linking, partnerships, and engagement all mean the same thing: a sense of cooperation that leads to better understanding that should be encouraged and supported. This is a powerful tool for the promotion of dialogue, tolerance, and harmonious living.
However, since then, despite assurances of addressing some of the real issues, it seems that not much has really been done. Some compensations have been paid out (though it appears not in amounts promised), damaged buildings have been rebuilt and looters have been jailed. But there has been very little done to address some of the underlying factors that precipitated the riots.
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