Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Riots / Olympics / TeamUK for the Nation.

These issues are where my heart is ..........

"If you can't read or write, you're not likely to get a job. If you don't have a job, you're much more likely to commit crime. About half of young black men don't have jobs. You don't need a GCSE to do the maths. If we want to solve this, we have to make schools better. We have to encourage more men, and more black men, to teach. We have to make sure that someone teaches these children how to read, and write, and speak.

The last time we saw more black people than white people in a TV studio was a year ago. It was, in fact, during the riots. When the riots happened, lots of people said they had nothing to do with race, but you don't normally get people being asked about their "community" when things have nothing to do with race. The riots started, in a part of London with a black population five times bigger than the average for the country, when a black man was killed by the police. As the madness spread, across the city, and across the country, to people who had no idea why it had started, things changed. Some people who got caught up in it were middle-aged. Some were middle-class. Some were girls. But most were young and male. And an awful lot of them – about half, according to the figures from the Ministry of Justice – were mixed race, or black.

A year on from the events that wrecked many people's homes, and hopes, and the future of the people who wrecked them, not all that much has changed. But it doesn't take a year to solve a problem like this. It takes at least a generation.

It's 16 years since the Olympic Games in which we – if you can call those of us who didn't take part "we" – won a single gold medal. Someone decided that wasn't good enough. Someone decided our country deserved better. Someone decided to spend money, and time, and thought, and care, to make sure it achieved what it knew, if it was given the chance, it could.

Let's try. Let's take this moment, and this feeling of being a family, and try. Let's make Mo Farah, and Jessica Ennis, and Greg Rutherford, and all the men and women who have brought us so much joy, as proud of their country as we are of them."

The Independent Newspaper