Working in partnership with others to make a positive difference to the people in the city, and improve our understanding of issues in a diverse community.
As the disorder spreads to other London boroughs, residents of Bradford, Oldham and Burnley are probably reliving the divisive legacy of the Northern disturbances which strained community relationships and created a breach between the police and Asian communities who metaphorically sold their shares in the police as public confidence dipped. If we are to draw any lessons from Bradford’s 2001 Disturbances then it must be that an effective policy response will not be found through recourse to simplistic rhetoric – whether it be about parallel and segregated communities in 2001 or about the increasing gun and knife ‘criminality’ among African-Caribbean youth in 2011 - but by sustained engagement with multiple and complex social problems.
The rioters in Tottenham have just sent out their own message from the 'social market index' trading in public trust and confidence: between them, swingeing public sector cuts and Big Society tokenism have all meant the government has already defaulted on its obligations to the people of Britain. The big question is whether the government will be able to hear this message over the chatter between Wall Street and the City and – even if it does – whether it is capable of abandoning its ideological fixation with zombie neo-liberalism and, instead, invest in fostering the bonds of community. If it fails to do so then the hot money must surely be on the further growth of the already massive deficit in social harmony - and the consequent emergence of the Big Bad Society.