My thoughts on the recent disorder
August 24, 2011 Leave a comment
Barnet was left relatively unscathed a couple of weeks ago during the disorder that affected much of London. This was in part thanks to the excellent tactics of the Barnet police, led by Chief Superintendent Basu but good fortune and local geography also played a part.
I was away for the week of the riots working on a youth camp with the Jewish Lads and Girls Brigade. As I have mentioned previously, we are the oldest Jewish youth organisation in the country and each year we take 200 youngsters away camping. I have been involved for last 17 summers both as a member of the youth group and now as a leader.
The camp, which takes place in East Mersea, near Colchester is a wonderful example of how traditional values can be passed on to young members of our society. Activities and entertainment are provided for the members from first thing in the morning until they go to bed. They are split up into ‘platoons’ each with their own theme, and take part in round robin activities, sport, shows and competitions. Like a traditional Boys or Girls brigade there is a daily parade, tents are inspected for tidiness and there are drill competitions. The camp is one of the highlight of my year and the members seem to enjoy it, with numbers rising every year.
The reason I mention this in the context of the riots is that I had to decide if I should return to my day job during these problems. As well as a Barnet Councillor I am the head of office for the Conservative Party on the London Assembly. The riots had a huge impact on the members I look after and my staff who were working overtime to ensure that they were being supported. There was also some discussion during this period about the Assembly also being recalled.
I decided not to return. I believe the work that we do on this camp is vital. The objective of our organisation sums up perfectly what we are trying to do, it says, “The Object of the Jewish Lads’ and Girls’ Brigade is to train its members in loyalty, honour, discipline and self respect that they shall become worthy and useful citizens and a credit to their Country and their Community.” Maybe the growth of uniform organisations such as this and the Scouts and Girl Guides, could go a long way to solve the challenges we are currently facing.