Working with young people in the shadow of the riots.
Given that we don’t have any big party donors, or unions to bank roll us here at the Pirate Party I do have day jobs as well. One of which is working with teenagers on creative projects. All of you who think this is soft bleeding heart liberalism are welcome to come and take a workshop sometime. It would challenge the most hardened of party whips.
Despite all the positive research in this area, who knows how much difference it really all makes. At the end of the day all we can ever do is use the skills we have to the best ends possible. I do know I have taught 1000s of young people over the years.
Today I have been working with some teenagers in Rossendale. It has been good to find time to discuss with them what has happened in the riots. I have seen an awful lot of people, many on social networks, many involved in politics, talking about young people. But few of us actually seem to talk with young people, outside of the obligatory press opportunities.
The teenagers I talked to were shocked and worried about what happened in Manchester. And were well informed. They wanted it not to kick off in Burnley. They had views about the areas they live in. And some wanted to take out chavs with a bar for attacking Afflecks. I think I’ve managed to persuade them that this is not a good idea.
But in all honesty how the hell am I supposed to do this with any authority when adults are suggesting the same thing? When adults are investing in baseball bats. Are shouting with approval for people being taken out. Are calling for violent means whether its by vigilantes or the state. Please make my job easier.
Once we’ve picked up the literal pieces we need to pick up the pieces in a larger sense. I don’t think anyone knows the definitve answer how to do that right now, whatever they say, whether Mail or Guardian reader. It won’t all be drama workshops. It won’t all be discipline. And anyone who thinks you can do the former without the latter hasn’t ever worked with me. But I do think that talking with, rather than about, young people is a place to start.