Sir, — On Monday, rioting occurred in Birmingham both in the city centre and in the parish of St James, Handsworth. Thank God that no one was injured.
Driving around the morning after and observing the damage, we were brought to see that there was nothing mindless about what happened. Apart from a few cars smashed up, which happens from time to time anyway, the action had targeted two of our banks and telephone and electrical shops. The vast majority of shops were spared.
We are still seeing bankers collect huge multimillion bonuses on top of their far-too-lavish salaries. The world economy is in free fall. When you pause to consider what ails our young people, then the actions make a brutal sense.
We are not condoning violence, but we can see how this has happened. The rate of unemployment among young people in Birmingham, and particularly in this area, is extremely high. Bored, alienated, and knowing that their life-chances are low — what are people expected to do?
The challenge to the Church is how we are going to meet these needs for justice and for equality. How are we going to do mission as well as pray in the privacy of our homes?
St James’s Vicarage
Birmingham B21 8NJd