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The London riots (v) You Me and Dupree (David)

Image is everything – or so they say. But who are ‘they’? After the UK riots back in August, even those with a left or liberal political background, were stamping their hands and feet for strict punishment and strong sentencing. Rightly so. However, is anyone else slightly disturbed by how little media coverage has been given, to the good that has been done in the four months since? What good?….you may ask…

I was made redundant back in July and having lived in London, I can tell you that the wide spread fear, was not only felt by the people that lived and ‘hid’ in their houses across the UK,  but anyone who has lived in the UK at
 all. It initially felt like a ‘28 days later’ scenario was evolving. The media was full of scary pictures and tales and again – rightly so. But lets take a step back – lets look outside of the ‘four walls’ of our TV screens and consider the statistics.There were around 4000 people arrested during the UK riots. Around 2000 have been convicted. It is estimated that around 15-16,000 people took part in the first place.*

Every creed. Every colour. And every age group was involved. Like any major city in the Western World, it is no surprise that the demographics of who was involved, included a mix of all races and creeds. But, how were the crimes and general misbehaviour portrayed in our living rooms? Would it be fair to say that the ‘image’ that lasted, was that it was mostly the young, it was an ethnically diverse group, and they were ‘poor’?

True – but there were also many over 30 – 40 year old’s involved and many people from a ‘Graduate’ and middle class background. Image is everything and therefore let me help paint another picture of the ‘young’ people that I have had the pleasure of finding out about over the last 4 months. But while I tell you a little bit about them, consider this – how much media coverage have they had?

Shamsul Duha is a recent Graduate based in London. Shamsul has guest blogged for TheEmployable before and his new Social Enterprise ‘SooUni’ helps to provide a gateway for students to access events to boost their education and employability…Follow him on Twitter here.

Ruth Johnston is a recent Photography graduate from the University of Portsmouth. She is currently “employable” after finishing a recent Internship and she writes all the time using her blog to promote her work, practice her writing and hoping her enthusiasm and proactivity finds her a job. She cannot find a paid job! David “£41 millon extra for the Olympics – out the hat” Cameron, can we afford to spend 0.001% of this budget to help Ruth set up or encourage an employer to employ her? She could even take photo’s at the open Ceremony perhaps…
Mathy “If there is no job out there for me, let me create one” Lisika-Minsende. Those were the words she pronounced, when she found out, she was losing her job and her Father to cancer 8 months ago. She is an inspiration to us all and has recently set up a jobs club / ‘Tell it like it is’ meeting place based in London, and is trying to not only set up her own business, but help improve other people’s employability too!  You can find Mathy on Twitter here.

Dubem Menakaya is the President of Southend Enterprie Society. A society that he helped to set up – this year. Oh – he is at University and he lives in Essex and he is 21. The Southend Enterprise Society was founded to help and inspire students to achieve their ambitions…..Check out the Southend Enterprise Society here.

Featuring on our site a few times and doing it for the Unemployed and ‘no jobs to find’ Graduates, are Ed and
 Ross from BuyMyFace. Seeing as we have given them enough ‘face time’ now, I won’t go on too long, but these two guys are making thousands, becoming minor celebs, and paying off their debts, just by advertising company logo’s on their faces for a year, which goes to prove that your silly idea, might be the next big thing! To be fair, they have got a lot of coverage in the media, but its proof that money can be made, from no more than a good idea.
That is just a few, of the many empowered individuals out there, and in terms of Youth groups, who heard about the 2011 Jarrow March organised by campaign group, Youth Fight for Jobs, or the Walk to Work March that was organised by the Ready for Work gang that both happened in the last 4 months.  Both got some media coverage, but little comparable to the live media coverage time spent hovering outside UK courts, hoping to catch another rioter ‘getting their justice’?

Seeing as I mentioned the Olympics; £41 million pounds appeared from no where, the other day, to help
the Olympic image – ‘make London look good’. David Cameron, the UK’s ‘leader’, would argue that it is £41million pounds well spent, and maybe so. However, if we can find £41 million, after David apparently decided that the brief he was given on the opening ceremony was not good enough, then perhaps we can find another £41 million to spend on the young, gifted, talent and ‘already doing it’ youth. Did I forget to mention that they were young, and by the way, from all creeds, races, and backgrounds?

When I was contacted by new online youth publication Avenue Magazine, they asked me to write a piece for their Young and Ready project. The Young and Ready Project was created to address the negative way young people are portrayed in the media in general and to empower the said ‘youth’ to use their talents and skills. But the thing is, many young people, of all creeds, colours and backgrounds are doing this anyway, we just need to hear about it!

For immediate proof of this, please take five minutes out to check out Richard Branson’s Entrepreneurial platform Virgin Media Pioneers. This is the ‘real image’ of the real diverse and talented UK, and I argue more should be done to readdress the balance in portraying it, both from our Politicians and the Media itself.

Hail The Employable and Hail the Young and Ready!


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