Today I have written an article for The Guardian to mark five years since the 2011 riots in Tottenham and across our country: It's five years since the riots, but the rifts in society are wider than ever. I argue that the lessons of 2011 have gone unlearnt, that millions still feel as though they have no stake in society and that this feeling of hopelessness and powerlessness can quickly turn to anger and violence.
Black men are still three times more likely to be stopped and searched than their white counterparts. Biting austerity has left a grim legacy in places like Tottenham. Youth centres have closed their doors a stone’s throw from where the riots broke out. Huge cuts in police budgets mean that officers and the communities they serve have drifted further apart.
We are seeing the gap between an asset class and an underclass growing ever larger. The chasm between the haves and the have-nots looks set to become increasingly vast for future generations.
Five years on there are still many, many rivers to cross.