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War! What is it good for?

GANG WARFARE: David Cameron’s war on gangs and hoodies may end up making the problems behind the riots much worse

CAMERON AND Co really need to take a careful look at their use of language when talking about gangs and gang culture.

Last week the Prime Minister declared a ‘war on gangs.’ This type of tough talk will probably play out well with the Daily Mail and shire electorate, but not so well with gang members themselves.

There is something quite foreboding when he, as Prime Minister, talks about declaring war on gangs and hoodies. In my understanding you declare war on countries, you declare war on your enemy, not the people over whom you have governance. Should we be expecting tanks and scud missiles over Brixton, Peckham and Moss Side?

The problem with declaring war is that there will always be a loser - and it may not always be the other guy!


It’s clear that Dave does not have a clue about the psyche of black people, particularly those from the wrong side of the tracks. They are a tough crowd. Let’s face it, they have been rejected from the mainstream world and more than likely carry a history of rejection from birth. But gang protocol illuminates the power and strength that young people have when they share and connect.

In throwing down the gauntlet rather than creating dialogue, I fear that Cameron has simply poured fuel onto a very angry fire, much akin to striking a match in a petrol station.

These gang members operate in a not so different world to those in corporate and political environments. Not unlike to mainstream society, there is the same egotistic climb to the top by the determined, the same desire to be the top dog, to be the don and win the main prize. The gang leaders operate in a self-created world where they are king over their own principality, their kingdom being the broken estates of inner cities.

It is a principality where they have found recognition and self worth and they will not let it go without a fight. They rule over their estates as fiercely as any ruler over their kingdom and by declaring war, a war Cameron will get.

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