As the many-coloured leaves flutter down from the trees, you will have noticed some many-coloured and thoroughly mixed messages from the Conservative Party conference on youngsters and their involvement in “anti-social behaviour”. Tim Loughton was banging on about the respect agenda and the “asbo-wielding style of Labour” whilst this Coalition has just emerged from an unapologetic round of tough sentencing and their own brand of “asbo-wielding” justice after the August riots. What are you to make of this? More fertile ground for misunderstanding and misinformation, you may think. When you read of more difficulties and so-called “generational tensions”, remember the words of Mr Loughton and his avowed intention to move away from the “negative stories” about young people, the same ones who received some of the most extraordinary sentences for their involvement in looting whilst MPs walk free from prison after ripping the country off with bogus expense claims. Can a solution not be mediated? Can peace really not be made? At Peaceworks, our experience of conflict resolution in schools and our first hand (remember that Mr Loughton) FIRST HAND experience of young people striving to make the best of their lives without hope in a future for jobs, is very positive: Peace can and will be made – by the youngsters themselves. Not mouthing platitudes about negative stories and getting yourself some real experience of young people and the hopelessness they struggle with day to day, might give you some credibility when you next contemplate rising to your feet to say the first thing that comes into your head about young people at the Conservative Party Conference.
We are approaching the deadline of our applications to be in to apply for our new post here at Peaceworks. You can still download the job spec and application form here and we will then be mulling over the applicants over the Easter holidays.