In the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons last night, Chuka Umunna MP talked to members of Lambeth Mediation Service about the riots last August. He blamed the consumerist society that we all buy into calling it “Me, Myself, I” and said people define themselves too much by what they have rather than by who they are. As a result he wishes to see a cultural change in which we accept that people are mutually dependent and rise and fall together which means to him that the change needed has to come from the bottom up and cannot be solved by legislation.
Challenged on whether in real terms that might mean funding for all the useful community work Lambeth Mediation Service does, he said he would talk more about it to everyone and “of course provide more funding”. He even asked LMS to hold him to this with reminders. “The louder we shout the better.”
Bearing in mind that LMS is running projects on:
1) community mediations to solve neighbour disputes
2) peer mediation in schools to give children skills at resolving disputes
3) restorative justice to rehabilitate people into the community
4) peace ambassador training to give community members more dispute resolution skills
5) training courses for anyone in conflict resolution and mediation
6) workplace mediations for local businesses
it is hoped that LMS does achieve appropriate funding.
Chuka Umunna MP asked “What is it in people’s lives that they feel they have nothing to lose by rioting?”
The question I ask is:
“What is more likely to solve the disaffection and separation from the community that rioters suffer than the greater community adhesion created by the sort of assistance that Lambeth Mediation Service provides?”