As the Tories sashay through the capital with their blue badges, new statistics expose the stark red blood under their fingernails. Statistics have been released depicting a startling 50% rise in knife crime in the last 8 years; with figures currently sitting ‘at a record high’.
While this may be a game of numbers for Johnson and the Tory party, a juggling act to balance out the equation; the victims of these crimes, and the perpetrators, are the victims of a sick society, a society riddled with ravaging racism and austerity.
As the country hobbles into the second decade of a gruelling and decapitating Tory government, the fear is that this figure will increase; just as the number of youth clubs has been completely decimated by 69%, while the average amount of money spent on youth services to the local authorities has plummeted from £7.79 million in 2010, to £2.45 million.
These figures cannot be seen as a natural process. Every aspect of our society has been constructed to create the bleak picture before our eyes. Every penny of spending has been cruelly calculated, and every penny taken away from youth centres, schools and social housing has caused the suffering of innocent children.
The incredulous nature of the Tories who seemingly cannot strike a distinction between cutting spending in the social sector and the rise of knife crime is frankly frightening. The BBC released statistics recently which surmised that the capital sees 169 knife crime incidents for every 100,000 people.
We live in an obscenely unequal society which willfully leaves the youth services budget to shrivel. The Tories expect our society to be thriving economically; yet leave the impoverished youth to wilt away with social mobility vastly out of the question with savage university tuition fees, rocketing house prices and cuts to benefits. Without the stability of White privilege and public-school education, young people are left behind and drawn to the streets where cash and violence go hand in hand.
Poverty seems so inherently tied with the rising numbers of knife crime, and it is unnerving to see politicians dismiss the connection – we have seen it from Theresa May, David Cameron and Boris Johnson.
It’s creating an unsafe environment; Dianne Abbot has recently claimed ‘this government cannot ensure the safety of our citizens’. Even the controversial ‘Stop & Search’ is ultimately flawed, racially biased and unsafe.
With police numbers drastically depleted mixed with the culmination of institutional racism and poverty, knife crime will remain.
We need to provide safe places for young people. Schools should not be the only haven that young people can turn to. Working-class children and young adults need a stimulus for positivity and we must be able to provide something more appealing than a knife.