I was born in West Ham in London's East End before World War II. Continual bombing, collapsing buildings, fire. All these I experienced at an early age. I was aware that people died.
Today people say 'you must have been terrified.' Truth is I was not, not consciously so anyway. That poor, brutalised society, had something which we have lost. It looked out for one another and respected the authority which is the framework of society. The police, the school and school Inspector but most of all, the family and parents.
It was not exactly a case of 'honour thy father and thy mother' but we knew they were in charge. We also knew that they respected proper authority and that in the event we transgressed our parents would support authority, not us! In my East End the child who, being punished at school went home and complained to Dad would be likely to receive parental chastisement in addition. Our parents respect for proper authority was absorbed by us.
For almost two generations we have seen the growth of parents giving way to children and a failure of parents to uphold proper discipline, either in the home or at school. The criminal activity we have seen recently in London and elsewhere is not attributable to lack of amenity or unemployment. My East End knew about those things- by the bucketful. But decency, social discipline and respect for proper authority plus plain guts ensured a society that was comfortable with itself.
Today, parents need to claim back their authority, start supporting the proper authorities within society and inculcate these attitudes in their children. Police need proper support and teachers need to feel they can reprimand and punish unruly, disruptive children and be supported by parents rather than face the likelihood of being abused by them.
Politicians, (who must bear a large portion of blame for the decline in discipline and respect for authority), must have the courage to cease being politically correct and deferring to popularity or diverse minorities and stand up for the moral majority. We all have a part to play because we are all part of Society. If we fail to address these matters now, the future will be very bleak indeed.