The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Michelle Holmes Headshot

Summer of Unrest: Generation Vexed: What the English Riots Don't Tell Us About Our Nation's Youth

Posted: Updated:

The aftermath of the riots that spread across the UK in late summer was much more than just the burnt out buildings and houses, the emotional distress or the job losses - it was also the fingers of blame pointed and name calling by the media and politicians alike.

Aside from the series of debates with panels of young people, youth workers and members of parliaments, there were a lack of aims to find resolution but plenty quick to focus on the problem by commenting on the 'feral youth', 'sick society' and even David Starkey blaming 'the whites turning black'. Enter Kieran Yates, one of our leading youth and cultural journalists and novelist Nikesh Shukla, who aim to dissect the real underlying concerns of young people in their e book Generation Vexed, by speaking to young people and examining and educating the social and psychological elements behind an issue that finally came to head.

Both of the authors, tied by the same drive to offer a voice for and on behalf of the disengaged and discouraged members of society explain both of their positions - Kieran's personal understanding of being a young person in this economic and political climate and Nikesh as someone who actively works with the youth whilst exposed to the positive and negative aspects and feeling a personal responsibility to provide an informed voice.

This book calls on a variety of contributors all providing varying understandings of young people and allowing the reader to delve into the psychology of young and impressionable minds who are coined as uncivilised and are underestimated. From Elijah Butterz, the head of a grime music label who highlights the social inequalities and double standards in this country, raising the point of one rule for MP's fiddling expenses and another for a looter stealing chewing gum to addressing the current lack of opportunity, partly through a disconnect between the people that run this country and those who make up its society.

The books strengths amongst many are the contributors alone from Jamal Edwards the CEO of SBTV, quotes from socially conscious rappers Akala and Lowkey, Grime MC P Money and the editor of youth publication Live Magazine, Celeste Houlker all displaying positive, encouraging examples of young people striving to, despite the odds make something out of nothing. Whilst examining the topics of young people and their relationship with the police, negative portrayal and prejudgment of a hooded teen as a criminal, lack of opportunity due to government cuts whilst bankers and their pay checks thrive, depreciating the value of people whilst accentuating the importance of profit the book attempts to find solutions and propose explanations - especially focusing on our music to gauge the feelings of young people and pay attention to this and not dismiss.

Despite it being a short read, it is intense in its psychological, social, political and emotional break downs and finding positives in wide ranging negatives thrust upon us, encouraging the instalment of hope for the future in the youth, being the future - hoodies and all. A powerful statement in the book that addressed a major aspect of blame was the following, "This is a generation that understands where its politics lie: closer to home, in the street and online. This is a generation that consumes more content than any other, interacts with technology in new and exciting ways and is more communicative, articulate and impassioned than any that has come before". And what better to convey this by this much needed e book.
Generation Vexed is out now on Amazon / Waterstones / iTunes