From: Bill Kerry
Date: 18 August 2011 2:55:38 AM NZST
To: ‘Bill Kerry’
Subject: The Equality Trust SPECIAL BULLETIN – after the riots help us win the peace
COULD LOCAL GROUP CO-ORDINATORS PLEASE CIRCULATE THIS SPECIAL MESSAGE TO THEIR GROUPS – THANK YOU! Dear friend
The disturbing riots across England that occurred last week are crying out for sober analysis and positive ideas that can prevent these scenes from being repeated. We (along with many other organisations) are working hard to ensure that perspectives on inequality, such as those from The Spirit Level, are forming an important part of the debate. We’d like to thank you for helping us build awareness over the past two years, as this has ensured that our voice is now being heard – and sought out – across the media, and that we have opportunities to contribute what we know. For the latest coverage you can visit our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/equalitytrust and in particular you might like to watch Richard Wilkinson being interviewed on US television: http://youtu.be/CwmrGzDotuo. But there is so much more to do. We know that we can’t mend our ‘broken society’ without reducing inequality, but we must continue to get this message out far more widely. Yesterday it was announced that there will be an inquiry into the causes of the riots – the Trust will of course be responding, but we need your help to ensure that the relevance of inequality is fully recognised and widely understood at this crucial time. If you can, please take one or more of the following actions, directing people back to the evidence whenever possible:
1. write letters to your local or regional press – this is particularly important if you live in an area directly affected by the riots. It is quick and easy to email your local newspaper through our website and you should have a good chance of success. 2. write letters to a national newspaper, this is most effective and most likely to be printed if you can respond quickly to a specific article. 3. contribute to discussions on the social media sites that you use, and post your comments after online newspaper articles. 4. organise a local public meeting to discuss the riots in the context of inequality.
Although you will doubtless have your own points to make, some key aspects you may like to highlight are:
* Levels of crime and violence are strongly linked to inequality – see our recent Research Digest # 1.
* The UK has very low levels of trust – barely 1 in 3 of us thinks that “most other people can be trusted”.
* Low levels of trust undermine community cohesion and produce low levels of social capital (social interaction) which is a breeding ground for mistrust, misunderstanding and antagonism.
* High levels of health and social problems, more common in poorer communities anyway, are further exacerbated by inequality leading to desperation in some people.
* According to UNICEF, the UK is one of the worst places in the developed world to be a child or teenager.
* Inequality encourages status competition and a “me first” approach to life which can be witnessed across society – from bankers to MPs to looters.
* Greater equality would improve the overall quality of social relations in the UK and reduce the chances of a repeat of the riots.
Any help you can give in the coming days, weeks and months will be very gratefully received. If you don’t have time to write a letter or organise a meeting, then perhaps you could make a donation to help us continue our work? Our facebook page is a great way of keeping up with the latest media coverage; please do sign up and tell your friends, family and colleagues about it. It would be great if we could build up an online community of 5,000 people by the end of the year, working together to build a healthier and more peaceful society.
Thank you and best wishes, Bill.
Supporter & Local Groups Manager
Co-director of The Equality Trust