In praise of the vast majority of young people xx xx xx

A fixed-odds gambling machine Picture: Daniel Hambury/PA Wire

NEWS COMMENT: A move in the right direction but still not a win for all

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MUCH has been made in this truly awful week for our country about the anti-social, inhuman and unforgivable actions of gangs of young people who wreaked havoc on the streets of our country and struck fear into the hearts of so many decent folk.

That those responsible for rioting and looting have a wholly different outlook on life than the rest of us is indisputable.

That we, the decent majority, have a right to see them punished in a way that either reforms them or scares them so much that they keep their brutal behaviour under a leash has got to be a given.

As much has already been said by politicians. Their words will bring some comfort to the British people, but real reassurance can only come from words being put into action.

We need to see now courts taking the hardest-possible line with those convicted of serious offences. However these thugs are punished, it must be in a way that they learn a lesson that they never forget.

We need also to see those we elected to run our country act decisively to introduce, if necessary, new sanctions against those who trespass against us.

Why not, for instance, withdraw for say 10 years, the passport of anyone convicted of rioting or other serious offences?

Granted, not all thugs go on foreign holidays, but those who do would feel hard the effect of being deprived of the freedom to do so for a long time. Unfair to discriminate against those who commit offences in riots? Okay, extend the new law to cover all serious offences.

The added benefit would be that we no longer inflict on other countries the dregs of our own society.

But within all this, we should remember a crucial point made this week by David Cameron and so many others, namely that the thugs who rioted and looted represent just a small fraction of the young people of this land.

The vast majority are upright citizens like India Campbell-Hall, whose writing prowess we feature today. She is typical of the real teenagers of Britain – and it is for them that we need to resolutely rein in the lawless minority.